As of November 2011, Google has opened their newest attempt at social networking for businesses. While Google+ has been available to the general public for a while, only people were allowed to create Google+ profiles, unlike Facebook that has allowed business pages and groups for years. And they are set to become a great tool for small businesses to embrace social media marketing.

Can I Set Up A Google+ Business Page?

As long as you have a Google+ account and the authority to set up and maintain a page for a business or brand, yes, you can set up a Google+ business page. Google+ pages come in five different categories: Local Business or Place, Product or brand, Company, Institution or Organization, Arts, Entertainment or Sports and Other. This should accomodate from small businesses to celebrities and independent professionals with ease.

Setting Up A Google+ Business Page

The process of setting up your Page is simple and straightforward. You'll need to be logged in to a Google+ account, select a category for your Page and its name. If it's a local business you'll also need to provide an address.

You will also be able to add a tagline and a photo and tell your network about it, or you can just skip and come back later. Adding the Google +1 button on your website will allow your web visitors to share it with their Circles, but you won’t be able to join a Circle as a business until you have been mentioned there.

Your business page will be linked to the Google Account you register it with, so if you are acting on behalf of your company you may want to use a Google+ account different from your personal one.

Using Google+ Pages For Business Marketing

If you want to make the most of your Page the key is sharing lots of high quality content. With Google+ you can share posts, but you can also share images, recommended links and videos. What is more, you can segment your followers by placing them on different Circles, which means you get to share different content with your existing customers, potential ones, business partners, etc… all from the same Google+ Page.

Wheter you are into online affiliate marketing or selling your own information products, learning about social Google+ and media marketing is key to promote your business online without spending money in advertising. Google makes this easy by guiding you through the process of setting up and optimizing your Google+ Page, so read the helpful hints and suggestions and make sure both your profile and the content you share are optimized for your audience.

Google+ Direct Connect

You'll get a unique URL on your homepage that you can share with your customers, but if you want to take advantage of Google's new '+' operator you'll need to verify your business website. This way, Internet users will be able to search on Google +yourPagename to be sent directly to your Google+ Page. You will need to install the Google+ Direct Connect code on your business website to verify that it's indeed the official Google+ Page. You can do that by clicking on the "connect your website" link under the "Get Started" section.

While Direct Connect is not yet widespread, Google is already indexing pages with high quality content and active communities, so the sooner you create your Google+ page the better, as that will give you the advantage against your competition. Google has said before that they expect Google+ to be a great venue for small and local businesses to reach their audience, and as such is a great opportunity to be an early adopter of a technology that help your business play on an equal footing against the big names of your industry.