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GoogleApps_Dec22_CWhen it comes to your Internet presence, there are about a million and one things you can be doing to solidify and grow. The problem is many companies just stop at using a social media platform and wonder why it isn’t working. The key is you need to be active in more than just social media. One great place to spread your brand is on forums. It can be tough to pick which ones, so why not try something like Google Help Forums. Help users get the most out of their products while contributing and growing your reputation.

Google’s Help Forums are an online community dedicated to helping Google users find answers to their Google related questions. Thanks to a recent update some contributors are now recognized with a green Top Contributor badge on the site. This green badge indicates that the person who responded to a post is an expert, or at the very least is known to provide quality answers. Contributing to a forum like this is a great way to grow your online presence.

How could this help my company?
The Google Help Forums are an online community where users post questions they have regarding any of Google’s products or services. As this is a community any user can provide the answers. If you have an account and provide quality responses to questions, users will, over time, come to see you as an expert.

Because of the generally curious nature of many netizens, they will eventually click on your profile to learn more about you, gaining you exposure. If you have a website, profile links or a description of your company, users can learn more about you and your company, giving you even more exposure. While this likely won’t lead to an increase in sales anytime soon, it will lead to your name being seen, which increases the likelihood of people remembering you next time they need a service you offer. As they already see you as an expert they are more likely to choose you over a competitor.

How do I become a contributor?
You can just go to the Google Help Forums and start answering user questions. However, this is an ineffective way to build exposure. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Sign up for a Google+ account and link it to your website, Facebook, blog, etc.
  2. Go to the main Help Forum website and look at all the products. You should first focus on the products you currently use.
  3. Hover your mouse over a product you use and click Community.
  4. You’ll be taken to the Group page where users post their questions. If you are committed to helping, it would be a great idea to join the group.
  5. Click Join Group and select a Nickname, and be sure to link to your Google+ profile. This will ensure that every time you post, people who view the post can click on your name to view your profile.

Once you have joined a few groups – we suggest joining just one or two groups to begin with – it’s a good idea to look through the posts on the forum to see what kind of questions users are asking and how other users have answered them. If you see a Top Contributor add them to your network and follow them to see how they answer questions.

From here, try to find a post you can answer. As soon as you respond you’re considered to be a contributor.

How do I become a Top Contributor?
Becoming a Top Contributor takes time and effort. You will need to contribute to the forum on a nearly daily basis and use the products you’re writing about. You don’t have to be a certified expert on any products, just someone who uses some of Google’s products (which is nearly everyone) and is willing to help.

By participating in the forums, reading other posts that have been answered and using the products, you will start to increase your knowledge and help much more. Once you feel you have a solid understanding of the product and have been a frequent contributor (nearly every day) for at least four months, you can apply to become a Top Contributor. To do this you can navigate to the Top Contributors page, click Apply Now and fill out the form. Be sure to link to your profile. If you are accepted you will be given the rank of Rising Star and will eventually be made into a Top Contributor.

The key here is that it will take time and effort to become a part of this program. Put in the effort though and you could see both you and your company’s exposure grow, and who knows, you may even pick up a few clients along the way.

If you would like to learn more about how Google’s products can help your company grow please contact us, we can help.

Published on 24th December 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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