Google+ is the ugly duckling of social media. It’s the social media network that few people try to fit into their digital marketing strategy. And that’s unfortunate because despite its diminished fortunes, where only 21% of Google+ users describe themselves as active, it still has some use. Google reversed its idea of killing it off entirely and now it sits in a useful niche perfect entrepreneurs know they can take advantage of.

But getting it right isn’t necessarily the easiest thing in the world. You need to know what you’re doing so you can grow your brand.

You Need a Business Page

The first step is to make your business page. The Google+ business page works very much like Facebook. To start with, you need a personal page to launch it from. This personal profile will let you add in all the information you need to form your business page.

Make sure that you invest heavily in visuals. With Google+, the best social media practice you have at your disposal is the extended cover image. You can have extra-large cover images that get as large as 2190 x 1192 pixels. It’s larger than anything you’re going to find on any other social media network.

Some of the other things you should include on your business page include:

  • Fill in the page with links to your blog.

  • Make sure that you go out of your way to include your short URL.

  • Include as much information about your business as possible, such as your phone number and location.

Branch Out Into Circles

Circles on Google+ are just a fancy name for your connections. If you want to build up your social media presence here, you have to use them. The average business will use them to share content with a targeted audience. What makes Circles different from standard connections anywhere else is that you can segment them.

Google+ will let you divide them in whatever way you like. It makes sure your content only reaches the right people. Any content you want to share here can be shared with specific segments, so you don’t have to worry about potentially offending someone if you left them out of say the ‘Important Customers’ segment.

Communities are the Keystone of Google+

What makes Google+ valuable to you is the communities on this platform. These communities are about networking and building up relationships with people that can take your company to the next level.

Just make sure that you don’t treat Circles in the same way as communities. They are two different things. Circles are user groups created by you so you can send them specific pieces of content. But communities are forums where you can interact with people. These are marketplaces that are waiting to be exploited.

These communities are not there for personal interaction. They are there to help you build up some authority. So here’s a guide to making the most of these communities.

Join Groups – Make sure these are relevant to your products. They have to be laser targeted in the same way as circles.

Start Talking – At this point, you shouldn’t be trying to tell. Provide some unsolicited advice. Get people to start coming to you for advice. To hit the right people, you can start using hashtags as well.

Take Advantage – Now is the time to start taking advantage of your increased trust. Once you have gained the trust of the people in these forums, you can start linking to your blog and selling your products.

You Mentioned Hashtags…

Hashtags are a thing with Google+. They don’t work the same way as on Twitter and Instagram, though.  The principle of them is still the same, however. They are still supposed to categorize everything you post. This is how you’re going to get to the people you want.

But don’t try to spam them like you would on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t use any more hashtags than three. Google+ has really come down hard on excessive hashtag use.

The Content You Post

You’ve probably heard that you can post anything of any length on Google+. This is a big benefit, but just because you can post an entire blog on there doesn’t mean you should. People forget that if they are going to throw up an entire blog post they are giving their target audience no reason to actually go to their website.

Keep in mind that social media is still about sending traffic to your site. If you’re taking this reason away, you’re destroying your whole strategy.

Do you have any tips for using Google+ to your advantage?