Small Business Guide to Finding Locals on Google+

My dad is a plumber and starting up his own plumbing business in Huntington Beach, California.

He’d like to use his Google+ page to promote his business, but he’s not sure if his target market is there.
He also doesn’t know how to find them.

So how can he find and connect with locals?  And how can he best use his time in Google+?

First, let’s address the problems of finding people based on location:

The Problem of  Finding People by Location

There isn’t a surefire way to find out where people are living simply by doing a city search in Google.  Sometimes people list their location in their about page, but not always. Many people share a variety of places they have lived, and it’s not always clear where they live now.

Sometimes I’ll notice that Google will add a blue marker on the location where the person is currently living, but it’s not always there. Besides, this strategy of looking at everyone’s “about” page is not the best use of time.

So where do you begin finding and circling locals?

Here are a 3 simple ways:

1. Circle people who “check-in” at places in your city (and surrounding area)

One quick way to find active people on Google+ is to use the following query:

site:plus.google.com “check-ins” your city

You’ll probably find a long list of people in Google+ that recently visited businesses and organizations in your city.  And, as Andrew Shotland, points out in a related post, you can narrow down your organic results to find more active people on Google+ by refining your search results by time-range.

2. Circle people who circled city-based pages near you

Look for city-based pages in Google+ and begin circling everyone who circled that page.  Don’t just search for your own city, search for cities near you, too. I did a quick check to see what local-based pages for Huntington Beach existed and found this list:

3. Circle people that “check-in” at specific places near you in Google+

Look at who is checking-into your local coffee shop, store, or restaurant based on their check-ins. If your target demographic is young families, look to see who is checking into local bounce houses or kid-friendly events. Search for popular businesses where your demographic visits.  In this example, I was curious who was checking into Starbucks recently in Huntington Beach:

If you can’t think of poplar places in your city, use Yelp to find out where people visit and then search for those places in Google+

I hope some of these strategies help you find your target demographic on Google+.

Recommended Reading

Thanks for stopping by and reading. You can get updates to this blog by email and by circling our Google+ page.

2 Comments on "Small Business Guide to Finding Locals on Google+"

  1. Clark Taylor says:

    Nice post. Not much to add except using the Post Near You feature on the Google+ mobile app is also useful. I guess this is similar to searching for check-ins near you? Also, just doing a general search of Google+ posts using surrounding city names will generally help identify locals posting stuff about their city even if they don’t check in.

Got something to say? Go for it!