Using Google + Pages for your pet business: A get started guide

It's taken a little longer than expected, but Google finally announced the availability to create Google + Pages this week allowing businesses and brands to join the Google + social network.

We've learned over the past months that Google has been very particular in allowing only 'real people/real names' to join their new social network, deleting those that created personal Google + pages previously to represent a business (or even a pet).

If you have a pet business or a pet related brand, we highly recommend that you join Google + now that the business and branded pages are available. We believe it's going to be a very good way to connect with potential and current customers in the coming years. And getting in early will provide your pet business with a certain edge.

It's actually incredibly easy to create a Google + branded business page for your pet business. Here are the necessary steps:
  • Login to your Google account (Note: if you plan on having multiple people administrate your Google + Business Page then we highly recommend you create a Google account for your business rather than use your personal Google account.).
  • Create a page by starting at this link for Google + Pages.
  • You then select your category, choosing from:
    • Local Business or Place - for businesses that are local in orientation
    • Product or Brand - preferably the most utilized category for national/international pet businesses
    • Company, Institution or Organization - great for non-profits
    • Arts, Entertainment or Sports - would work well for blogs, pets, informational websites and the like.
    • Other
  • After selecting your category complete the basic information, including your business name, website url, category (there is one for pet supplies and services under the Product or Brand classification,) etc.
  • The next step is to customize your public profile. Add your pet business brand tagline and your logo or brand image.
  • We recommend skipping the next step of 'promoting your page' until you fully customize and have begun sharing some information so that visitors will know more about whether you are worth adding to their circles. However it would be good to save this url for directing individuals at a later date.
  • At this point our recommendation is to upload photos in the scrapbook photo section at the top of your profile. Remember to utilize these photos for creating a unique, informative and fun way to represent your brand. Unlike Facebook Business Page photos at the top of FB pages, these photos will stay static, so you can really have fun with them.
  • You can post from the Home tab and begin sharing information with potential followers.
  • Hangouts in Google + can provide you a high-quality, real-time video chat opportunity with customers, potential customers with a single click.
  • You can group your followers into smaller segments (prospects, customers, vendors, etc.) utilizing the Circles function allowing you to communicate when you post to only those groups or multiple groups instead of publicly - this will be a great option for providing couponing to current customers, for example.
  • Google + Pages will be indexed and added to search results in Google allowing for further link backs for your business. Local pages have special fields that help people find the business’ physical location which will also be indexed.
  • Your customers/fans can +1 your Google+ Page, recommending your brand directly to their friends.
Items of note:
  • Remember that all the posts on your Google + Pages will be public, it is the default setting.
  • At this time you won't receive notifications via email relating to those adding you to circles, or posts; so checking the notifications link will be important.
  • Pages can't +1 other pages.
  • Google provides a couple of website badge options to promote your page on your website.
Holding contests and promotions:

As with Facebook, Google does prohibit running contests and promotions directly on Google + Pages. To paraphrase from Google's Terms and Conditions:
You may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on your Google + Page. You may display a link on your Google + Page to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted so long as you (and not Google) are solely responsible for your Promotion and for compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where your Promotion is offered or promoted.
Visit Google's Terms and Conditions for more information.

Below is a screen shot of the Pawsible Marketing Google + Page. Be sure and add us to your Circles!

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