This is a continuation of last weeks post: Google+ Business Pages for Bed and Breakfasts http://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/google-business-pagesfor-bed-and-breakfasts/
Some additional relevant reading about Google+ for Businesses:
Connect your Google+ Page to your AdWords campaigns
From the Google Blog: This week we introduced Google+ Pages, a new way to get closer to your customers online. At that time we announced that you’d be able to link your Page to your AdWords campaigns, so that all your +1s — from your Page, your website, ads and search results — get tallied together and appear as a single total.
How to share circles in Google+?
Brands Start to Test ‘Hangouts’ On Their Google+ Pages
Google+ Pages Contest and Promotion Policies
The good part about this is it’s link bait, so any external page you are using to promote the contest of promotion (your website, a Facebook fan page or a blog for example) is going to get spidered (looked at) by Google and because of SEO (search engine optimization) and Google now using Google+ profiles (including business pages) in real time search, any promotions you are running on an external search, will show up live in Google search. As an example this is a screen shot from yesterday of my own Google+ page showing part of the content of a post I put in.
About Google hangouts
You can invite and participate with up to 10 people in a hangout, all with video, from testing this feature this has a lot of advantages over Skype (http://www.skype.com/) including better video and audio and less live video glitching/lagging. This has a lot of potential for getting together real time, in place of conference calling, and also as an outlet for customer service.
Imagine as a B&B if you could live video chat with a potential guest across the world (and no cost of a phone call to boot) or answer questions and chat with past guests by video chat, it means bringing customer service to a whole different level.
Or use it to connect with other B&Bs all over the world and finally put a real face to the name/avator that you’ve only ever connected with on twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. A group of B&Bs in an association could group chat about promotions or where they wanted their marketing to go, all without leaving their B&B.
Similar to Facebook Fan pages, you do have the ability to delete a comment by another person or business and in addition report it for abuse (which is undoable as well).
Unlike some review sites, you have the ability to control the information that goes on your page, so think about using this outlet as a place for customers to put positive reviews and comments. Rather to have them post reviews on a site that gives you the ability to control when and if you want to respond then on a site like Tripadvisor or Yelp, where even if you sign up to claim your listing and have a management response, you are in control of whether your response gets posted or not. From the aspect of reputation management this is important.
Here’s another FREE photo editor to tweak the top photo banner as well (I think this is one is easier to use then the first one actually) http://gplusbanner.com/
Circles: This one is up to the individual business but my feeling about the circles aspect of a business page is it’s similar to twitter, if a business has Coca-cola circled, anyone can see it and I doubt anyone would care, but from a follower/followee ratio i.e. circler/circle, especially in the beginning you may want to turn off how many people/businesses that you have circled or in addition how many have you circled. When you first get on Google+ it may be tempting to go nuts and circle as many other businesses as you can but from a viewers aspect that may not look good. Use your own judgment on that one.
The major takeaways from this past week.
For the pages to be used for SEO (search engine optimization) i.e. for the pages to start coming up on search, you need content, not just photos, photos are not being spidered (even with a description in the photo) you need an actual quote on the page, even a sentence accompanying it. The same goes for a Url/website link and blog link, for it to be spidered (looked at by Google) it needs to have actual text in the post with the link. Businesses that have registered for G+ for business are not showing up in search with no textual content or no content at all. So if you take the time to grab your Business page, take 10 seconds more and post a short post.
Of the businesses and organizations that signed up for G+ for pages when it first came out, ones that have put textual content in, have already been appearing on page one of search using their brand name. Of the groups I work with for PR, it took 5 days to reach page 3 of search and now they are on page one of search (9 days from registering) above even their Facebook fan pages. Do it for the SEO value!!!!!