Friday, February 3, 2012

Connect with Googlers and users in our Google+ Help Desk Hangouts

There’s nothing quite like talking to your customers face to face—being able to hear their feedback and questions directly, and strengthening those relationships. A message we come back to again and again on the Small Business Blog is the importance of connecting with and understanding your customers, whether you’re a small business or a company as large as Google. And so, a few months ago, the Google+ Pages team decided to practice what we preach by giving Page admins an opportunity to connect with us via a Google+ Hangout.

The response was overwhelming. Over the course of three hours, our team met with more than 350 Google+ users. We got to know one another, collected feedback, and listened to what business owners had to say about Google+ Pages.

Yesterday we hosted another round of these Help Desk Hangouts. We know not everyone can always make it for these, so we’ve collected a few of the more common questions we hear from business owners and answered them here:

Why should I have a Google+ Page?

Where to begin? Google+ offers you an incredible array of tools designed to help you get closer than ever to your customers. Use Hangouts to meet face-to-face, use circles to tailor your message to different audiences, and Ripples to figure out who’s sharing your content. You can also use Search on Google+ to tune into the conversation in real-time. Finally, Google+ is growing every day, and you want to make sure you’re where your customers are going.

How can I get people to follow me on Google+?

There are a number of things you can do here. Be sure to cross-promote. Put a brand badge on your website to let your customers add your page directly to their circles. Include links to your page in the e-mails you send and even create an “Add Us On Google+” sign to put up in your store. Second, identify the people who matter in your industry. Find them with search and Ripples, and build relationships from there. By resharing your content, they can help you build your audience. Third, and most importantly, post quality, creative, and exclusive content on your page. People will spread the word about things that excite, engage, and impact them.

Any other advice for creating good content for my page?

Google+ is fantastic for sharing videos and photos, so you should use rich media to spice up your updates. You should also use an informal, conversational tone. It goes a long way toward making your page seem approachable. Include calls to action that encourage your customers to engage — ask them questions about what they’re looking for, what they like and any feedback they may have about your product and services. Post information they can’t get anywhere else — let them know that Google+ is the place to look for the most up-to-date information about your company. And most importantly, just have fun! We’re learning too, so we’d love to hear what works (and what doesn’t) for you and your page.

What’s coming soon on Google+ Pages?

Our team is hard at work growing Google+ Pages, and we have a lot to do—a challenge we’re excited to take on. There’s lot more to come, so stay tuned in the coming months.

Thanks to those of you who joined our Hangouts yesterday, and for those of you who missed us, we hope you can drop by next time. Follow the Google+ Your Business page for updates about future Hangouts and new feature announcements.

Posted by Toby Stein, Google+ Community Manager

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