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Small Businesses Use Google Plus To Build Their Brands
Small Businesses Use Google Plus To Build Their Brands

January 21, 2014 9:30AM

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Google Plus is particularly beneficial for businesses, such as dentists, doctors and landscapers, who are on a constant quest to elevate their brand and search ranking in a competitive environment, experts say. Google products such as Communities, Hangouts and Authorship are helping small business owners to stand out and create a brand.

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Google Plus is particularly beneficial for businesses, such as dentists, doctors and landscapers, who are on a constant quest to elevate their brand and search ranking in a competitive environment, Wojdylo said.

While most small businesses can benefit from using Google products, Traphagen wrote, they should not put all their hopes into one Google basket as unexpected changes to a service or algorithm could devastate companies that are too dependent.

"They should always be developing other ways of reaching new customers, such as paid advertising, email campaigns," Traphagen wrote.

Google's Products

Many [small-business owners] are using Google's products. Here's a breakdown.

Communities: Wojdylo likened Google Communities to a message board in which various parties contribute to a conversation on one specific topic.

When an owner first establishes a Google Plus profile, researching, connecting and commenting in meaningful Communities will help brands and owners increase their presence in other peoples' circles, Google's version of following someone, Wojdylo said.

Communities can be an extension of a businesses' page, Wojdylo said.

For example, a lawn care business could create a community on Raleigh lawn care and invite people to participate and comment.

"So it's not just you blasting out, 'Hey I offer this service,' " he said. "It's your customers and potential clients, or anybody, coming in there saying, 'Hey I have an issue with my grass dying in April what do I do?' "

Every Google Plus post has its own URL, which means useful question and answer sessions can be posted elsewhere online.

Hangouts: Hangouts enable conversations via text and video.

Hangouts allows users to schedule "Hangouts on Air" and have video conversations over the Internet with up to nine people. The live video can be promoted on a dedicated page and will become a sharable YouTube video.

"Think of it as a Skype within Facebook," Wojdylo said.

Small businesses can use Hangouts to answer questions, spread the word about a new product or procedure or create commercials.

Best Buy created a Hangout for a Black Friday buy-a-thon, where the company announced a new sale item every five minutes.

Helpouts: In November, Google rolled out Helpouts, which allows users to get and give help over live video.

Owners can use Helpouts for a quick answer to a question on topics like fixing a garage or removing a computer virus.

Users can choose services based on the provider's qualifications, prices and reviews, and can connect instantly or set up an appointment.

Some small businesses use Helpouts as a marketing opportunity to connect with future clients by offering free classes. (continued...)

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Posted: 2014-01-30 @ 1:32pm PT
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