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Why use Google+? It’s not as big as Facebook. You might not be able to connect with everyone from your nursery teacher to your second aunt like you can on that other social network. But, for businesspeople, Google+ is the place to be. It is an excellent opportunity to establish your authority in an area, build your brand awareness, develop a network of professionals (if not “customers,” they could be sources of referral, potential vendors, suppliers, etc.), and easily create high-quality index-able content that will help with web visibility. Now – how do you go about doing all of this?

First, obviously, is to create your community. You can choose to have it open for everyone or private. Your choice and it will depend on what works best for you and how many connections you have at this point. The most important aspect of running a successful community is to participate in it! Some people set it up, open it to the world, and think they are now free to sit back and enjoy the success it will inevitably bring. Nothing about success is inevitable – you’ve got to work at it. Be active:

  • Stay on top of the latest news in your niche or industry.
  • Did something controversial happen? Did someone say something risqué or brilliant? Talk about it.
  • Organise the discussion with categories. This will help people find what they need and want to learn about.
  • “Appoint” a moderator from your community. This helps you in that you share some of the responsibility for conversation, but also creates a bond with this and other community members. This person will add/edit categories, remove users, if necessary, and perform other routine tasks.
  • Make sure you have something to give. Don’t invite people to an empty community; it is like inviting someone to dinner when you have no food in the house. Why should they stay? Prepare your place a little with a welcome message and great content out of the gate. Lay out what your community is about, rules for joining, moderator duties, etc.
  • Use the Hangout feature to engage with your community around real life or online events.
  • Mention other businesses to support one another and to expand your network. To mention them in a post, use @ or + in front of the username.
  • Promote your community on your Google+ profile, include a CTA, connect with broader, though related communities, share via Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.

Google+ is not as heavily used as Facebook, but it can be an incredibly powerful tool for businesspeople. Use your communities to help you leverage this potential.

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