How To Write A Google+ Review

alan jansson Google+ review

alan jansson Google+ review

Google has begun to give a social ranking to websites and a key element in that ranking is the Google+ review.  So if you have not got any reviews for your Google+ Local website, now is the time to start.  There are some traps in this, so I thought I would create this post on how to write a Google+ review.

Google has become a lot stricter about reviews on Google+ in order to stamp out false reviews (e.g. reviews written by website owners themselves or by people paid to make up reviews).

Google’s new rules for reviews on Google+ are:

  1. you must have a Google+ account and be signed into your account to leave a review
  2. you cannot use nicknames or be anonymous
  3. your review will automatically be public with your name attached (on Google+ and possibly on search engine results).

How to create a Google+ review – the steps

The steps to create a Google+ review are quite simple, but there are a number of them and it is important to follow them closely to maximize the benefit of your Google+ review.

1.  Log into your Google+ account

2. Access the Google+ account of the website you want to review.  If you don’t already know the web address, you can search for this via Google by entering the name of the business and “Google+”.  Alternatively, if you search on a related keyword, you could access the Google+ account from the search result entry as in this illustration of Acupuncture Gold Coast:

Google+ search result

3. CLICK THE BLUE BUTTON for “Write a Review”

This button is in the top right hand corner as illustrated in this Google+ account for Alan Jansson’s Japanese Acupuncture clinic on the Gold Coast:

write a review - Google+

4. READ GOOGLE’S WARNING about going public and Click “continue”

Google will immediately advise you that your review will be public with your name attached.   Here is the warning I received when I clicked the “write a review” button;

Google+ review warning

5. WRITE YOUR REVIEW and RATE the business/service – 0, 1, 2, or 3 (where 3 equals excellent)

It is important to record your rating as Google takes this into account when determining the social score of a website and overall ranking.   You can see the ranking options illustrated below along with the write-a-review block:


Goolge+ review and rating


The publish button is illustrated in the image above.



Google gives you the option of  informing your circles of your completed review.   Indicate which of your own Google+ circles you want to notify about your reviewGoing public is not optional.   However, you can choose what circles you want to be informed of your Google+ review (so this is a viral feature if you choose to use it).

When you click “add more people” you will be given a drop-down menu to indicate who else (which circles) you want to share your review with.

Here’s an example from my review of Acupuncture Gold Coast, an acupuncture clinic run by Alan Jansson who has provided acupuncture services to my family over many years:

share google+ review


DON’T FORGET TO CLICK THE “SHARE” BUTTON – then you are finished!

It seems a long process but the steps are simple.  It is important that you don’t attempt to dupe the system or take shortcuts.  I’ve provided this post on how to write a Google+ review so that you can offer your service provider/ offline client the maximum benefit from Google+ reviews.

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras – More Options for Small Business Marketing

google+hangouts - with extras

google+hangouts - with extras

Google is continuously innovating with Google+ and this is best illustrated through the Google Plus Hangouts with Extras facility.  This extension of Google Plus Hangouts increases the opportunities for small business marketing.  It also expands the ways that small business owners can use Google Plus Hangouts to communicate with their staff

How to access Google Plus Hangouts with Extras

When you are in the Green Room, you will see the following screen and there will be a link to Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see arrow in the screenshot below):

Google Plus Hangouts with extras

If you click the ‘with Extras’ link, you will be taken to another screen which summarizes the options available under the Extras facility (as illustrated in the opening image).  After you click ‘Try Hangouts with extras’, you will be taken to the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see excerpt below):

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - options



What is the difference between Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras?

Well Google gives a good explanation of the differences as they now stand (this is an evolving feast).  Unfortunately, Hangouts with Extras is not a simple extension of Hangouts. For instance, with Hangouts you can watch YouTube videos together, but this option is not currently available for Hangouts with Extras.  Google makes things easier by providing the following valuable comparison of the differences between Google Plus Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras:

 Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - comparison


You can see from this comparison that both Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras provide group chat and group video chat and that is where the similarity ends.

It is not clear yet whether the additional features of Hangouts with Extras will be merged into Hangouts or whether they will remain distinct. 

