How to Maximize Your Presence on Google+: Tips for Your Google + Personal Page, Business Page & Authorship

Olga Santo Tomás Monroe on Google Plus“It’s a moving target for it is evolving and upgrading fast.”  Martin Brossman (in regards to Google)

 Google+ Page:

Google+ is an efficient forum for people with like-minded interests to connect with each other.  Your Google+ profile (located on your Google+ Page) shares details about who you are as well as explaining how others can do business with you.  For example, besides telling about yourself, background, interests and current business involvement it’s helpful to include links, opportunities and alternative places where other contacts can communicate with you NOW.

I say NOW, because we live in a world where ease, convenience and access are essential.  If you have the means for someone to respond to their impulse to connect with you, NOW;  you are golden.  If not;  you are history.  When filling out your Google+ Profile, include your current employer, what you are doing & anything else relevant to your business/ interests.  To find prospects, connections and contacts, ‘cruise’ through Google+ (as if you were ‘channel surfing’ through your TV) to find others with similar interests, businesses and activities.

Google+ Business Page:

The Google+ Business page and Personal Page are different in that the Business page is like a brochure mixed with a business card and the Personal Page includes more about your personal activities.  However, if your profession takes up the majority of your personal activities then you will, likely, experience tremendous ‘business bonding’ through your personal page.

Google+ Business is a local business listing center, introduced by Google, to replace Google Place pages.  When consumers search for local products and services, these show up in the search results; making it easy for businesses to socialize with customers and prospects and for consumers to find local businesses.  Google+ Local pages integrates with Google Search, Google Maps and Google Mobile Maps.

Google Authorship:

Google Authorship is the next level to the world of Google.  Through Google Authorship you can link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile.  Sign up for Google+ and create a Google+ profile.  When you set up your personal page, make sure you have the following:

*a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.

*a byline containing your name that appears on every page of your content.

*a matching byline name to the name on Google + profile so that Google will be able to pick it up.  Google is a machine so everything has to match exactly or it won’t work.

As of this writing, you can only be the author of your personal page.  Go to https://plus.google.com/authorship–this is where you will link the content that you publish to a specific domain to your Google+ profile.

The few lines of text that appear under every search result (‘rich snippets’)—are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.  These rich snippets shows up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) along  with a lot of other information.

Tips to remember:

  • Make sure that your face is recognizable
  • Use your real name
  • Use this name across all your web properties
  • Add the Google + icon to your website
  • Keep the same image on your Google + profile face photo
  • Use your real name on YouTube.  YouTube & Google + are connected.  This gives you another authorship page.

Follow these principles across all of your web properties that you are an actual author on.  Adding Google+ website on all your posts, will increase rankings for you. Google+ Personal, Business and post pages will rank in the same way or better in searches than regular web pages.  Also, Google+ posts can keep their ranking without time limitations.

Summary-Branding:

Branding, in today’s culture, is most known for a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service.  Brand management is the application of marketing techniques to a specific product, product line, or brand.  Personal branding includes people and their careers marketed as brands.  Take advantage of this opportunity to link your Google+ profile (through Personal & Business Pages) to the content that you create.  It’s a very efficient way to maximize on ‘branding‘ and get yourself more visible on the internet¡

(Footnotes-ideas for this article came from Chris Brogan & Mark Traphagen)

Olga Santo Tomás Monroe–contact me at olga.dreammaker@gmail.com & 919.604.0104 to hire me for Social Media Management.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/olgasantotomasmonroe

 

 

Setting up a Gmail account and Google Plus

This post is just for people that do not have a Gmail account and how to set it up including connecting to Google Plus.
To get up a Gmail (Google email account) go here: http://Google.com/gmail , you will see the next image and select “Create an account”:
Signing up for Google Gmail

Signing up for Google Gmail

This will bring you to this screen and fill it out next:
Singup page for Google Gmail

Singup page for Google Gmail

On the next page you will see this (below). If you have a profile picture (square about 300 dpi) and know where it is on your computer you can click “add your profile picture” if you don’t just click “Next Step”. You can add the picture later too. At this point your name will show up in the area that says (Your Name will show up here) that I added to this picture to protect the confidential name of the person I set up for this example. Wherever your name would be from now on will have (Your Name) on the image.
Google Gmail signup

You are now signed up

Next you come to the Gmail Welcome screen:
gmail welcome

Gmail Welcome Screen

Following that you get to pick a Theme and just pick the default for now – Remember where it says “Your Name” or just “Your” that would be where YOUR Name would show up:
Pick your Theme for gmail

You can change the Theme later too.

