If your business relies on people finding you through search, or if you feel like your brand could benefit from deeper, more meaningful conversations with your target audience, then Google+ may very well be a successful platform for you to explore. We’re offering six strategies that will help make your efforts on Google+ more focused and successful.

When you boil it all down, Google+ has two main benefits at this time. First, there’s its integration with Google search. It’s becoming increasingly evident that business Pages are receiving favorable placement in Google’s search results and interactions with other Google+ members are starting to show up in the search results as well.

The second major benefit of Google+ is that offers a less noisy platform where you can engage more deeply and interactively with your core audience, or with major brand influencers and advocates. Google+ does not seem to be a numbers-driven social network. Members don’t tend to be fixated on their follower counts or the number of Google Circles they’re in (although these metrics are available). They tend to be more interested in deeper conversations and the connections that this less cluttered (and less populated) forum provides.

Here are some effective strategies for leveraging this new social network, categorized by “Search Strategies” and “Engagement Strategies.”

Search Strategies

1. Register Your Brand with Google+ Direct Connect: Google+ Direct Connect is an initiative from Google whereby people can connect to your brand’s Google+ Page simply by including a “+” symbol in front of your brand’s name when they search for it on Google.

To register your brand with Google+ Direct Connect, follow the instructions in the section entitled Direct Connect on Google’s Developer Page. Note that Google bases your eligibility for Direct Connect based on a number of different factors, including whether your website has a Google+ Badge (see below).

2. Add a Google+ Badge to Your Website: A Google+ Badge is an interactive button that you can put on your website. The button allows visitors to endorse your content on Google+, connect with your Google+ Page, and even add your Google+ Page to their Circles — all from your website. This is a great way to leverage your existing web traffic and direct visitors to your Page on Google+.

Generally speaking, the more people who interact with your Page, the more favorable it will appear in Google’s search results. Follow these instructions to put a Google+ Badge on your website.

3. Use Strategic Keywords: Its “Search plus Your World” algorithm notwithstanding, Google is still a search engine largely based on keyword relevancy. In other words, if your customers use words like “best pet products” or “specialized printing equipment” to find your business using Google, be sure to include those strategic keywords in posts that you publish from your Google+ Business Page.

Be conversational and genuine, but when there are organic opportunities to include keywords that are relevant to your products and services, don’t hesitate to include these in your posts on Google+.

Engagement Strategies

4. Post Popular Content: Photos and videos are still some of the most popular items to share on social media sites, and Google+ is no different. Peruse the streams of any Google+ members and you’re likely to find embedded images in many of the posts. You can also record and share videos directly from Google+ making it easier than ever to engage with your followers using compelling content.

Think about how strategic elements of your business could be represented visually and highlight these features with a series of relevant posts with supporting images and videos. If you have a Pinterest account, post some links to your pinboards on Google+ as part of your strategy to cross promote your brand’s presence on other platforms.

5. Add Relevant Links to Your Google+ Page: Google+ is still relatively new so many people tend to spend a little more time investigating your brand’s profile. Take advantage of that fact. Under the “About” tab of your Google+ Page, you can add “Recommended links” to relevant pages from your website, blog, and so on. Make sure your put your best links here to drive more traffic to your online properties or to give people even more ways to interact with your business online.

6. Use Google+ Hangouts: Google+ Hangouts is the live video chat feature offered by Google+. Considering inviting key influencers or brand advocates to participate in a weekly Hangout where you can solicit new product development ideas or just get focused feedback on how your company is doing.

Again, because this platform is still emerging, there’s a real opportunity to get creative with Hangouts, such as the band The Black Eyed Peas using Hangouts to interact with small groups of its fans.

What strategies are you using to make the most of your Google+ Business Page? Share your insights in the comments below.

[Image Credits: Jon Lee Clark, MoneyBlogNewz, iabuk]