The additional features of Google Plus Hangouts are summarized below:

  • Screen Sharing – This allows you to share what is on your screen with others in your Google Plus Hangout.   You may want to explain something on a website, show a diagram or share an image and screen share will let you do that.  Once you are in Extras, click on ‘Start Hangout’ and the ‘Share Screen’ icon will appear at the top. When you click this button, you will be given a choice of screens from your computer to share with others (highlight the one you want to display and then click ‘Share Selected Window’). 
  • Google Docs Integration – There is a ‘Documents’ menu on the left hand side of the Extras screen.  To add a document, you click “Add Document’.  Default documents are also provided in the form of ‘Notes’ and ‘Sketchpad’. 
  • Start a named Hangout – Once you are in the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras, you can give your Hangout a name and invite people to your named Hangout.  [Note: there are multiple ways you can join a Named Hangout yourself.] 

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras offers the opportunity to be creative with your small business marketing and staff communications and demonstrates Google’s ongoing commitment to the advancement of Google+.

Google Plus Hangouts: Video Chat with Staff

Google Plus Hangout with staff

Google Plus Hangout with staff

Google Plus Hangouts offer you the ability to video chat with family, friends and acquaintances who are part of your circle and who, in turn, have reciprocated by making you part of their circles.

The benefits and options associated with Google+ Hangouts are extensive and growing as Google refines this facility and small businesses find new applications for hangouts.

{Photo Credit: Birgerking – Chat like mad]

Using Google Plus Hangouts for Internal Communications with Staff

Helen Barrett of The Guardian recently reported that Google+ has attracted considerable interest from charities.  In the report, she identifies some key uses by charities:

  • including primary keywords for posts in their Google+ stream (to increase their search engine rankings)
  • sharing technical/medical/scientific information in the Google+ stream to attract a early adopters to improve their lifestyle and/or participate more fully in the charity’s work
  • using the Google Plus Hangouts for internal communications

The potential applications of Google Plus Hangouts for staff communications include:

  • provide information about product updates
  • maintain contact with work-at-home staff
  • develop a training program
  • conduct a brainstorming session
  • share planned marketing activities
  • facilitate project team communications or undertake project planning
  • connect with staff in remote localities
  • maintain contact with volunteers (public sector or charitable organizations)
  • share YouTube Videos for training, for fun or creative endeavor – everyone can watch the same video but have different volume controls (including mute) and anyone can change, play or pause a video. 

Peter McDermott has provided a very useful Beginner’s Guide to Google Plus Hangouts that will enable you to further explore the potential of this tool for staff communications:

Charities have already started to realize the potential of Google Plus Hangouts for marketing – it is time that this tool was used effectively by small businesses for staff communications.

Google Plus Hangouts: Video Chat with Your Friends, Customers and Other Circles

Google Plus Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts

Google has taken video chat to another level with its Google Plus Hangouts.  Commentators report that this feature is the real groundbreaking aspect of Google+.  Unfortunately, Google+ Hangout has not really taken off yet as Google+ members are still trying to come to grips with the many features and implications of Google Plus.

Google continues to innovate in this area and has recently created further refinements based on user feedback.  Google Plus Hangouts provide many opportunities for small business marketing through connection with your customers or clients.  You can also connect with your friends and staff. 

The only requirement is that the people you connect with on Google+ Hangouts have to be in your circle and they have to have you in their circle – so this requirement is a basic privacy element of Google Plus.   There is also a limit on participation numbers – at the time of writing the limit is 10 participants.

How to start a Google Plus Hangout

The button for starting a Google+ hangout can be found on your page along with your Google+ stream.  You will see a button in the right hand column with the words, “Start a hangout’ and related icon:google+ - start hangout

If you have not used this facility before (or used Google Talk), then you will be asked to install a plugin which enables Google+ Hangout to interact with the audio and video equipment on your computer.  The plugin request will look like this: 

Google + Hangout - install plugin

You will be advised when the installation of the plugin is successful and you will have the option again to setup a Google+ Hangout.

When you have the plugin installed and click the “start a hangout” button your will be taken to the Green Room – effectively the waiting room before you go on air (you can even check out your personal appearance beforehand!).

The Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts – the waiting room

Google Plus has created an interim space, called the Green Room, so you can check out your appearance (if you want), ensure your audio and video equipment are functioning and invite people to join in your Google+ Hangout.  Once you click ‘Start a hangout”, you will be taken to the Green Room which is illustrated in the image below:

google+ hangout - the green room

From within the Green Room, you can add individuals or circles to your Google Plus Hangout.  You click on the ‘+Add circles or people to share with” button and you will see a drop-down menu of your circles so you can specify which circles you want to communicate with (this is where setting up and naming your Google + circles becomes really important, e.g. creating a customer circle for customer communications and surveys). 