Now click your first name in the upper left hand corner with at + in front of it. That will take you to your Google+ page:
gmail to google Plus

Select your first name with a + infront.

Just hit “Continue” for now, you can follow other people later:
Gmail suggested friends - Just hit continue

Just click continue

Next just continue again:
Google Plus

Select Continue Anyway

Next you and upload a square picture of yourself  for your Google + page but don’t have to. Click Finish to continue:
Google Plus

Fill in what you want, can add more later.

Next you are looking at your Google Plus Home page which will show updates from friends and things/businesses you are following:
This is your Google Plus Personal Profile page

This is your Google Plus Personal Profile page

Now you are done unless you want to connect to me on my Personal Profile page then you would type my name in the window to the right of the Google + “Martin Brossman” and add me to a “Circle”:

Google Plus

The first one is my Personal Profile and the second is my Business Page

 

Next you will see my Personal Profile if you selected the first Martin Brossman and need to add me to a Circle:

Martin Brossman's Personal Profile on Google Plus
Martin Brossman’s Personal Profile on Google Plus

You will next click on Add to Circles:

And pick a Circle or create one. The first time you will get a message:

Google Plus Circles
Adding me to your Google Plus Circles

Here is a little more explaing what adding someone to a Google Circle means:

 

Google Plus Circles

Love to hear your comments below.
Martin Brossman

Google Plus at http://BrossmanOnGP.com

 

Google+

Google+ is not the house on the hill, but it’s a good start.

Imagine the social media netscape as real estate. Every structure has its own unique qualities and is currently on the market with spaces to rent, to own and to expand.

Facebook is a huge subdivision of diverse homes situated somewhere easily accessible to nearby schools, shopping and dining. The neighborhood is also relatively easy to enter with lots and homes available on every budget.  These homes have optional top of the line appliances, hardwood floors, modern yet classic design and the ability to appeal to a wide variety of homeowners with minor tweaks; these homes are built to last and be used daily.

Twitter’s homes also appeal to a variety of people as vacation homes. They are not as functional as Facebook’s homes but, they meet the immediate need for a quick getaway.

LinkedIn is an upscale, downtown office building that hosts some of the largest and most influential businesses in the world.

MySpace has been condemned and the Homeowners Association is working to have the eyesore demolished so something better can be built. MySpace is also occupied by droves of garage band squatters.

On a vacant lot in some town that doubles as a travel destination and a business hub, an apartment building has been built. It is functional enough to be used as a permanent home, but stylish and inexpensive enough to serve as a second home for vacations and business trips. This apartment building is Google+.

Google+ is formatted as a streaming news feed like Twitter, but with the added benefit of being able to target a post to a particular audience without a word count restriction. (You could say, like… Facebook.)

With many of the favorite features of the  social media powerhouses of Facebook and Twitter, Google+:

  • recommends people to follow,
  • people you know,
  • gives you the ability to group your connections into categories and,
  • to broadcast post to those particular audiences without broadcasting to other groups or the public.

Organizing connections into groups called Circles makes it easy to send out a quick message, whether it’s talking about about the company baseball game to colleagues, or sharing baby pictures of the new family member with college classmates from a decade ago.

Google+ has a lot of the great standard features of internet social media sites to tickle the fancy of the social media butterfly if approached in a smart, fresh way.

Aside from the seamlessly integrated messenger, the ability to instantly upload even large posts containing multimedia and the clean minimalistic design, Google+ integrates all of the features given you on your desktop browser with your mobile browser, the Google+ app for iOS and Android. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Google+ on mobile allows you to search for connections, to create events and utilize all Google+ features with the same ease and speed as with your desktop so there is no need to ever log in from your desktop.

A few of my favorite features of Google+ are Local, Events, Photos, and Google Hangouts.

Google+ Local

The local section makes it easy to discover new neighborhood destinations or great restaurants near your hotel on vacation. It uses GPS technology to find only the results that are relevant to you, helping you find restaurant and club reviews and what’s hot around the city.

Google+ Events

Events on Google+  is an event planner’s best friend. It allows you to create quick and stunning invitations to organize a meeting, a reunion with friends, or a party. Google+ Events allows the guests to be the event photographer with instant live photo sharing so that you never have to worry about tracking down the best pictures from the office holiday party. All of the memories are all in one place without the need to send out the usual pleading email for pictures and no filtering through the responses. Best of all, accepted event invitations automatically sync with Google Calendar.

