With all the buzz about the Google+ redesign, I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s more important than ever for businesses to use this tool.  From grouping users in circles to having a Hangout, there’s a lot of potential for one-on-one conversations with users.  So, should your business use Google+?Google+

Before I start, let’s get some terminology down.  Google likes to change things at random, so it’s possible between the time of posting and the time you read this, it will have changed again.  Long story short, Google+ is like a typical user-driven social media platform.  Google Places is a business listing.  Google+ Local is like a hybrid of the two.  For a nice long threaded discussion about this, check out the Google Groups Forum.

Even if you do nothing but update your business listing and claim it as yours, make sure you have some sort of presence on Google+ Local.  When you do, you’ll be able to update your address across all of Google-land.  That means one click to update your info on Search, Maps, and of course, your Google+ and/or Google+ Local page.  This also mean more “Google-ability.” Make sure that everywhere you list your address is consistent.  It’ll lead to a higher search engine rank and Google won’t be left guessing which is the correct website and address to display.

Similar to Pinterest, Google+ is a great way to foster a sense of community.  While you can absolutely share pictures, try to focus more on engagement than selling.  Satisfy your customers’ curiosity and share a sneak peek of new products or a behind-the-scenes view of the office.  Ask questions and respond to answers you receive. +1 people’s posts and comment on them.  Share relevant content with your circles.  You get my point.

Or start a Hangout.  It’s a great way of engaging with your users.  Group the people you follow into categories (Circles) and target content towards those Circles.  For example, use a Hangout to show VIP customers how to do a rockstar at-home facial or make a certain signature dish (leave out the secret ingredient or don’t–that’s your call).  Invite other users to be VIPs to get exclusive content, too, by signing up for your newsletter or posting online that they want to be a VIP (or any number of things that works for your brand).

Bottom line: Google+ is all about creating a great user experience and engaging with the user.  Just be authentic.  Nothing turns people off faster than blatant agenda-pushing.  Not sure if you have the time (or the ability) to pull of a Google+ creation and execution of your own?  Not to worry, theBrewRoom can handle that for you.

There are lots of fun and useful features within Google+ once you get to know it better. Start exploring Google+ today!

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