Google+ It's been around for a while, but most of us are still a little unsure about how to use this platform effectively. Before we dig into everything that can be done to market or grow a business on the platform, we'll have to learn how to create a profile on Google+ A killer “about” section can highlight your best work, let others get to know you, help you gain new followers, and drive traffic to your site. (Did I mention the SEO juice that's inherent with using Google+ That alone is reason to set up your profile correctly and share a few things there!)
Unlike other social networks, the Google+ profile feels a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of boxes and options to select. It's more like setting up your personal Facebook profile than setting up any of the other social media profiles you started for your business….except instead of sharing cute photos of your cat or annoying photos of your breakfast plate, you'll be sharing your blog posts, products, and best content.
I will miss the photos of your cat – she looked hilarious in that ninja turtle costume. I will not miss photos of your food.
This is where I'm really torn with Google+ When I first set up my profile there, I made it SUPER personal. It read just like my personal Facebook profile. But then, I started digging around to see what others were doing. I realized that being personal, friendly, and approachable is great, but I also need to take advantage of this prime real estate to highlight mine and Sarah's best work. After all, in any place where we're choosing to be “social” online, we'd like to bring in new traffic to our site too.
- Name. Google wants you to use your own name for your Google+ profile. If you use your business name instead of a real name, you could be banned. Since we knew our brilliantbusinessmoms gmail address would be our main Google+ profile for business, Sarah and I had to make a choice. Whose name should appear there? Since I tend to be more active on social media, and particularly so when it comes to learning new forms of social media, we decided to name the profile with my name: Beth Anne Schwamberger. Nevertheless, the profile highlights the brand of Brilliant Business Moms on the whole as well.
- Custom URL. Take advantage of the chance to make a custom URL out of your profile name. Again, this is great SEO juice when people are searching for you online. Here's what your custom URL will look like: https://plus.google.com/+YourName This is one case where it's quite a bummer that you can't use your business name. I would much rather have one more place that says Brilliant Business Moms than Beth Anne Schwamberger, but, it is what it is, and it's a whole lot better than keeping your profile link as a whole bunch of numbers that don't add up to anything! Here's a really quick and easy tutorial on getting your custom URL.
- Cover Photo. Some sources recommend making your cover photo very similar to your blog cover, and the branding you use everywhere else. I believe this makes sense for small sites and brands who are just getting started. Make your brand feel familiar and cohesive. This is what Sarah and I have done with our cover photo. However, there's something to be said for having a more artistic and personal cover photo – like Guy Kawasaki's. It's pretty incredible! You get a sense for who he is as a person, not just who he is as a “brand” or “business”.
- Size Guidelines for Cover. Recommended size: 1080 x 608 pixels. Minimum size: 480 x 270 pixels. Maximum size: 2120 x 1192 pixels. Canva has a Google+ Header Template that you can use.
- Tagline. Theoretically, this should be short and to-the-point. You can view it as your manifesto or a statement of how you can help people. However, it can also be very helpful to include some keywords you'd like to target. One of my favorite short taglines is Gary Vaynerchuck's: “caring about the customer is a mindset, not a tactic.” Mine used to read: “Hey, nice to meet you! I'm Beth Anne — overflowing with ideas, big feelings about everything, excitement for life and learning, and happy mom entrepreneur.” Now it reads “Moms are the most amazing people in the world. We're here to make their brilliance known. We highlight mom bloggers, mompreneurs, Etsy sellers, and other moms who have built amazing businesses.” I really just wanted to include the first two sentences, but after learning more about SEO, I sacrificed succinct for getting found in search a little more often.
- Introduction. The best way to think about your Introduction is to view it like your About Page. Yes, share a little bit about you, but mostly, share how you can help others. Use bullets and lists to make this section easier to read. Sprinkle in relevant keywords (after all, if you're on Google+ you care about SEO juice!) but don't be obvious or list off buzzwords that have no meaning. Use natural language. Don't forget to highlight the topics you love to cover the most and link to several places on your site. I completely missed the boat on this the first time around. I didn't include any links at all! Now, I highlight the main areas of our site along with telling others about 52 Weeks to a Better Business and inviting them to join the group! My favorite example of a thorough, comprehensive, link-filled introduction is Peg Fitzpatrick's. She really highlights 6 key points that should be included in your introduction. Did you know that links in your Introduction are DoFollow links? That's free SEOjuice right there! Links elsewhere on your Google Plus profile are NoFollow, such as your social media profile links.
Introduction – 6 Things to Include
- Your Site. What it's all about & how you help others
- Main Topics covered on your site, with links.
- Email List. Include an invitation to join your email list. Make it compelling. Again, offer a benefit to the reader.
- Your favorite blog posts.
- Circles. Include suggestions for what circles you'd be a great fit for. For example, I suggested adding me to: Mompreneurs, Mom Bloggers, Podcasters, Etsy Sellers, or Social Media.
- Products you sell. Highlight and link to these. Of course, do this in a natural way, again, highlighting how they can help the reader. Peg highlights the books she's written or co-written and what they can help you to accomplish. (I've chosen not to highlight our Etsy shop, because it's completely unrelated to our Brilliant Business Moms Brand. However, when our first book comes out, you can bet I'll be adding it!) For most of you, your Etsy shop or products, if you have any, should be somewhat tied to the topic of your website, so go ahead and highlight your best work.
- Bragging Rights. I've noticed that many people just skip this section altogether. This makes a lot of sense. You don't want to come across as arrogant or caring only about titles, awards, and labels. When I do see someone list things like “Top Mommy Blogger, 2014” I'm immediately thinking, “who cares? I just want to know more about you and what you do – that award is meaningless to me.” I've chosen to use the Bragging Rights section in a rather, tongue-in-cheek kind of way to brag about things that aren't really brag-worthy, but just highlight random, fun, personal facts about me. This fits with the “Girl Next Door” Brilliant Business Moms Persona. We're laid-back, approachable, real people, and easy to get to know. What do you think? Is my bragging rights section annoying or fun?
- Connect other Social Profiles. Since I'm really into Pinterest at the moment, I'm always excited to follow others on Pinterest. I do the same thing with Twitter. The same could be true for you. Add your social profiles and you may gain a few new followers on other social platforms.
- Education, Work History, & Other Personal Details. Many of the big-wigs on Google plus just leave these sections completely blank. I included them because 1.) I'm a real person with past experiences like these. 2.) It's one more way that people might find and connect with me. Down the road as our site and brand grows, we may delete these sections. What do you think? Will you include your education and work history in your profile?
That wraps up the main components of your Google+ profile. But we haven't even scratched the surface on how to actually use Google Plus to promote your business, blog content, or incredible products. We'll dig deeper into marketing strategies and how to use the site next week. I can't wait!
~ Beth Anne
More Resources on Crafting your Google+ Profile