Armed with my grease-stained copy of the classic How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual for the Compleat Idiot, I could fix anything on that car, with its lawnmower-simple engine.
Your Google+ Business Page isn’t really much more complicated than those 1960′s VW engines, but without a good guide, much of what you can do with it might remain buried under the hood. So, without stooping to call you a “compleat idiot,” here is your quick and easy guide under the hood of your Google+ Business Page.
But before we get started…
- If you haven’t created a page yet, go to Create a Google+ Page.
- If you have a page, but want to be sure you’ve set it up properly, see our Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Google+ Brand Page.
What’s in this guide?
Jump to the following sections:
- Where Is My Page?
- Sections of Your Page
- Page Settings
- Creating Posts
- Understanding Your Profile
- Editing Your Profile
- Using Notifications
The first mystery for most new Page owners is how to get back to their page after they’ve created it. On your Google+ home page (where your main Stream view is), find the small arrow to the right of your profile picture at upper right.
Clicking that arrow will reveal a list of your Pages. Click the one you want to work with. When the avatar and name at upper left change to the ID of the Page, you are that page. In other words, every activity you do–posting, commenting, +1ing, etc.–you will now do as that page, not as your personal profile.
(Alternatively, you can search for your Page’s name in Google+ search, but you’ll then have to click the “manage this page” link at the top of your Page in order to be in administrator mode.)
Similar to your personal profile, your Page has several sections, identified by icons in the nav bar to the left. You can change the order of these icons by dragging and dropping them on the bar. Here are the most important ones for Page management:
1 – Home: The normal “Stream” view. Here you can see posts of those your Page follows, create your own posts (see below), and select Circles from the left sidebar to filter your stream view.
2 – Profile: This is your Page’s “Dashboard,” and we’ll go into more detail about its features later.
3 - Photos: View photos posted by those in your Page’s Circles, photos that have been tagged with your Page’s name, and photos you’ve posted. If you want to create photo albums, this is where you do it.
4 – Circles: The people you’ve added to your Page’s Circles, and the People who have added your Page to theirs. Here you can also manage your Circles, creating new ones or adding/deleting people from your existing ones. For more about managing your Circles, see Getting Started with Circles.
Google+ includes a number of basic settings and options that you should customize for your page. To get to your Page’s settings, first make sure you are on your Page in management mode (see “Where Is My Page?” above). Then click the gear icon at upper right and select “Google+ settings.”
There are two settings tabs: Google+ Settings and Managers.
- Who can interact with you and your posts? Here you can limit (if you want to) who is able to appear in your Notifications alerts and or comment on your posts. Notifications occur when someone mentions you in a post, specifically targets a post at you, invites you to a Hangout, or tags you in a photo. You can select from “Anyone,” “Your Circles” (the people and Pages you’ve followed), or “Only you” (which essentially locks out all Notifications and/or commenting). Alternatively, you can choose “Custom,” which allows you to limit notifications or comments to coming from specific circles.
- Notification delivery. Specify an email address where to which you want notifications sent. Don’t change this if you don’t want email notifications.
- Your circles. By default, sharing content to “Your Circles” sends it to all your circles except those people or pages you only have in “Following.” Clicking the “Customize” button here allows you to choose which circles you want in “Your Circles.”
- Photos. Self-explanatory default options for photos you post or share publicly.
- Owner can invite and remove managers, view the manager roster, delete the Page, transfer ownership of the Page, adjust Page settings, and act as the Page (i.e., post content, edit circles, etc.). Each Page can have only one owner. The link to transfer ownership of the Page is in very light grey at the upper right of the Managers Settings page.
- Managers can do all that Owners can do, except delete the Page or transfer ownership of the Page. There can be up to 50 Managers per Page.
You create a content post for your Page exactly the same as you do on your personal home page.
- Make sure you’re managing your Page (see “Where Is My Page?” above).
- Make sure you’re on your Page’s Home Page view (click the icon on the nav bar that looks like a house).
- Click in the “Share what’s new” box at the top of the Stream.