You can also invite individuals by adding their name to the field that appears once you click the  ‘+Add circles or people to share with” button.  You can choose to place a name in this field and/or add specific circles.  When you add a circle you can also add individuals by clicking on the field ‘Add more people” and entering the individual’s name beside the Google+ circle displayed as shown below:

Google+ hangout - add more people

Adjusting your settings for Google Plus Hangouts in the Green Room

In the Green Room, as illustrated previously, you will see icons for audio, video and settings (working from left to right).  If you click on the audio or video icons, you will mute the relevant equipment.

The settings icon enables you to advise Google Plus of the source you wish to use for your video (webcam), audio and volume controls.  You will be able to choose from the dropdown menu for each of these pieces of equipment.  From my experience, Google Plus automatically activates my webcam when I click on “Start a hangout’ (even when I have not switched the webcam on myself).  Remember to click the ‘Save Settings” button when you have finalised your settings.

google+ hangout - settings

The thing to remember is that the Green Room is for setting everything up for your hangout (even yourself).  You or your Green Room are not visible to others until you click on the green ‘Hang Out’ button in the Green Room.

Google Plus Hangouts provides a great opportunity for small business marketing by enabling video chat with your circles (including your customers and friends).

Google Plus: A Lesson in Persistence for Small Business Marketing

persistence - no shortcut to success

persistence - no shortcut to success

Google’s persistence in developing its new social network, Google Plus, provides a key lesson for small business marketing.  Google obviously sees Google Plus as an evolution, not an end point.  You only have to see the frequency of updates and changes to Google +, to realize that Google’s persistence in developing a state-of-the-art social network is contributing to its continuous refinement. 

 [Photo Credit: rikkis_refuge]

The value of persistence for small business marketing

In an earlier article on, I wrote about the value of persistence in relation to affiliate programs and described the benefits in terms of the 4 R’s – resources, realization, relationships and rewards.

These benefits also apply to small business marketing in the following way:

  1. Resources – you get to know what is available and how to access it for free or at a reasonable price; you also identify resource people who can help you with your small business marketing
  2. Realization – this is a central benefit and represents the core learning outcome from persistence.  You get to know what works best for your small business in terms of marketing ( e.g. you may learn that marketing your services are best achieved by combining social media marketing with word of mouth).  Realization comes with focus, persistence and experimentation
  3. Relationships – you develop relationships with other small business marketers, your customers and key resource people who can work with you through collaborative marketing (as I do with my colleagues, Anne Corcino of and Chef Keem).
  4. Rewards – the rewards for your persistence as a small business owner include the consolidation of your personal profile and brand which in turn can lead to increased customers, free access to resources and free publicity as others promote and share your content and write positive reviews about your products and services.

I want to concentrate here on the realization benefits that accrued to Google through its persistence in the development of its social network.

Google Plus and the’realization’ benefits of persistence

The precursors to Google+, Google Wave and Google Buzz, were effectively learning laboratories for Google as it came to grips with the difference between running a search engine and guiding a social network.

Google realized three key aspects through its persistence in developing Google Plus:

  1. The value of the scarcity principle – Google Plus was offered initially as ‘invitation only’ and people were falling over themselves to get an invitation from someone already in the Google+ network (this also worked to build Google+ circles rapidly)
  2. The importance of participation and flexibility – where you have a monopoly you can afford to be autocratic and prescriptive (as Google is in relation to search, Google Adwords and Google Adsense) but where you are offering an entirely new service, outside your normal experience, you need to be participative and flexible
  3. The difference between a search engine and a social network – a search engine can operate through coercion and forced compliance; a vibrant social network requires winning minds and hearts.

The evolution of Google Plus illustrates the realization benefits that can accrue from persistence.  Other writers have expanded on the value of persistence for small business marketing.  One writer suggests that persistence makes the difference between success and failure in small business marketing:

Persistence: The Difference Maker

Google has been able to develop Google Plus as an effective social network through its persistence in pursuing this corporate marketing strategy (despite early failures)  – a key lesson for small business marketing.