Google+ the Hidden Secret Helping Bars Connect with Customers
Well, it’s happened. Just when you dialed in your Facebook and Twitter strategies, polished up your YouTube Channel and nailed down your Pinterest plan, Google+ has crept into the picture… and it’s doing it in a very big way. No longer, the ghost town of social media lore, Google+ is now the second-largest social network (Facebook is still #1) with over 340 million monthly users. That’s a lot of opportunity just waiting for you to pounce on it!
The first step to seeing the value in taking this next step into the social universe is to stop looking at Google+ as a Facebook competitor. There are three key features to Google+ that you won’t find anywhere else, making it and essential social tool for any business that wants to truly connect with its customers.
It Happens In Threes
You know the old rule: everything happens in threes – well, in this case, it’s true. As Google+ evolves, three very interesting features stand out: Local Search, Hangouts and Communities, and every one of them, when used correctly can make a huge impact on your business.
Local Search: Make Yourself Easier To Find
A recent article in Fast Company explored the reasons that Google+ is in it for keeps, but one particular fact really says it all: Having a Google+ page increases your likelihood of showing up in a Google Search, on Google Maps, Google Local… you get the picture.
Seems like a no-brainer to us.
Billions of people use Google Search every day, so why wouldn’t you, at the very least, make sure that they can find you? Yeah, we can’t think of a reason either! [pullquote]Tip: Be sure to set up your Google Plus Page correctly. It’s particularly important that you list your bar or restaurant as a local business/place – this will ensure that you are indexed correctly and will appear quickly when customers are looking for you.[/pullquote]
Hangouts: Build Relationships Face-To-Face
Hangouts are, in our opinion, one of the coolest features offered by any social platform, giving users the ability to speak with each other face-to-face using a high-definition group video chat. Just think about this for a minute: You have the ability to connect with your patrons whether they are in your location or not, giving them the opportunity to interact with you and your staff in a new and exciting way. What better way to share ideas, address concerns, and show appreciation for the people who make your business a success?
The possibilities for Hangouts are endless. Here are just a few of the ideas we came up with to help you engage your customers, no matter where they are:
- Mixology and More: Every bar or restaurant has that bartender who really connects with their patrons. Why not make them the star of a hangout series where patrons can log in to learn to make the hottest seasonal drinks from the pros. Want to focus on the food? How about collaborating with your customers to create a special appetizer or dessert to be featured in your location?
- Armchair Trivia: Who says you can’t host that live trivia event from your restaurant AND include patrons who can’t make it in? Invite your customers to sit in and participate in the live trivia events at your establishment. Let them chime in from home and offer a coupon to the at-home winner for a free appetizer or dessert. One they see how much fun it is, you can be sure they’ll be paying you a visit!
- Pow-Wow with the Pros: Forget about comment cards or emails… give your customers a forum to share their concerns and ideas with you personally once a month. Schedule a regular hangout where customers are free to share their experiences with you and to discuss ways to make every guest’s visit memorable. The connections you make with your guests will be invaluable and will be sure to turn one-time visitors into regulars.
Communities: Go to Where the Conversations are Already Happening
Google+ Communities offer users the ability to seek out conversations that are happening about the subjects they’re interested in. Want to see what restaurant trends are attracting new customers or discuss ways to excite your regulars? Simply find the conversations as they are happening and then – here’s the important part – participate!
When using communities, you also have the option of starting your own conversations, so don’t be afraid to seek out the information you’re looking for by setting up a community of your own and then asking questions. You may be surprised at the things you find out and, certainly, will gain valuable information about ways to make your business better!
Ready to get started? Check out Google’s Getting Started Guide for Business for step-by-step instructions on getting your page set up and tips for making it a success.
Are you already using Google+ for your business? What tools are you most excited about exploring? Share your thoughts and experiences with us today!