Small Business Owners ask me all the time,

“Is Anyone Using Google+?” or is, “Anyone even On Google?”

The answer is Yes and Yes!  Are you wasting your time using Google Tools?…NO!

Let me ask you something,  If as a Small Business Owner you put all your effort into finding a supplier but never look for customers, will your business take-off and grow? ….”No!” you say.  In business we exert ourselves to care for all the various elements of conducting business or we fail.  Marketing your business today has basically two sides….the real world side and the online or virtual world side.  The two sides should work in concert with each other.  Storefront, Signs, Vehicle Signs (if your are a service company) should be connected with your online material so customers recognize you at a glance. (logos, phone numbers, pictures, and video are all critical elements we have talked about in other articles) If you have the big bucks for Highway Bulletin Boards, you want to ask how do I connect with customers in 3 to 5 seconds and make them remember what they saw?  You will want to connect that sign with your online marketing.  Why?  With phones and mobile devices customers (or their passengers) will search for details about your business while going down the road, standing at your store and even while standing in your place of business.  Most these will do searches using Google Search Engines, Maps or G+.  What do you want them to know?  You are in control.

So Why Spend Time With Google Tools?

Here is why!  Today the internet is the tool of choice for at least 97% of consumers.  Google is the most dominate element on the World-Wide-Web.  That said, Google Search Engines, Google+, Google Maps, You Tube are “free” tools for promoting small business (and not so small businesses).   So the answers to the questions above is that almost everyone on the internet uses Google Tools every time they go online, often without even knowing it!   Building an online presence does take time and effort just like building a physical, brick-and-mortar location!  So “free” is a relative term.  You have a website up, smart move for sure!  You create a Yelp Page, great!  Your Business Page on Face Book is looking good!  How will local customers find these online assets you have worked so hard on? …. Google Searches, Google Maps and yes Google+!  Here is an interesting fact, while 97% of consumers are looking online for local goods and services, less than half of small business merchants have realized how powerful these online tools can be for them.   Some are not online at all.  Every local business gets pounded with people that want to do local advertising for you.  Small local papers (that almost no one read), ads on park benches, bus stops, diner tables, local schools, charities and on…and on all have a very minimal following.  Even though they are offering to give you free listing online, few are likely to see it.  Before you spend money on all those local ads get your Google Profile going for your business!   This is paving the road for everything else you will do in the virtual world!

So How Much Effort Have You Put Into Your Google Business Profile?  Here is a real world Case Study for you.

This is a screenshot that I took from the analytics on one of my clients Google+ Page.  One year ago this client had no presence on Google+.  Today they have 465 followers that respond to their posts but some of those followers have hundreds and even thousands of followers that see our posts on Google+.  Many are local clients and many are from all over the world.  Interesting is that even if they are in Europe they have friends here in Southern California that are now connecting to the Google+ page as locals.  In the last year we have seen more that 700,000 hits to the page.  This G+ page averages between 1500 and 2000 hits a day with various degrees of interest.  Clicks are recorded in the lower sections indicating interest.  In the last 30 days – 1148 clicks through to the website, 197 clicks for maps directions, 447 clicks for phone calls.  As a side note there are no paid ads attached to this page.  Another part of these insight pages allow us to see the general areas where these requests are coming from, whether the requests are from male or female potential clients and so on.  You can see how each post you do on G+ is reacted to by followers.

The “Insights” below are for just a 30 day period, you will notice.  When you place a post on your Google+ page it becomes a searchable page relating to your business.  People may fine that post in the search engines or maybe while looking through Google+ directly.  That post will always lead back to your Business.  These Google tools constitute the largest most robust business listing on the planet.  That’s why we all “Google It!”   The profile relating to the analytics below took a year to build.  I told you takes time an effort.

G+ Usage

How Do You Get Started?  Google My Business!

Google My Business is a fast way to connect all the basic Google Stuff you want to get going for your business.  It does not cost you anything but time.  Spend an hour create a Google Account and get started.   Spend a few minute each week building a stronger presence for your business.   If you have deep pockets you can throw a fortune at online promotion and Google will be glad to help with that.  The majority of us in small business are working with a very tight budget and still doing amazing stuff.

Small Business Owners are very busy people.  Finding time to get everything done is a serious issue!  If you don’t believe me try it some time!   Google+ can save you time and it can help you open a great line of communication with present and perspective customers.  If you use it right you can establish yourself as an authority in your line of work.  (Don’t post pics of cute kittens and puppies) Answer the questions your customers ask you over and over again.  Explain Why!  Followers will come back over and over to read what you have to say.  Assign a few minutes every week.  Over a period of time you will find out that a lot more people are listening, searching and roaming around on Google tools than you might think.

If you need help click on my contact page and let me know a little about your business.  CONTACT

Thanks,   KC

Ken Cox is small business owner and a Google Trusted Photographer assigned to Southern California.

We do Online Marketing, Commercial Photography, Video Production and consulting for small business.