Customizing your Google+ Page for Business

… this is a continuation of the blog postings I started last week about creating a Google+ page for business…

Once you’ve “created” your Google+ Business page, Google asks you to provide a “Tagline” for the page. Like the title of the page, the tagline is a good place to include some keywords. And since it’s not clear from Google’s screens whether the tagline is going to be presented/displayed on the page, or whether this is simply for tagging/SEO purposes, it is best to try to kill two birds with one stone: in order words, make the tag line serve tagging/SEO purposes but do so in a manner that involves a comprehensive, grammatically correct sentence.

Next you’ll upload your profile photo, and since Google+ makes it easy to separate your “activity” between your personal persona and your business persona, you can upload a different avatar graphic for your business page and you can easily swap between your personal “self” and business “self” as your activity warrants. That’s nice.

Now you have your business page, which at the beginning looks very similar to your personal Google+ page — in a word, empty.  So add some “streams” (which is the Google word for Facebook’s “Status” updates. If you have videos upload to YouTube, Google+ makes it easy to find them and embed them (which stands to reason, since Google owns YouTube)… so that’s an easy place to start.

Coming up we’ll talk about automating some posts to Google+ so you start to easily generate some content on your Google+ business page, and other tactics you should start to pursue since you now have a presence on Google+.

Author Platform Videos on YouTube

The fourth method for self publishing authors to add content to their YouTube channels is through the creation of “dynamic Google videos.”   Frankly, at Outskirts Press we have just recently begun playing around with this. So it is not an “option” we officially offer, per se.  At least, not yet.  Instead, we use it in-house to recognize certain authors, grant perks to others, and in general offer something “extra” to select authors for one reason or another.  

The creation of the video itself doesn’t have a lot of value — Google makes it incredibly easy to make these videos yourself — so the value we bring to the Platform Videos we produce for our authors is through the distribution of them to our social networks and video channels, which by and large, receive more traffic (and therefore more “views”) than an individual author’s channel.

Google has created this dynamic video generator to help Google brand THEIR value as a search engine. But with the right creative effort put behind it, our Author Platform videos successfully communicate the value Outskirts Press delivers by helping self-publishing professionals establish expertise and credibility in their field through the publication of high-quality books.

Here is an example:

Advertising on your YouTube channel

If there’s one thing Google knows how to do, it’s make money offering advertising options. And with their acquisition of YouTube, they’ve now “spread the love” to everyone’s favorite video site as well.  Obviously, the easiest way to advertise on YouTube is to upload a video that advertises your book or company.  The only bad thing about that is that videos that play on YouTube are not “clickable” which makes creating a “call to action” all that more difficult.  Sure, your video can feature a call to action — i.e., “visit such and such website today for a 10% savings — but this requires the viewer of your video to remember the webpage URL and then asks that viewer to actually type the webpage address into his or her browser.

We’ve become a society of clickers.  We don’t write freehand anymore and we barely type anymore.  Unless we can “click” from one place to another on the internet or tap our iPhone/iPad screen, the chances of us reacting to your “offer” is decreased exponentially.

Fortunately, adding an “overlay” to your videos on YouTube solves that problem.  Unfortunately, in order for your video to be eligible for an overlay, it needs to be submitted to YouTube’s PPC Promoted Video’s program.  This is where you bid on search terms (in much the same manner online marketers do within Google).  So while the overlay itself doesn’t cost any money, you are committing yourself to some level of advertising cost by submitting your video to their Promoted Video program in order to activate overlays on your video.   

At Outskirts Press, we are just starting to experiment with actively using video for the promotion of our company (we’ve been doing it passively for a number of years).  As we watch the results, and the costs, we will better be able to determine whether this is a marketing option we want to offer for our authors and their book videos as well…

The YouTube Branded Channel for Self Publishing

With my last post I mentioned how productive September was for our social networking tactics. I started with YouTube and I’ll continue with that topic for this post although I first wanted to mention that my general recognition of our strides in the social networking realm also included some improvements we’ve made to our blog and toward our efforts to attract more followers on Twitter. And I’ll discuss those in the coming posts, too.

