Google+ has over a billion registered users and currently 359 million of them are active. That’s one HUGE captivated market if you’re savvy enough to use it. Couple that with the user friendly nature of Google+, their easy to use business applications AND their magical effect in the search engine rankings you need to start seriously thinking about using Google+ as a marketing tool that’s effective but economical.
Google+ can seem like a vast and overwhelming arena so here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Google+ business account without having the get a degree in online marketing.
Set up a profile for your business, but also a personal profile. Use them in tandem so that your business is transparent and people can see who is behind the company. Both your personal profile and your business profile need to work round the same goals of presenting a company image or personal brand that has a positive impact on your company image.
One of the best companies that achieve this is Arc Reactions and David Still. Their pages are a common theme of design, marketing, the company and what they can achieve, but still present relevant information that is interesting and engaging. Flicking between the two you can see how each builds up the other and presents a company dedicated to excellence.
Being involved with good, quality content regularly on Google+ is the one of the best tips to make it work well for you. Google+ has many faces and it’s a good idea to have a presence on all of them. You need to be active in plus1’ing posts, commenting etc but also to put up posts of your own. Consider it like a blog or commentary on what is going on professionally. Post pictures and write it as a mini blog, or link it to your blogger account and set it up to post your blogs automatically. One of Google+’s strengths is the fact that all text is searchable – great for incoming leads and AMAZING for SEO.
Google+ also has communities you can become involved in. There are a multitude of communities to become a part of but make sure you select one that you can be really active and useful in and use them as an effective networking tool. By commenting, posting, plus1’ing and becoming an invaluable resource with credibility you set up a living company image that draws people in. If they have a problem, they know where to go and they’re happy to reach out to you.
Go Round in Circles
Google+ uses it’s ‘circles’ as a way for you to be identified with people of the same interests. Most of your networking needs to be done on your personal profile, but reach out with your circle and draw them in. The community is smaller on Google+ and used by more professionals so the likelihood is that you will network on a more professional level. After they have taken the time to make a personal profile, a business profile and keep it alive, the investment in time alone means that it will used as a serious business tool with some ROI. It’s where like-minded people meet.
There are a wealth of metrics on Google+. Nothing seems to have escaped its super meticulous eye and they seem to have run with a, ‘If it moves – measure it, if it doesn’t move – measure it till it does!’ The metrics are comprehensive to say the least but the presentation takes a little getting used to. You can watch ‘trending’ articles and conversations with #conversationoptimization, and you can see who are the movers and shakers in your industry with the ‘Ripples’ option. This option allows you to see who is worth watching, joining or networking with to make the best use of you networking. There are lots more options to choose from and well worth getting used to.
Some of the metrics are not easily presented and may take a while for you to work out what they mean to your online marketing or how to apply them to business applications, but persevere. Keeping up on what Google+ considers important is a good way to see where the market is going. They have a HUGE range of data to draw from and these are the people that know.
Google hang out is a great application that allows you to connect to people for free – I can hear you saying now, ‘And…????’ That in itself is not an amazing concept, but the fact that you can put yourself on air to the whole world via ‘HangOuts on Air’ is. It’s like a webcast without the hassle and gives you access to the world wide Google audience (and let’s face it – who hasn’t heard of Google?). This is a fantastic way to set yourself up as an authority and build up a following of people interested in your company. It’s a great platform to impress and engage your target users – if you can’t put on something that is of a sufficient quality to create a buzz then invite people you know to help you present the session. It will all lead to you being viewed as an authority in your industry.
Use Google+ to help you build excitement about your hangout with their ‘create and event’ feature. Get those in your circles to share, invite personally those you think may be interested and post on communities. When you have something to offer – don’t be afraid to offer it! And get everyone else to join in!
Another effective way to engage people is to mention them in your posts. Reply to their questions, tag them in posts you think may interest them and recommend them. It’s easy to do, just put a + symbol and select their names from a drop down list. By becoming a resource to them you will engage them in your company and build customer loyalty and authority.
Using Hashtags is another way to increase your company presence in a big way. In Sept 2013 Google announced it was now fully searchable so by using one or two hashtags in a post will increase your visability. Be clever with your choice of hashtags, create your own or make multiple posts to include a range of hashtags – just don’t #cram a #Load of #Hashtags #into one #article or it #getsannoying! Get the picture?
Google has put a lot of thought and effort into making Google+ a serious business centric tool. By taking a little time to use it and keep your presence strong your company image will grow and become a true brand. The sooner you add Google+ to your online marketing, the sooner your goals will become a reality. Where business is concerned – Google truly is your friend.