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Since its launch in 2011, Google Plus, commonly known as Google+, has gone on to attract over 500 million registered users, making it one of the most popular social networking today. For companies and professionals, this means a new and innovative way to share business news with like-minded people, mingle with existing customers, and find new, potential customers.

No other social media site has experienced such rapid growth in such a short period of time as Google+; it is still growing and its population is predicted to double.

Google+ is different from other social media sites because it provides everything the other popular sites provide, yet offers new ways for users to engage, with popular applications such as “Hang Outs and Circles.”

Furthermore, their special approach to business pages allows companies to interact and share information in a way that hasn’t been done before. If you still haven’t created a Google+ business page for your company, it definitely should not be ignored as a powerful marketing tool.

However, you probably have questions about Google+ and wonder whether or not it can really help grow your business.
Whether you are already using Google+ or have yet to embark on the Google+ journey, here are 10 popular Questions and Answers that most small businesses have about this platform

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What is Google+ and how much does it cost?

Google+ is a social networking and media site where users can share photos, updates, videos, and news. Google+ offers free business accounts to every company, no matter how large or small. With a business account, you have a social version of your company website that you are in direct control of. You can customize your profile with your company logo and colors, promote your services, and engage with your audience.

Although similar to other popular social media sites, Google+ differs with a unique feature called “Circles”. The circles feature allows members to organize their followers into separate categories, such as friends, co-workers, families, associates, and more.

For example, one circle of followers could be potential customers while another circle of follower could be business contacts. Circles are a convenient way to target a specific audience when sending out messages and updates. You can choose to send updates to a specific set of circles only or can share information with all of your circles. You are in direct control of who sees what on your business page.

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How is Google+ beneficial for businesses?

Google+ offers business pages specifically made for professionals and companies. With a Google+ business page, you’ll basically have a social version of your own company website, where you can interact with others, promote your services, and find new customers. You’ll also be able to use your company logo or any photo you choose for your personal profile and cover picture.

Not only that, but Google+ provides high-quality video conferencing. If you need to conduct a business meeting, have a Q&A session with consumers, or even demonstrate a new product to potential customers, video sessions are available at no charge to both personal and business members. All that’s needed is a Google+ account, a microphone, and webcam. Anyone invited to a video conference can interactively engage with others while sharing different applications, such as videos, slideshow presentations, photos, documents, and more.

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Does this mean Google+ allows me to have a custom business page?

With a Google+ business page, you’ll get your own custom business page that you can tailor towards your company and its services.

There are a variety of things you can do to your business page. For example, you can create video sessions, known as “hang outs,” where you can engage in live sessions with customers. This allows you to talk to numerous people at the same time, while answering pertinent questions about your business.

In addition, you can categorize your contacts into different circles, such as a circle for new customers, potential customers, and business partners. Circles will allow you to send out custom messages to different groups.

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4) Do I have to have a personal Google+ account?

Google mandates that you’ll need to create a personal account before you can create a business account. However, creating a personal Google+ account is relatively simple. You need have a current Gmail email address to get started, and then simply follow the sign-up directions.

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How do I create a Google+ business page?

After logging into your personal account, go to Google+ Category page. Click on the category that best describes your business. For example, you can choose a local business category, a product or brand, musicians and artists, organizations, or other.

Once you choose your category, you’ll be prompted for additional details, such as the industry your business is in and contact details. On the next page, you’ll be able to choose a name. Most companies of course, use the name of their business. At this point you’ll also be able to link any external sites, such as your company websites.

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How do I get my business page to show up on Google Maps?

With a Google+ business account, you’ll also be listed for free in the Google local business directory as well as Google Maps. Keep in mind that most consumers use the directory to search for local products and services, so having your business in the local Google+ is particularly beneficial to small and medium business owners.

Google+ Local, a free platform for all Google+ members, allows your business to be listed on Google Maps and Google’s local business directory. Small and medium-sized businesses especially benefit from using Google+ Local as up to 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. When you setup your Google Local page, you’ll automatically be included in Google Maps and the local directory.

To get started, choose the “local business”category for your business page. If you’ve already chosen another category for your business page, you can create an additional business page and then choose the “local business” category. You’ll need to enter your business name, address, and business telephone number. Once you verify your phone number and address, your business will be available on Google Maps and the local directory.

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How much time should I spend daily on Google+?

As with any other social media site, you’ll need to dedicate time to see optimal results. However, spending at least 20 minutes on each task daily will help you to stay current. Examples include 20 minutes on updating your business news, 20 minutes answering questions, and another 20 minutes promoting your services. This is just a general time-frame, however, and depending upon your personal situation, some of these activities may take longer. The key is to make sure that you are regularly actively engaging on Google+.

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Can I connect my Google+ business page with my company website?

Along with connecting your Google+ account to your website via your Google+ homepage, you can also connect customers to your Google+ page from your company website. While you’re on your Google+ homepage, click on the “Get Started” tab directly under your profile picture. You’ll then be able to create custom Google+ badges that you can place directly on your company website and/or blog.

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Can Google+ help my business get more search engine exposure?

Google is already a trusted search engine. Being connected to the largest and most comprehensive search engine helps businesses on Google+ rank higher in search results. When you create a business account on Google+, Google gets a boost in spotting your keywords, making it simpler for your company website and Google+ page to move up during organic searches.

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How do I increase my business page’s audience?

One of the easiest ways to increase your audience on Google+ is to take advantage of the “Promote My Page” feature, which is offered to you when you finish creating your business account. You’ll be led through an easy process and tutorial that shows you simple ways to gain more business.

In addition, posting frequent status business news and status updates will not only help you stay current but will also help more people to notice you, which can potentially draw in new business. Keep in mind, that regular updates and posts is an important step in keeping your business relevant in the social media world.

Want to see more detailed stats? Google+ offers Social Reports to business pages. Social Reports give you an in-depth view of your followers, including who your target is, how many people are viewing your page, the impact of your recommendations, and more.

Google+ is still considered one of the newer social media sites, but its massive growth since its inception has made it one the most popular social networking sites of all times. Google+ is predicted by social media industry experts to keep growing. If you’re a business owner, opportunities for new customers and clients have never been better.

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