But back to YouTube, and the branded channel.

As you can see from the screen shot below, a branded channel provides a lot more control and functionality, as displayed by the buttons along the top which read, respectively:  Post Bulletin, Settings, Themes and Colors, Modules, Video and Playlists, and Branding Options. And through these six buttons, you can control many elements of the appearance and functionality of your channel.  Ours admittedly has a ways to go.  The banner for example, was not designed for the size of the banner YouTube required, so for the sake of immediacy, we took a pre-existing banner (I think the same one we used for our blog) and artificially enlarged it.  That works on a short-term basis, but the fact is that doing graphic manipulation like that “stretches” our logo and causes the whole thing to look just a little bit fuzzy.  We also have an opportunity with the background that we’re currently not taking advantage of, so until we can devote time to do that “right” – we’re sticking with a “blue” background. At least it comes close to matching our color scheme.


Much of the additional functionality is largely the same as a “normal” YouTube channel. The spotlight video box plays a pre-selected video, and new videos are listed in chronological order in which they are uploaded.  Not shown in the screen shot is a branded advertising box the “branded channel” affords us along the left-hand column lower down on the page.  

Across the bottom of the video that is playing in this screen shot is a reference to the promotion we were running in September (when this screen shot was taken). This one is for 30 free books, which was our September promotion for the Diamond publishing package.   This is called an “advertising overlay” and I’ll talk about this next time.

If you don’t yet have a channel on YouTube, you should start one to promote yourself, your company, your book, or whatever. And then, see if you can get a Branded Channel.  I’m not personally familiar with how that happened for us, but I think it was the result of Google recognizing how much we spend on advertising and setting it up for us, either out of a) customer courtesy or b) their desire to get us to spend more.

What is Adsensiphobia?

September has been a productive month on the social networking side of things, with the introduction of our branded channel on YouTube. It’s still underway, and elements are still being tweaked, but here it is as it stands currently, nonetheless:

The advantage of having a “branded” YouTube channel–as opposed to a “normal” YouTube channel– is that Google (the company that owns YouTube) provides some controls and filters to more precisely control how visitors and subscribers interact with your channel.  For example, you can turn “off” the advertisement that appears in the upper right hand corner.  It’s currently “on” for us because it apparently needs to be “on” in order to activate advertising “overlays” which we have in conjunction with sponsored YouTube videos;  and I’ll talk more about YouTube overlays and sponsored YouTube videos in a future post.

In addition to the controls and the additional graphic “skins” one can add to a branded YouTube channel, one of the other advantages is the ability to turn “off” that advertising. Why would someone want to turn off the advertising, or even care?  Well, when it’s an ad for Doritos, I don’t care so much. But when it’s an add for one of our competitors, it’s not so great.  This concern refers back to a posting I wrote a while ago, introducing a term I coined “Adsensiphobia.”

Adsensiphobia is experienced by marketing people when they are faced with the dilemma of directing potential customers to a website on which some of their competitors may be advertising (either via banner ads or contextual  text ads in a Google AdSense box).  Free PR distribution services are notorious for this, as are MySpace, YouTube, and many other “Web 2.0” websites.   I fear a day will come when Twitter decides it needs to monetize its traffic via AdSense, as well.  

Ultimately, however, altering your marketing initiatives due to adsensiphobia is self-defeating and, in the long run, pointless. Thanks to XML, even distributing your press release through paid distribution services like PRWeb doesn’t protect you, since some AdSense-specific websites exist solely to pick-up the XML feed from PRWeb AND display contextual AdSense links (which probably include links to your competitors).  If your book or company has proven to be profitable for AdSense advertisers, there is no getting around it; and by refraining from distributing to every possible outlet solely because of adsensiphobia, you are really only shooting yourself in the foot.

If you are marketing a company and experiencing adsensiphobia, ask yourself this… is it realistic to believe that your potential customers have never heard of your competitors?   People don’t drink Perrier because they are unaware of tap water. They drink Perrier because Perrier has established its value to its customers.  At the same time, does Perrier slap stickers for Evian on their trucks? No.