After much anticipation, Google has recently introduced Google+ Pages and now brands and businesses are welcome on the social network. While there is probably some hesitation about integrating yet another new platform into your marketing strategy, it can be beneficial to engage your community across different social media outposts.

Unlike Twitter, Google+ updates aren’t limited to 140 characters, making it an ideal platform for more in-depth conversations. Additionally, these conversations can take place with fewer distractions than Facebook. In this article, we’ll cover some of the different ways in which you can market your brand on Google+.

Toot Your Own Horn

If you’re an established brand, there’s probably a lot of information about you on the web already, including content that’s been created by you. By adding an author tag to your material, your photo and name will appear next to Google Search results for content you’ve created — such as your website, blog posts, and videos. People will also be able to see how many Circles you’re in and will have the option to add you to a Circle as well. Authorship is especially beneficial for brands that have a company blog or those that spend a lot of time contributing guest posts. You can learn more about this feature through Google Webmaster tools.

Don’t let your customers stumble upon a blank page. Use your Google+ Page to highlight your work. Share success stories, case studies, and links to presentations as a resource for both your customers and industry colleagues. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to recycle relevant blog posts from the archives. Google+ doesn’t allow contests or giveaways, but you can use your Page to drive traffic to and from your website or other social media platforms. Just because you’re trying to grow a community on one platform doesn’t mean that you should neglect the others.

Tell a Story

While blog posts and news articles make for great content, nothing attracts the eye like a vibrant photograph or compelling video. Similar to Facebook Pages, Google+ features five photo boxes toward the top of the page. Brands like Hugo Boss and Toyota have taken advantage of the layout and used small images from an advertisement to create a large picture across the top of the page. This helps to create consistency in messaging across multiple platforms.

You can also use Google+ to share photos from your office, launch party, or networking event. Recently, Google introduced a new feature that makes tagging the people in your photo albums easier and faster. Just group the photos of a person’s face together and then tag the entire group with his or her name. This is a great way for your followers to get to know the faces behind the brand. If you’re looking for a creative way to introduce your team, check out Dell. The company created a Circle for its Google+ launch team, uploaded a screenshot of the Circle, and then tagged everyone’s face in the image.

Sometimes stories are best told live. Google Hangouts let you set up real-time video conversations with customers. The feature can be used while at your desk or on the go from your mobile phone. You can chat face-to-face with your community about an upcoming event, product, or service, or just say hello and start building an engaged following. We predict that this feature will be popular in aiding the customer support team, whether for one-on-one conversations or webinars.

Tailor Your Message

With so many platforms and different types of audiences, it can be challenging to create a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. With Google+, you can easily tailor your content for a variety of audiences and make your messaging more relevant to your followers. Think about the different types of people in your audience. On a daily basis you’re probably communicating with current customers, the media, partners, industry contacts, and new prospects. By sharing the right content with the right people you’re increasing your chances of expanding your reach. People that find relevant content are more likely to share it with others.

If feedback is what you’re looking for, you can create Circles for your early adopter or beta tester communities. You can share exclusive sneak peeks of new products or services. And since Google+ doesn’t have a limit on the length of posts or comments, you can have more in-depth conversations with your community about what they like, don’t like, and so on.

Building a community on Google+ will take some time as both brands and consumers learn how to navigate the new social network. Google+ offers a lot of opportunities for two-way conversations with fewer distractions. Grab an interactive badge, put it on your website, and start promoting your Google+ Page to your community.

[Image credits: Kachina Dazewoodleywonderworks, Dave Fayram, Michael]