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The New Google My Business

Recently Google introduced a brand new tool to help businesses get found better online: Google My Business! As Google describes it, “Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.” This new tool is designed to help small businesses better connect with their customers, offering it’s various tools: Search, Maps, Google +, Insights, Hangouts all at once. Google aims to let small businesses manage their online presence in a single, consolidated way.

You will have the ability to customize your own dashboards with photos and videos about your business. It’s designed to connect with customers in a more targeted way by responding to reviews and connecting on Google Plus or with Google Hangouts.

Because business owners are busy and often overwhelmed with technology, Google wanted to make things simpler and help businesses have more online success.

Google My Business, allows you to in one centralized place:

– Update your business information on Search, Maps and Google+ so people can easily get in touch with you .

– Add photos and videos of your business to help customers see what makes your business unique.

– Connect with your customers by sharing updates about your business, news, special events and other important information from your Google+ page.

– Respond to Google Reviews.

– Get insight into how people find and interact with your business using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express.

– Be mobile! Manage your information with the Google My Business Android app and the soon to come iOS app.

Google wants to help you get closer to your customers to “build lasting relationships by sharing what’s new and responding to customer feedback as you receive it.”

The previous management dashboard has been replaced by a cleaner Google My Business page. Managers can post content, track analytics, respond to customers, and start Google Hangouts.

The new Google My Business Insights will give Google+ page managers more information about who is interacting with your content.

While Google  My Business  is designed to help you connect better, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get a higher placement in Google’s search results. But it does make it easier to manage your G+ Page, Local and Places accounts having  one dashboard to connect them all.  And that  alone should make a business owner’s online management a little easier.

See more information from Google here.

 

Google Apps For Business Gets New Features

If you follow me online you know that I am a big fan of Google products. In my opinion, Google very smartly provides products that make businesses work smarter and more efficiently. Just recently, Google rolled out new updates in their business tool suite for Google+ and Hangouts.  Google continues to make the Google Apps for business suite something that provides an easier way to connect and collaborate with co-workers using improved business focused features.

If you aren’t familiar with Google Apps for business, it provides professional email, online storage, shared calendars,  docs, video meetings and other features. Google describes it as “built for business, designed for teams.” Google Apps for business is a cloud-based productivity suite for your business that helps you get work done wherever you are using any device.

One of the newest enhancements allows Google Apps for business users to start Hangout video calls directly from calendar events with up to 15 people. Before this update the limit was 10. This allows you to have a quick meeting, have a conversation where you can simply jump into a Hangout straight from the Calendar or even from an email invitation.

More updates give Google+ improved control options that help keep confidentiality within the organization.

Administrators can now:

-Prevent posts and communities from being shared outside your organization by default.

-Restrict access to Hangouts On Air.

-Set up the default for profile discoverability.

-Control  third-party apps that use Google+ APIs.

-View users in your organization to see which ones have Google+ profiles.

Employees can:

-Override the default-sharing setting for communities and posts.

-Update their profile discoverability

-Choose to join video calls by a specific URL or with the Hangout name using g.co/hangout.

-Create a Hangouts video call that is private to their specific domain. Other guests join in on the video calls, but not without an invite.

These new features will be available to Google Apps customers as soon as they register for the Google Apps for business. Current users will be able to access the features in July.

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Google Plus Key Marketing Features

Google Plus can be a powerful platform to marketing your business. More and more small business owners are discovering just how useful it’s features and tools can be to marketing their business online. Whether you became interested in the platform through Hangouts or some other feature, or you started looking for a new platform out of frustration with Facebook’s plummeting organic reach, you may have noticed that there’s a lot more activity on the network than you previously thought. Being a Google product, the search benefits make it hard to ignore. But there is even more to Google Plus than that. Here are some features and tools you can use to market your business on the growing social platform.

HANGOUTS ON AIR

Google Plus offers an awesome alternative to the webinar. It’s called a Hangout On Air. Hangouts On Air provides you with a FREE video broadcasting service that is broadcast LIVE to YouTube channel where it is recorded and can be shared over and overa again. Hangouts are integrated with Google+ where you can create an event, invite your circles, and more.

