Are you spending your entire budget on Facebook alone? Don't count Google+ out yet! Google's social network might not be that popular but it definitely has functionalities to offer that can enhance inbound marketing for your business. I'm sure you've tried creating a profile page and business page on Google+, but have asked: How can Google+ help me get leads and increase sales?

According to Global Web Index, Google+ has 359 million active users which won't hurt if you give Google+ a try. Since Google is promoting the SoLoMo (Social, Mobile, Location) initiative, it's a must to include Google+ as part of your entire marketing strategy and integrate it to other social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. For small and local business owners, it's an opportunity to put Google+ into good use to increase visibility and share content.

 

 

Let me share 4 basic strategies to get you started on Google+:

1.) Create a Google+ Business Page

Creating a Google+ page for your business is simple. First you have to have your own G+ profile so you can act as an admin of your business page. The great thing about having a Google+ business page is that you can engage directly with customers and apply a personal approach. Just like managing a Facebook page, you are the voice of your business so talk like a real person when interacting with your G+ followers.

Followers will most likely recommend you on and give you mentions on Google+ that helps your SEO. Sharing original content such as blog posts, branded quotes, and infographics can enhance your business' visibility as well. The key here is to make the content shareable which means don't focus on your product too much, feed your followers relevant content that they will find interesting.

Tip: To make the switch from your personal profile to your page, click the dropdown arrow next to your picture at the top right of your Google+ screen; your page will be listed under your active profile. Simply click on your page and you’re ready to go.

2.) Connect your Website and Google+ page

Connecting your website to your Google+ page increases your Google+ audience from your website and from search results as well. The Google+ badge enables you to link your website to your G+ page. Installing the G+ badge on your website allows followers to follow you on Google+ without leaving your website. An active “follow” widget will appear next to your listing in search results after you've added the G+ badge on the pages of your website. Aside from adding a Google+ badge, another option would be using the Direct Connect option to link your Google+ page to website. It's simple a code that's added to the header of your website.

Tip: After you link your Google+ page to your website, the latest status updates will appear in the search results. Keeping your posts relevant and up to date will entice visitors to check out and follow your page. Establishing a coherent content strategy will increase your followers and drive traffic to your website.

3.) Utilize Author Rank

Claiming authorship of content you published gives you credit and increases your search visibility for your business. Google now uses Author Rank and Authorship to create a visual connection between your Google+ profile and original content you publish. Establishing your Google Authorship helps you build authority and influence in your field of expertise. It will improve your visibility as well when readers share your original content and enhance search result listings as well.

How can you claim Google+ Authorship?

1.) Register an email from the domain that you can contribute to.

2.) Link your content and your Google+ profile.

Tip: First, in the author bio of each of your blog posts, include a link to your Google+ profile with a ?rel=author tag attached to the end of it. It should look like this: https://plus.google.com/118321989430962111396?rel=author Next, go to the Contributor to section on the About tab of your Google+ profile and add a link to your author page for each blog that you contribute to.

4.) Think Local

Google Places is gone and Google+ is now the venue for customers who write and give reviews for small and local businesses. Google+ is a crucial factor in getting a local business on top of the search results. Search results now show users reviews, photos, and additional info on your Google+ local places page. This means you can turn your Google+ local places page into a valuable tool for online PR.

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Tip: You can claim your Google+ local places page following these steps:

1.) Go to Create a Page

2.) Select Local Business or Place

3.) Enter your phone number and other contact info