Google Plus for Business: How to Use Your Personal Profile

What’s the Buzz About Google+?
Check out our thoughts in this edition of Talking with ReachCast. Then, see what Google Plus has planned for business as of their latest announcement after the jump.

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Google Plus Changes Business Pilot Plan
After first announcing it would run a pilot for businesses wanting to join, Google+ recently announced that it is changing strategies and will instead work with a “handful” of businesses on the site so it can focus on creating a formal business program more quickly. So, if you were one of the tens of thousands of businesses to apply for their pilot, the good news is, you’ll all be waiting together for Google+ to launch a formal way for your business to get involved. In the meantime, Google+’s project manager recommends designating a formal representative for your business to set up a personal profile on Google+.

And, since Google+ has been shutting down thousands of accounts that don’t have human sounding names (including business names and pseudonyms), it’s safe to say that your best bet is to follow the personal profile as business spokesperson model until Google+ announces something formal for businesses.

3 (More) Tips for Using a Personal Profile to Promote Your Business
In our last post on Google+, we shared three ways that business owners can use a personal profile to promote their business, including connecting, linking, and sharing. Here are three additional tips to get more out of using your personal Google+ profile to promote your business online:

1) Clearly affiliate your personal account with your business. To make sure that Google+ users know that you are an official representative of your business, make sure to include your company name under the “Employment” section of your profile. This information will appear to anyone who hovers your name as a potential contact to add to circles, so don’t overlook this detail. Also, share a sentence or two about how you’re planning to use Google Plus for your business in the “About” section, letting contacts know you are following Google’s guidelines for business and learning how to approach the site for business along the way.

2) Optimize your business name as a keyword on your profile. A publicly searchable profile on Google+ can be optimized around keywords such as your business name. Right now, one trick you can try is to add your business name into the “nickname” portion of your personal Google+ about page. This nickname can show up in search, so that is one way you can boost your business presence on Google+.

3) Share your visual business identity on your personal profile. Don’t use your business logo as your default avatar (account profile image). Instead, choose one of your face to make it clear the account belongs to a human. But, since it’s possible to share images on your Google+ (similar to the photos strip on the top of a Facebook profile or page), you can share images that showcase the visual identity of your business, such as your business logo, pictures of your store or employees, or products and services. You can even create a “banner” of sorts for your profile to add more visual interest and promote your brand on the site. These images will appear across all the pages of your profile, adding more life to your page and potentially giving you space to promote your brand on your profile.

Are you using Google+ to promote your business online? What creative tips, ideas, and tricks have you seen for using the site? Let us know in a comment!

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Tiffany Monhollon

Tiffany Monhollon is an award-winning content, community, and social media marketing strategist who is passionate about helping businesses and professionals succeed online, currently serving as Director of Content Marketing at ReachLocal. She develops integrated strategies from the ground up, incorporating content, community, and social tactics to deliver online marketing, search optimization, social engagement, and reputation management results. She speaks and writes about online marketing and social media for sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Small Business Trends, Media Post, Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, and the ReachLocal Online Marketing blog.

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