EMBEDDED POSTS

Google+ Embedded Posts is another unique Google Plus feature that lets you share your Google+ posts directly to your blog. The beauty of embedded posts on your blog  is that it extends the life of the content.

Also, Google+ content embedded on your blog is linked to your Google+ profile. Readers that are logged into their Google+ accounts, that +1s, share or comments, that activity will show on both your blog and your Google+ content. Embedded posts will record +1s and shares as if the user was on Google+ instead of on the blog.

GOOGLE PHOTOS

Google Plus helps you stay picture perfect. Visual content continues to dominate social media. Unfortunately image formatting changes from platform to platform. The awesome thing about Google Plus is it doesn’t auto-crop, or shrink your images or require you to edit, resize, change them before posting or have to scrap them altogether. You can share full size images not to mention all the excellent options you have for editing photos with Google Plus. Full size images tend to be more compelling and engaging.

Google Plus has made it hard for me to ignore the network as a main part of my marketing strategy. There are so many smart features that benefit my online presence.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/terby2/6842190306/”>iterby</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

Google Plus Communities

Google Plus Communities And Conversations

Google Plus communities are for extending online conversations. When it comes to social media, having conversations are the key to building relationships. Building relationships, builds trust and ultimately can lead to doing business. People want to do business with people they like, and trust.  That’s why Google Plus communities are important.

CREATING YOUR COMMUNITY.

Google Plus communities allow the opportunity  for businesses to take the conversation to another level. They can help further establish authority and build trust. When you’ve begun to build relationships through conversation centered around the content that you provide, not only is it smart to create a place where conversations can deepen, but people are very open to it and often looking for just that.

With Google Plus communities, you create a place where your audience can ask questions, participate in conversation, share and learn together. You can have a private or public community. Plan who you want to initially invite within your network to help you get the community started.

CREATE TOPICS FOR CONVERSATION.

In Google Plus communities , you create categories based on the topics you will discuss.  It could be news in your industry, how-tos,  blog posts related to certain topics, Q&A’s, etc;. Categories appear on the left side of the community page. Each time you post you will decide on what category to put it in. This helps organize conversations based on interest.

As your community grows, you can change the status of members of your community to moderators. Sometimes have a few people moderating will help keep conversations growing and help you to manage the community.

DON’T FORGET TO LISTEN.

Take the opportunity to listen in your Google Plus communities.  It’s never a good idea in social media to broadcast only.  Learning more about your audience and what they are interested in and how you can help solve problems, will make what you do more effective.

IT’S A GATHERING PLACE.

Your Pages and Profiles on Google Plus are where you get a chance to let people g et to know what your business does and get to know a little more about you.  Google Plus communities are designed for those in the online community that you have built to not only communicate with you further, but to communicate with each other as one community. Make it a comfortable gathering, place where  everyone wants to come to learn, grow, share and interact.

google plus love

9 Reasons To Love Google Plus

On this Valentine’s Day I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a social network that I have grown to love in the past year. Google Plus has become more and more a part of my own personal social networking routine. Yes there are people on Google Plus, yes they are chatting, sharing commenting, and doing all the usual things people do on social networks. Google Plus has so many fun features and they give me plenty of reasons to love it. Here are 9 reasons I love Google Plus:

1. Circles! Circles make it so much easier to share all the different kinds of things you want to share online with just the right people. I can share something with just my family, just my coworkers or just circles whom I share a special interest with.

2. Photos! My iPhone photos back up automatically to Google Plus. I know that scares some people, but they’re just stored there. Google Plus isn’t sharing your photos without your consent. I like to back them up on Google Plus because I love the editing features. If you haven’t tried editing photos on Google Plus, you should! There are many editing options available to you.

