For whatever reason, businesses have been historically reluctant to adopt Google+ fully. Perhaps it was their early restrictions on businesses getting profiles, or the overwhelming ubiquity of Facebook for businesses, but whatever the reason for the slow start, Google+ finally seems to be entering the main stream.

Why should you have a Google+ profile for your small business? For one thing, it’s a great content marketing tool that can point more traffic back to your website. For another, Google’s seems to prioritize Google+ posts and profiles in search results (which should come as no surprise). Finally, Google+ is beautiful. After spending some time on other social platforms, Google+ feels like a breath of fresh air with its abundant white space and smooth animations (no offense, Facebook).

When you’re ready to set up your profile, the process itself is pretty self-explanatory. You plug the information about yourself or your business into the various fields, select your privacy settings, etc., and you’re pretty much ready to go. Today we’ll talk about making the most of the graphic elements that can really make or break the overall feel of your profile.

Element: Cover Photo
Size: 960 x 540px
Best Practices: Much like your Facebook Cover Photo, this area should be used to set a mood for your page or say something about your brand outside of your name and logo. As far as the actual image you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind that might not be immediately apparently, but can save you a lot of frustration.

First, be aware that your cover photo will show up in two different sizes. When someone first views your profile, it will pop up showing only about the bottom 1/5th of your cover photo image. So make sure that you choose something that is still meaningful when all you can see is the bottom. Once your page is open, users can scroll up and down, so you’ll also want to make sure that your image fills the (enormous) space provided as well.

Initial size: 

Full size:

Another thing to keep in mind is that Google+ adds a transparent dark grey gradient to the bottom of cover photos so that the text describing you or your business can be read more easily. So make sure your image still translates with this element over it.

Element: Profile Photo
Size: 250 x 250px (120 x 120px visible)
Best Practices: Because this image is a circle, make sure the image you choose is at least 250px square to begin with. The actual visible portion will be 120 x 120. If you are creating this profile for a business, this a great place for your logo on a solid background. Make sure the color of the logo, the background, and your cover photo look good together. I.e., if your logo is red, choose a cover photo that is not predominantly red, because the chances of the reds being exactly the same color are slim. Add a little interest by choosing a color that is more of a contrast.

If you’re setting up a personal profile, or if a photo of a person best represents your business, consider using a black and white headshot. Because Google+ does not put a white border around profile photos like Facebook does, this can be a good way to set your two images apart.

Have you tried Google+ for your business already? We’d love to hear how you think this platform stacks up against other social media options as a marketing tool – leave a comment below or on the Pagemodo Google+ page!

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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