- Type in your post. (Remember, you can use *asterisks* around words for bold and _underscores_ for italics.)
- Using the icons at the bottom right of the share box, add an image, a video, a link, or a location.
- Under the share box, click on “+Add more people” to select to which circles or individuals you want the post visible. Including “Public” makes the post visible to all who have circled you and to anyone viewing your Page’s profile.
- When your post is ready, click the “Share” button.
Not happy with how your post looks? Made a mistake? No problem. With Google+ you can edit your post after it’s posted. Just click the little arrow at upper right in the post, and select “Edit this post.”
From the menu on that arrow, you can do any of the following:
- Edit the post
- Delete the post
- Grab a link to the post (to link to it from elsewhere)
- Disable comments
- Lock the post (so it can’t be edited by other page managers)
- View Ripples (a graph that shows how the post was shared across Google+ over time)
Your Profile is subdivided into four tabs:
- Posts – All of the posts you’ve created, the most recent at the top. (Non-administrators only see your public posts here.)
- About – Your introduction to your page, including links to your site or elsewhere.
- Photos – All the photos you’ve uploaded to your Page. You can upload photos here without including them in a post.
- Videos – All the videos you’ve uploaded to your Page. You can upload videos here without including them in a post.
To edit your profile, go to Profile view (see “Understanding Your Profile” above). Click the “Edit Profile” button at upper right.
This will place you in the About tab of your profile. To edit or add content to any section, just click on it, which will put it in edit mode. For example, click on the Introduction section, and it will look like this:
Notice that you have some rich text editing capabilities (bold, italics, underline, hyperlink, numbered and bulleted lists). The last format button removes formatting from selected text.
In the edit box for most sections, you can also set the privacy level for the section, determining who can view it.
Click on the section in the left sidebar, and you can choose whether visitors can see the count and identities of either who your Page has circled or who has circled your Page.
Finally, click on “Recommended Links” in the right sidebar to add external links. Think of this like your blogroll. Certainly link to your own site(s), as well as its major sections, and link to your other online presences as well.
To add a link, click “Add custom link.” Enter your anchor text (the words you want to show for the link) in the “Label” box, and the link address in the URL box.
Editing the Photos and Videos Tabs
Clicking on either the Photos or Videos tabs brings up a number of checkbox options:
- Show this tab on your profile: You might ask, why wouldn’t I show it? If you have no photos or videos (yet), it might be better to not show the tab, in order to reduce user frustration from clicking on an empty tab. Of course, you might also decide that you want to keep your images of videos private.
- Allow viewers to download my photos: This sets the default option. You can change this for each individual photo in your albums.
- Find my face in photos and prompt people I know to tag me: Perhaps not very useful for Pages. This feature allows Google to accumulate a “face profile” of faces in your photos, and then prompt people to tag new photos that might have those same faces.
- People whose tags of you are automatically approved to link to your Profile: Photos tagged with your Page’s name by circles or people you include here will be automatically posted to your Page’s “Photos of You” section.
Other Edits: You can also edit your Page’s avatar image (shows next to all your posts), the Scrapbook photos (the five images that show across the top of the Profile), your Page name, and the Page’s tag line (or local address, if it is a local page).
When you are done with all your edits, click the “Done Editing” button in the red bar.
Just as with your personal profile, Google+ lets you know when certain interactions have taken place by means of a number in a red box at the upper right of almost any Google product when you’re logged in to Google.
In regard to Pages, you should note two important points:
- When you are managing your Page (i.e., you’ve switched to your Page using the arrow under your name at upper left), the notifications counter has reference to that Page only, and not your personal notifications.
- When you are in your personal profile mode, the notifications counter has reference only to your personal profiles. At present, you cannot see notifications for your Pages when you are not managing them. (Until Google+ incorporates some kind of better management dashboard, you might want to check out the Google+ Pages Notification extension for Chrome, Safari, and Opera.)
6. Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Google+ Brand Page (featured by Guy Kawasaki in his “Mega-list of how-to guides for Google+ brand pages” )
7. How to Use the Post from Google+ Search Feature – Start a conversation around a set of search results