3. Hangouts! Sometimes I want to have a meeting with someone in another state and I need to chat with them beyond the phone. I might need to share a screen with them. Or it may be that there are a group of us spread out all over the country who want to chat together. So we simply have a video chat. On Google Plus it’s called a hangout.

4. Communities! I find that on Google Plus, communities are truly interested in having conversations. Whereas on other networks, those organized groups that have been set up are just that. Just set up and then forgotten by most of the members. Google Plus attracts people who are looking to share and have conversations with people who have their same interests.

5. Pages! I like that I have a place for my business on Google Plus where I can further develop my brand and engage with my followers. I especially like that my business page can interact and participate in communities. On Facebook, your business page can’t join groups. Having the ability to do that on Google Plus helps you build relationships.

6. Format Text! You can make the text in your Google Plus status update be in bold letters, italicize them, strikeout and more! Here’s a fun infographic to show you how to do it.

7.  The +1 endorsement! When you post your content on Google Plus and people +1 that content, it really means something. As you being to get more, Google Plus begins to recognize you as a good source because people have given you the thumbs up. Content recommended by your connections and friends is considered to be more relevant according to Google.

8. Explore! Ever see the “Explore” tab at the top of the Google Plus home page? It’s simply a way to find cool stuff. When you want to find out new and interesting things on Google+, this is where you go. You’ll see what’s trending, what hashtags are popular and the content that has the most comments and shares.

9. The conversations! One of the things I find most interesting about Google Plus is the engagement. The culture on Google Plus is one that truly appreciates good content. You will find people have a sincere interest the content you share, interests you share and they want to talk about it. I like to use Google Plus as a content curation tool because I find some of the best content on Google Plus. By either searching keywords or hashtags, you can find relevant content and have conversations about it.

This has been my experience. But I also would like to hear feedback on what your experience is like. What do you love about Google Plus?Please share in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Google Plus Features And Benefits For Entrepreneurs

Google Plus continues to be a hot topic in social media marketing.  With  marketers shifting their focus to include Google Plus features as part of their strategy, much is being discussed, chatted and blogged about regarding the search giant’s social network.

Although Google Plus continues to grow and boast of more and more active users there are still many people who although interested are not quite sure what Google+ is all about and how Google Plus features can benefit their business.

Google Plus describes itself as a “multi-lingual social networking and business identify service.” On Google Plus, businesses can create a Google+ “Page” for their business. A  place specifically designated to develop your brand and engage with your followers. This is your public identity on Google Plus. The benefit of a Google Plus page is part of the whole philosophy of Google+. Google Plus makes sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. Share what you want to share with your customers: value. For you as a business owner, it also makes it easier for you to connect with the billions of people who search on Google all day everyday.

Google plus also has the Local Google+ page. Local pages have features that allow those who are searching, customers and potential customers, to easily connect with your organization’s physical location. Local pages have a map of your business location, address, phone number and hours of operation.  It’s like your own little “yellow page ” on Google. Local pages share the same functionality of other Google plus pages as well.

A very popular Google Plus feature is Hangouts. A Hangout is a place to video chat with up to 9 other people on Google Plus.  You can also host a Hangout On Air. This hangout is broadcast live on Google+ and can have an unlimited number of viewers. The hangout is recorded on YouTube and can be viewed over and over again. There are many benefits to hosting hangouts. You can build deeper relationships with your audience by hosting Hangouts to present a new product, have a Q & A, do demonstrations and much more.

One of the Google Plus features I like best is Google + Ripples. Ripples help you measure your social engagement. This Google Plus feature creates a graphic of your public posts on Google Plus to show you how it has “rippled” through the network. It helps you to discover new people who are interested in your content that you can follow.  It does this by showing:

1. Who has publicly shared a post or URL and the comments made.

2. How a post was shared over time.

3. Stats on how a post was shared.

To view the ripples on your public post, simply click the dropdown arrow at the top of the post and click “view ripples.”

Google Plus helps you grow your audience on Google. Google Plus features help you to improve your online identity in search, further develop your brand identity and awareness, and reach more prospects.