While Facebook is figuring out Timeline, Google has released Google + Pages to give businesses access to Google’s new social network. This a big move for Google because businesses take much of their online traffic from Google search.

Google + connects with other Google services. Google + is functioning with the Google +1 buttons in websites and on search results. There will be a day (probably soon) where organic results are affected by Google +. If done right, Google +’s convenience may win over a portion of Facebook users.

Restaurants, therefore, should dip their feet in the water, even if they spend only a fraction of the attention as  they do for Facebook and Twitter. If enough customers (in the hundreds) start following your Google + Page, it is time to step it up. If you are really excited about Google +, you may even want to mention your Google + Page in a Facebook post.

Step by Step: Creating Your Google + Page

Creating your restaurant’s page is a relatively easy process, but I will go through step by step so you get it right the first time. But before you start open, you need to open a Gmail and Google + account to manage the page.

Here’s the link for to create a business page for Google +. There is a video there, but it isn’t instructional. So click the Create your Google + Page and I will go through this.

Screen 2

Now you see the “Create a Page” screen. It is a menu which offers you five options:

  1. Local Business or Place
  2. Product or Brand
  3. Company, Institution or Organization
  4. Arts, Entertainment or Sports
  5. Other

Independent restaurants (with unique brands) should choose Local Business or Place as the features are designed for these kinds of businesses.

Then you will see a screen that asks for location. You then enter in your phone # and your country. It should find your address from your phone number. If Google doesn’t have your business on record, you enter the information in.

Screen 4

In the screen titled “Customize your page’s public profile” you will first insert in a profile picture for your restaurant. Click “Change profile photo” button.

You will be on the “Select Profile Photo” screen. Since restaurant owners rarely have photos already on Google’s servers, you will “upload” one from your computer’s hard drive. You do this by clicking on “Select a photo from your computer” and search your computer for an image. This should be a professional photo that is an excellent representation of your restaurant or your logo because it will be the face of your Google+ page.

After you select the photo from your hard drive, you can adjust the profile image’s dimensions (although it can only be a square). There is a creative kit to change the photograph but your photo/logo should be professional quality so you don’t need that.

When you decided on what the customer sees, click “Set as profile photo” in bottom right of screen.

You will see a screen where you can start over with the profile image or confirm that you are satisfied.

To accept the image, click “Continue” on bottom left of screen.

To change the image, click “Change profile photo” in center of screen.

Next you will arrive on the “Get The Word Out” page. If you have been using Google + already and have circles of people, you can notify them by entering the name of the circle.

Since you are opening a page, it is a good idea to find your friends/acquaintances on Google + and add them to your circles. You can do this later if you don’t have circles yet.

After adding circles, click finished at bottom of page.

Additional Steps You Should Complete

  1. Accurate Info
    You have to go to the About section and enter the rest of your information, which you will see on your restaurant’s main page (not your stream). Click on the Edit Profile button in the top right.
  2. Post and Provide Content
    As your Google + needs content right away, click the “Start the Conversation” button to post. Posting is similar to Facebook and there is a box at the top of the page you can use. Also you need to upload (or add from your computer) photos and videos. There are tabs on the top of your post area for photo and video sections.
  3. Connect Your Marketing
    Link to your website in Google + page & put the Google + badge on your website.
  4. Make Your Page Popular
    Use “Tell the world” by using the link to promote your Google + page on other social media and your blog.
  5. Get Involved
    Participate in Google + so your circles grow and more people follow your page. For your own stream, you can change the listing of people in your circle by editing them,

This is a start. Don’t leave your page empty as no one will follow a page without any content or value.

As we learn more and Google tweaks it, we will update you about the capabilities and limitations of Google +. Eventually we hope to develop best practices too. Hope this was a help.