Google Plus (Google+) is the newest elephant in the room that many hospitality professionals are choosing to ignore due to their “lack of time” to manage another social network. Many are choosing to simply disregard it, while some choose to make fun of it saying it will be another technology that Google will eventually kill off. The question is not should I have a Google+ page but why does my property not have one yet? This blog entry is my attempt to help you choose to create a Google+ page for your property and to encourage you to become active with it.
One of the first shapes I drew as a child was a circle, simple, connected, and fun. Many business plans and brainstorming techniques start with circles and grow from there. Google+ also starts with circles. If you can’t quite wrap your brain around what a Google+ circle is, think of your Facebook page and all the followers you have. Imagine if you could drag certain followers into a VIP subset, and employees into another, and people from the USA into another. Instead of posting a status of “Tonight’s special is Maine Lobster Macaroni and Cheese” that goes out to everyone (shot gun affect), imagine being able to post very specifically to just your VIP’s something like “Book a suite by April 1st, and receive a complimentary bottle of wine.” You see, one group might not care about the same content the other group cares for. Perhaps you define a VIP as someone who stays at your property 15 nights or more a year – if this is the case perhaps it makes sense to market your city events to this circle, as opposed to more general status updates that you would post to regular guests.
Google+ allows you to personalize your updates in a very one-on-one way. Are you a fine dining establishment? Perhaps your want to draw in more business from out of town guests so you offer a “book a dinner reservation for a party of four or more by 9pm and receive a free appetizer.” You can target this message to only the people in your “Out of Town” circles. This way the “Locals” circle doesn’t get upset about the special.
Pictures you upload to your Google+ feed show up brilliant and large in the news feed. Your snapshots don’t have to be professional or photoshopped. Just be personal and interesting. Are you near the coast? How about a picture of today’s fresh catch. In the city? How about a picture of that new sky scraper or city wide concert? Remember, your followers follow you so they can feel connected. The pictures you load offer another look behind the scenes of the personality of the property your represent.
I cannot stress enough how much foodies love to look at food. If you are a chef, or restaurateur and are not loading pictures of your food, before and after photo’s, and even video’s of food being created – you are missing out on interaction with your patrons. Remember followers follow for a chance to connect with you more, the more connected a follower is, the most okay it becomes for you to sell them something periodically. Remember the theme is, “You earn my trust, now, you earn my money.”
Business Profile Page
There a few fun features on the Google+ Business Profile Pages that I really appreciate. One is that you can link directly to your business website. So, remember, when creating your page – every time you mention your establishment make that name a link so patrons can simply click and end up at your website.
The Google+ Business Page also offers a video tab. I wonder why that is there? Perhaps to promote you as a business owner to take advantage of the opportunity to share video’s with your fans! Video is where most of your marketing will be headed; take advantage of this opportunity to show the action behind the curtain.
Your Google+ Business Page also offers a “photo” tab. This is where the photo’s you add will end up. Check out some of the business pages I will link to for some idea’s on pictures that look amazing on Google+.
I am not an SEO guy so I am not going to try and explain to you how amazing Google+ is for SEO reasons. What I will tell you is that your Google+ page offers a search feature. Is your business in Summerville, South Carolina and you want to know what users of Google+ are saying about your city on the network? Use the search feature. I have also found this effective when operating under my personal account to find possible customers, and tons of prospects.
My final thoughts on Google+ is that it is not going to go away and you need to stop making excuses as to why you should avoid the constant changes that the internet is going to continue to bring. If you want to learn at the speed of light about Google+ I recommend you subscribe to Chris Brogan’s Blog. Chris is a Google+ guru and recently wrote a book on Google+ “Google+ for Business” (affiliate link).
Below are a few links to great Google+ brand pages and please tell me, what did I miss?
If you want to connect with me you can do so on these networks: