Earlier this month, Google rolled out its Google+ dashboard for businesses. Here’s a look at how the new features can help you manage your company’s web presence and activities on this social network.
If you’re not already using Google+ for your business, it’s a good time to set up your business profile. Even if you don’t plan to post frequently, the social network will help your company gain greater search visibility on Google.com.
Once you’ve created your account or logged in, you’ll need to become a verified local business to gain access to the new features. These features include:
Detailed Data Insights — One of the most useful and compelling updates is the new access the dashboard provides to Google insights about your business, including the top searches for your business name, starting addresses from which have requested driving directions to your business, and how many views and shares each of your Google+ posts has received. You can use these insights to refine your social media and content strategies and to gain a better understanding of your customer base.
All-in-One Update Toolbar — The dashboard gives you the ability to update your business’s vital information, such as URLs, addresses, and hours, across all Google properties (Google+, Google Maps, Search, and more) simply by updating the toolbar.
Social Media Management — In the past, you could use Google+ to assign page administrators or share text like links and status updates. Now you can do all of that, plus invite your fans to Google+ Hangouts (live chats) and track the notifications you receive, such as new fans or comments. Consider planning a Hangout with a special guest relevant to your business. For instance, if you’re a professional organizer, you could set up a time for your fans to ask you their top organizational questions online.
AdWords and Google Offers Campaign Management — Previously, if you wanted to manage your Google ad campaigns, you had to visit the AdWords and Google Offers websites individually to view your content and make changes. The new dashboard aggregates these services, so that you can monitor your performance and shift gears more easily.
For entrepreneurs, the new dashboard provides a centralized space to view and manage many of your business activities across the web, simplifying the process and likely saving you time.
For Google, the integration could be a strategy for staying relevant: The average social network visitor spent fewer than seven minutes on Google+ in March; in contrast, they spent more than six hours on Facebook. By incorporating other popular Google products under the Google+ banner, the company may be able to increase engagement with its own social network by making the service more practical for business owners.
Google+ still may not catch up to Facebook anytime soon, but with the new dashboard, it’s become far more business-friendly.
Have you tried out the new Google+ dashboard? What’s your take? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below.