Google+ Photos
Google+ Photos is like that little vacuum, floor cleaning, robot that became so popular several years back. Not that it makes your photos disappear, but it keeps them from cluttering up valuable space, like your phone’s already limited drive space. Google+ allows you to automatically and instantly upload pictures and video from your phone’s hard drive directly to a private photo album online without the need for wires or synching with your pc first.  It makes it easy to upload and share your memories, or keep them for your private collection, and keeps  your phone clutter-free so that no memory is ever lost and that there is always room for new ones.

Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts succeeds where Facebook failed with its recent Skype integration into Facebook chat. Creating a Hangout on Google+ allows you to invite your friends to a traditional chat room setting with nontraditional features. In a Hangout you and friends can share text and audio as well as all of your cameras simultaneously so you can come face to face with your loved ones and coworkers from across town or across the world. Hangouts allow you to host free virtual meetings our casual conversation with friends. Google+ takes Hangouts from awesome to amazing with the ability to broadcast live to the world with just a few clicks unleash your inner artist or your inner broadcaster.

Google+? Thumbs Up

Google+ might be the next level of social media at our finger tips, eliminating the need for multiple accounts on multiple sites like uStream and Picasa. Amazingly efficient and effortlessly integrated into the family of Google products, Google+ combines the best of Facebook and Twitter with a few smart, new features for promising results.

Lomar Osbourne is a journalist, entrepreneur and publicist using traditional, social media, and unique integrated ways of bringing markets to what they love. A senior at Wake Forest University, among many activities, Lomar is a part time intern in social media management with Martin Brossman & Associates, and publicity with ClearSight Publicity. Follow on Twitter @LomarOsbourne.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Google + Hangouts & Livestreaming

Google+ Hangouts – Live Video

Google + is one of the newest social networks with a ton of features, but we are going to focus on how your business can live stream by using a feature called Google + Hangouts.

Google + Hangouts is a feature that allows a user to have a video conference with up to 10 people.  One of the ways your business could use this tool is to have virtual meetings and share documents or share screens.

Now that you know what a Google + Hangout is and some of the things you can do with it, let’s figure out how to use it!

Getting Started with Google+

To use Google + you must have a Google + account.  Sign into Google +

Google Voice & Video

You must also have the Google voice and video plugin which you can download here if you don’t have it already: http://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/res/talkvideo/hangouts/

Starting Google+ Hangout

Once you have the plugin and you’re signed in you will be on the Google + homepage where you can start your live stream.  Click “Start a Hangout” to begin.

Editing your Hangout Settings

After clicking “Start a Hangout”, the window below displays.  This is where you invite who you want to be a part of your hangout, name your hangout, and edit the settings of your webcam and mic settings if necessary.  You can see your webcam in the bottom of the window.  If the image looks distorted or if nothing is showing you can click the gears button to edit the settings of your webcam and your mic.

After clicking the gears button, you will be brought to this page where you can change the configuration of your webcam, mic, and sound.

When everything is set up you would click the hangout button to begin.

The Hangout Begins

The following will be displayed on the screen until the people you invited accept the invitation to join you.

 

Once everyone joins, their webcams will display and the “hangout” or meeting can begin.

Hangout Tabs

There are several things you can do during your hangout session.  In the menu bar below the Google+ header. Notice the tabs for: Chat – Invite – Screenshare – Google Docs and YouTube.

Click on the Chat tab to chat (see left sidebar):

Click on the Screenshare tab to share your screen:

Click on the Google Docs tab to share and edit documents:

You know the routine by now, the YouTube tab let’s you view YouTube videos together:

That is how you set up a simple live stream with people you have invited.

But what if you want more than 10 people to be involved?

 

Google+ Hangouts Live: Hangouts on Air

Google + Hangouts added a feature called “Hangouts on Air”.  When you first setup your hangout, you would simply check the “Enable Hangouts on Air” checkbox on the left side of the screen. We highlighted it in a red square.

Checking the Visibility of Your YouTube Channel

You will also need to make sure that your YouTube channel is not marked as invisible.  If your channel is marked as invisible you’ll see the message prompt we got in the yellow box above to change your YouTube channel settings.  If you don’t know how to do so Google provides you with step by step instructions.

Verifying Your YouTube Channel

Your account must be verified with YouTube before using Hangouts On Air.  Once you verify your account you will not have to do it again.  The verification process is basically supplying YouTube with your cell phone number so that they can text you a verification code that you will input to verify it’s your account and prevent abuse.  You will simply click the Start Verification Process button to begin. See the screenshots below.

More Settings for the Hangout On Air

Once you have made the necessary changes you can continue and begin your hangout by clicking the Hang out button.  You will be prompted with Google + Hangouts On Air – additional terms to agree with before you can continue.  You must click the checkbox to agree before pressing the Continue button. You can learn more about it here http://www.google.com/+/policy/hangoutsonair.html and you need to link your YouTube account.

After you press the Continue button you will be prompted with a message about broadcasting publicly.

Embedding the Live Player for Live Public Viewing

If you click on the Embed link, you will get the code to place the live player on your site or wherever an embed code for a live player is allowed to be posted so that people can see you live once you click the Start Broadcast button.  Be sure to place the embed code on your site or wherever you want before clicking the Start Broadcast button otherwise only the people that were invited to your hangout will see your broadcast until it is posted to YouTube where anyone can view it.

Going On Air!

You will click on “Start Broadcast” to go on air once your hangout is up and running.  It will start recording once “Start Broadcast” is clicked.

To stop broadcasting you simply click the End broadcast button.

Hangouts on Air Expand Your Audience

Hangouts On Air allows a user to live stream to a bigger audience.  Google states that you can now stream or broadcast the hangout publicly not only to a Google + profile, but to YouTube as stated above or even your own website!  You can share your live stream like any other video you might share on the web by using the embed code.

What if you want to share your live stream that you’re broadcasting so many people can see it on YouTube?  No worries!  The live stream automatically saves to your YouTube account if you have one.  Google has made it quite easy to use “Hangouts on Air” don’t you think?

Hopefully, this will get you started on having your first Google + livestream with people in your circle or “On Air” to an even bigger audience!

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, working as a Social Media Manager Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Look for New Scoring on Google+ Local

On May 30th 2012, Google announced that they were rolling out Google + Local with Zagat reviews. They have since been working on changing over all the Google Places pages into Google + Local.

They look different. They are integrated with Google + with access to Google+'s features on the left sidebar, and, they have a scoring system.

Scoring for the business.

Scoring for the reviewers.

For the business, the scale is from 0 – 30, with 26 – 30 being “Extraordinary to Perfection”; Zagat uses a 0 – 30 system.

For the reviewers, “Individual users”, scores go from 0 – 3, with 3 being “Excellent”.

Martin Brossman and I have worked closely with Raleigh area caterer, Catering by Design since 2009, through Carolina Web Consultants, and so I took a look this morning at what his scores looked like.

Here you see an overall score of “27” for the business, and we've clicked on the “?” in the gray circle to see the pop-up Scoring Guide.

The Zagat Score can show a variety of dimensions, but they weren't available here.

Below the Overall Score, you see a review by Martin showing up because he is in my circles, and below that, the reviews, his showing first because he is the only reviewer in my circle.

Currently there are 14 Google reviews for Catering by Design, and you'll see that Martin Brossman's “individual user score” is “3” or Excellent.

We've always known that we could click on individual reviewers and see what other reviews they'd given if we wanted to see how much weight we could put in their review. Now, Google is actually giving reviewers a grade.

Next, take a look at this next screenshot.

A year or more ago, a short an unusual negative review was posted. When it was discovered it created some concern. We clicked on their “user name” and saw many dozens of negative reviews, including a few positive ones, but mostly negative, for all different kinds of businesses. While we felt confident this was not a legitimate customer, others might not know that. Today, this reviewer has a “0” associated with their name.
Whereas previously this reviewer had a username we could click on to see their history, today we can't access any of that.

I did also notice that my own review showed me as a shadow named “A Google User” even though I was logged in. I'll be watching to see if that changes over time.

It looks like Catering by Design's Google Places page was automatically converted to Google + Local, but I found a help page on Google about how to convert from Google Places to Google + Local,:

“If you used Google Places before, you can move your old content into Google+ Local. When you first write reviews or upload photos in Google+ Local, we’ll ask what you want to do with your old reviews and photos. You’ll have two options:

    • Move all of your content and attribute it to your Google+ name
    • Keep all or some of your content private”

Change is the constant on the Internet, and will continue to be. It sure keeps us on our toes, learning what we have to do next in response to each change. For now, it looks like if you're a local business, you'll need to be on Google +, as yourself (the owner or manager), and you'll have a chance to fill out and build on your Google + Local site.

At least at initial glance it looks like we're going to have fewer opportunities to be anonymous, and more chance to benefit from the experiences of those who are in our Google circles, our friends and acquaintances. And, also, that mobile search, while on the go, will continue to get better and better. We can continue our high speed, on-the-go lifestyle.