For today’s businesses, it seems there are more social networks to keep track of each day.
While it’s helpful to find ways in streamlining the management of your many channels, it’s also important to keep your strategy for each platform distinct, as each attracts a different kind of audience with different expectations.
Brandwatch’s recent infographic, the Guide to Perfect Social Network Posting, explored this etiquette across social networks. Today, we’ll dig deeper into just one network, Google+, for the top 3 ways to make the most of this increasingly powerful and prevalent platform.
1. Optimize Your Google+ Presence for Search
Google is at the center of all Google products, and if you play your cards right on Google+, your brand should see a big uptick in traffic and conversions.
The two main steps:
Complete your Google+ business page.
I know, I know, it’s a little laborious, but it’s important that you really flesh out every aspect of your business page for the sake of both customers and Google’s crawlers.
A catchy tagline is a plus, as is an introduction that really tells your story. You’ll want to include keywords in both, but always privilege naturalness rather than quantity, as Google frowns upon keyword stuffing.
Don’t skimp on contact information or in providing details for your other social networks; you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to connect with you however they feel most comfortable, and Google will reward you in search results when you’ve got links to other rich profiles.
Here’s an in-depth guide with more tips on setting up your page.
Sign up for Google Local.
Do us a favor: head to Google and type “coffee shops + [your city/town name]” into the search box. Notice something?
The coffee shops you see featured at the top of the search results all have Google Local pages. Local allows businesses to be featured higher in search results, while also providing a much more engaging search experience. Local listings also are designed to integrate smoothly with your Google+ Business Page, but you do still need to sign up for the service.
2. Integrate Your Web Presence
Linking the various arms of your web presence to your G+ page will get you even more recommendations for your site in Google search and will also help to grow your audience on Google+.
Add a G+ badge and button to your website.
Doing so will help users easily find you on G+, where they can further engage with your brand. Likewise, adding a G+ button to any and all of the content you feature on your site will make it easy for followers to engage with your great content and spread the word.
Connect your YouTube account.
YouTube is now the second largest search engine. Integrate a video marketing strategy with various G+ tools like Hangouts on Air, which immediately stream and archive to YouTube, and you’ll give your followers a rich media experience and do wonders for your SEO.
Set up Google+ Direct.
To find your Google+ page, it used to be that searchers had to enter something like, “[your business name] Google plus.” With direct connect, all they have to is add a “+” before your name (e.g. “+Starbucks”) and they’ll be taken right to your Google+ page.
The less searching and clicking potential followers and customers have to do, the more likely they’ll actually get to the right place and engage at a deeper level.
3. Engage Your Audience Using Google’s Unique Tools
Once you’ve got your account set up and you’ve started to produce a steady stream of excellent content, it’s important not only to get that content into the right hands, but to really get your audience motivated to act.
While this is of course a must on any social media platform, Google+ offers a few unique tools that are really worth mastering.
Google Circles allows you to easily separate your followers into distinct groups, which in turn makes it easier to direct content only to the most relevant audience.
Cadbury, for example, has circles for each of its products. In contrast, a smaller crafts seller might have one circle for customers who might like updates about products, another for fellow crafters and another for novices who like how-to tips.
Circles are also a great place to network. By organizing your contacts, you can quickly drop in on contacts within various groups to warm up connections either on a consistent basis or in the run-up to a launch or media campaign they might be interested in.
Google Communities are just what you’d think: communities of Google+ users gathering to discuss topics of mutual interest. Joining a community can be a great relationship and expertise-building strategy, and a fantastic way to meet key influencers within your industry.
Create your own community and you’ll have a media platform for news about your site and a way to generate consistent excitement about your business.
Including a call to action (CTA) in all of your social media and content posts is just 101 of content marketing. Interactive posts makes that even easier by including that CTA automatically for you in your G+ posts.
Including keyword hashtags in your posts is a great way to make sure your content is found. Write a post starring a “what’s hot topic” and G+ will automatically add the hashtag for you, with the other obvious benefit that you’ll be covering a topic with which people are actively engaging.
Google Hangouts are a great way to talk directly with your following, whether you use them to do how-to videos, run promotions or troubleshoot customer issues.
With your connected YouTube account, your Google Hangout on Air will stream live and be archived on YouTube for other users to find further down the line, allowing you to get double the work out of a single piece of content.
As the second largest social media platform, with over 343 million users, Google+’s influence is growing every day. That, along with a wide range of powerful engagement, SEO and promotional tools, makes it a must for any business.