Probably everyone you know, including your four-year-old, knows how to Google. What your four-year-old (or your forty-year-old) may not know is how to use Google+ and Google Circles to enhance and manage your social media marketing strategy.
We like Google+ because it makes grouping and managing your contacts so easy. Here’s how to create and use your Google+ account.
- Setting up your profile
- Creating circles
- Using Google+ to attract more business
Setting up your profile
When you’re on the Google home page, you’ll see Google+ on the left side of the tool bar. Click on that link and you’ll be guided through the steps of setting up an account. Once you’ve done that, you will go to the profile setup page. If you have other profiles set up, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, this is pretty much the same process.
So a word about consistency is in order. Your online presence in all these social media platforms is your brand. It tells the world who you are, why you’re important, and why they should want to connect with you. Therefore, you should be consistent across all these platforms so you will be instantly recognizable whenever anyone searches for your name.
Start by using a good, professional photograph, preferably a smiling head shot. You’ll then put up a cover photo, which is the same as your banner on Facebook and Twitter. Be warned: It’s a very narrow horizontal format, so be sure it looks good when it’s cropped to the proper size.
Google+ then asks you to enter a tag line, which is the first thing everyone sees after your photo. Four or five words is sufficient here: “#1 listing broker in West County.” Your introduction follows the tag line, which should be a short paragraph about what you do and your areas of specialty. There’s also an entry called “bragging rights,” so if you’ve won any awards or done anything spectacular lately, put it there. You’ll then go on to list the usual company and contact information. There’s a place to list your web site or blog address too, so be sure to include those so people can reach you easily. You can add links and photos here too.
In real life, you have many different types of relationships, including family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and more. The same is true for your real estate business. For example, you have clients (which could be subdivided into buyers and sellers), prospects, co-workers, and networking contacts. Google+ gives you the ability to keep these relationships separate, allow some of them to mix, or bring them all together!
Here’s how to create a new circle. Click on the circle icon on the left hand tool bar of your Google+ homepage. This will take you to the Google+ circles page. You will notice a blank circle to the far left of your current circles. Click on it to create a new circle. Note that it is possible to have people belong to several different circles.
Some of the people you want to connect with may already be on Google+, in which case you can simply click on their name and add them to the appropriate circle or circles. Other people you want in your circles you will add by manually entering their names and email addresses.
Using Google+ to attract more business
The possibilities for communicating through Google+ are virtually endless, and you will want to take some time to explore them for yourself before you decide how to use the site to your advantage. Here are a few ticklers to get you started:
- Add the Google+ widget to your website so you can convert website visitors into Google+ followers.
- Post photos of your smiling buyers or sellers, photos of your newest listings, even photos of events or locations around your city. Photos obviously appeal to the senses so this is a very powerful way of sharing. Get your followers attracted to your page, and they’ll keep coming back for more.
- Create rich content—a business page without sparkling, up-to-date content is like a restaurant with only one menu item—and you’re certainly not running a hot dog stand. Keep your content fresh, varied, and useful to your visitors.
- Hang out. Google+ has a hangout function where you can chat live with up to 10 followers. Why not offer an online home buyer seminar or a forum on home staging for sellers? Leave time for a Q&A session afterwards.
Google+ is one social media tool among many. Keep the content consistent with your brand and you’ll find that each of these tools enhances the others as you build both followers and credibility as a Realtor.