Google Plus, while emerging late to the social network party, has clearly shown its worth and potential to businesses and brands willing to test the marketing waters.
Frequently referred to as a “ghost town,” Google+ has proven the naysayers wrong by edging out the competition to stand as the second largest social platform in the world.
Google+ now boasts 359 million monthly active users, an increase of 33 percent since June 2012.
So what is the reason behind this rocket-fueled growth?
While it doesn’t hurt to be the social network affiliated with the worlds largest and most powerful search engine, many other factors come into play.
A highly engaged early adopter crowd that continues to evangelize its power, a platform firmly attuned to consumer demand, and features that continue to evolve to exceed user expectations and meet demand.
As you build out your online presence, adding Google+ is a key component to your marketing strategy.
Not only will it assist in improving website and blog traffic flow, but will also allow you to dominate your personal brand using Google Plus as the fuel!
1. Maximize Your Profile Potential
As with any social site, making the most of your Google+ profile is an important first step when getting started.
Every field within your Google+ profile is an opportunity to connect with your target audience. Take the time to complete every bit of it.
A few ways to optimize your profile:
- Write your summary using information about you and your business that will connect with those looking for your product or service. Make sure this includes your passion and hobbies that fall outside of your “job.” Conversations happen when you share interesting facts and tidbits about yourself.
- A professional profile image – Your profile image should be considered a key element to your personal brand. For this reason, it is extremely important that you create consistency from one network to the next by using the same high-quality professional headshot.
- Use relevant keywords – Do you know what search terms people are using when looking for your business? Google is eager to tell your story, but without your keywords you could create a situation where consumers have to hunt and peck to find you.
- Get local – As you craft your summary, remember to add your industry specific keywords as well as your location based keywords including city and state.
2. Write Great Content
While this should go without saying, great content should always be at the core of your social media and marketing strategy.
Google+ will allow you to share the wealth of information you have gained over the years, and will work to establish you as a thought leader within your field. Great content can make the difference between growing your Google+ presence and completely stagnating it.
3. Manage Your Contacts
Google+ Circles is a special feature that allows you to manage contacts based on interest.
Filtering your circles creates better targeting where you are able to share the right content with the right audience.
By organizing a circle of potential customers, you can ward off a lot of the noise that takes place in social networks.
4. Join Niche Specific Communities
Google+ communities, similar to Facebook groups are a way to connect with like-minded individuals. Whether it is a community specific to your industry or your favorite hobby, communities let you talk about the topics that matter to you most.
Closing the Google+ Gap is a community created by Peg Fitzpatrick as a way for active Google Plussers to share best practices and successful strategies around Google+ implementation and integration into your overall social media marketing strategy.
5. Pay Attention to Your Ripples
Ripples are a Google+ feature that allows you to measure how your content is connecting with your audience.
On each post, click on the drop down menu and choose Ripples to see who is sharing your content and how far the reach on that particular post actually was.
Below are the ripples from one of my recent posts. As you can see, not only are your immediate shares able to be seen, but ones from their sphere of influence as well.
The value here is also in making personal connections with those sharing your content. Seek them out and thank them. Taking the time to reach out and connect shows how much you value those that assist in spreading your message.
6. Create a Visually-Rich Experience
From your cover photo to your post images, sharing visually appealing images is not only necessary to engagement, but a key component to optimization.
Your cover photo is also the first thing that someone will see when landing on your Google+ page, so make it consistent with your brand look and feel.
Remember: Each image you add is yet another opportunity to build upon your brand experience. A ‘wow” image will make your content more compelling and draw people towards your content.
7. Use Google+ Hangouts
If you haven’t been a part of a Google+ hangout, there’s no time like the present! They are fun, engaging and best of all they are FREE.
Similar to Skype, a hangout is an opportunity to get face-to-face with consumers and create transparency within your business. Share a new product, presentation or just chat with someone new in an attempt to better get to know who they are what value you might be able to add to their business.
And just because I can’t stop talking about this topic, I’m offering a BONUS tip!
Display Your Google Plus Badge
Grab the code and easily add the “+1” button to your website or blog.
The Google+ Developers platform where you can create custom code to display your badge within a widget on your WordPress blog or anywhere on your website.