If you’ve used a mobile device or computer today, chances are you performed a Google search or two. And did you know that there is also a very good chance your business has its very own Google+ page and you just haven’t claimed it yet?
You may wonder why you should bother to claim your Google+ page. Haven’t you already spent time creating awesome social-media profiles for LinkedIn and Twitter? Worrying about every last social-media platform may seem daunting, but in this age of SEO, web bots and tracked keywords, you need to control as many of your online profiles as you can.
The first thing you need to do is find out if you have a Google+ page (and you probably do). Next, you need to claim it so that you can tell the world what you do. I suggest that you set aside a couple of hours to learn how Google+ works and to make sure your page is correct and up to date. It will be time well spent—your page may already be getting reviews and page views. Here’s how to make your Google+ page your own:
1. Open up Google and type “Google+” into the search line along with your business name, city and state. Try any variations in your name, address and phone number. (It’s possible that more than one page has been created.)
2. Go to the address bar to learn what your URL is. It should look something like this: https://plus.google.com/1234567890
3. If your Google+ page already exists, sharpen up your brand by getting a custom URL that provides an easy-to-remember web address.
4. If your Google+ page does not already exist, visit Google+ Brands for a five-step guide to getting started. If you don’t already have a page created, you can easily create and verify one from scratch. (If you’ve previously used Google+ pages dashboard or Google Places for Business to manage your business information, you may already know that your accounts have been automatically upgraded to a Google My Business dashboard.)
Now that you’ve claimed your page, learn how to use Google+ Local to help people find you. This is where the fun begins! Google+ Local lets you connect with customers and colleagues by putting them in your circles. Once you’re in their circles, they’ll be able to see your company updates, blog posts and photos.
One last tip, on compliance: Keep in mind that Google doesn’t allow you to delete or edit negative reviews, so a review on Google+ Local is not considered a testimonial. Your best bet for dealing with a negative review is to address it specifically with a comment of your own.
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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.