I met Lynette Young at Guy Kawasaki’s party at SXSW earlier this year. She contributed to one of the chapters of Guy’s landmark book, What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us. No wonder, Lynette represents the elite of “female googlers,” with over 1.5M followers.
Lynette just released an excellent short book. Google+ for Small Businesses. Her goal is to help you to realize that “Google + makes it easy for the small business owner with limited resources to be on an “even playing ground” with large corporations that have seemingly unlimited budgets.” Google + is more than a social media network: it’s the platform by the online search and advertising giant that owns the two most used search engines in the world, Google and YouTube. So visibility for your small company is at your fingertip.
Start with the end of the book: Your “One-Month Action Plan.”
Browse through Lynette’s “One-Month Action Plan” to realize that leveraging Google+ for your small business is not an insurmountable endeavor. “By taking 15– 30 minutes a day for one month, you can build a solid Google + presence and plan. At the end of one month, you will have circled 100 people and left comments on almost that many pieces of content. You can build a solid following and a library of content both available in Google + and via search on the Internet if you follow this plan. By focusing on a handful of tasks at a time and building on progress you’ve made the days before, you will come to the end of the Action Plan with a stronger understanding of Google + and the start of a community.” Now, read the book…
One hour or so of good reading
Lynette doesn’t drown you under tons of marketing hoops and loops, and instead walks you through the basics of Google+ in six chapters (plus the last one) that describe the platform’s main features, provide ideas to promote and support your business, increase your leads, enhance your support, or organize events with your customers and leads. One of the key characteristics to be aware of as a small business leader is to take into account major differences between your personal Google+ account and Google+ Pages for your organization. Using Pages, you cannot circle someone that has not circled you first and you cannot convert your Google+ Profile into a Page (but you can and should have both!). This anti-spam mechanism has its benefits. In turn, you won’t be spammed yourself and this forces you to develop a real attraction strategy and interact constructively with Googlers as a small business (instead of adopting a swarmy pitching style that exasperates everybody). Of course, hangouts and Hangout on Air can be initiated as a Page, which can be key for your marketing or lead generation initiatives. Take advantage of great tips scattered throughout the book, such as this one: “When you attach an image to a post, be sure the image has a descriptive name such as red-kids-sneakers.png rather than IMG0032002. Consider using part numbers or SKU numbers in the file name if that is a common way those products are searched and referenced. Google Search and Google Image Search can “read” the words in the name of the file and use them as keywords!”
Move into action…
On Google+, just as any social platform, you must be genuine, show that you care for others by sharing their content, and offer meaningful content of your own adapted to your various targets. For example, don’t bombard your VIP circle with tips that only matter to your current customers. With minimal, but consistent efforts, your Google+ Page will operate as an important amplifier for your small business. So keep in mind that a social platform basically follows the same etiquette as the physical world. If you are nasty, your nastiness will come across as even more ridiculous than it is. If you are great, your greatness, too, will be magnified.