A Google Plus Strategy: the who, what, why and how of G+
May 21, 2014
Google Plus should not be ignored in your social media plan.
Google has turned G+ into the hub for their other services – such as Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Places, Hangouts, Communities… the list goes on. It has also been said that Google+ will become even more central to Google’s future, allowing Google to gather more and more information on users. In short, to realise results on Google Search, you do need to include Google+ into your marketing mix.
Google Plus User Information
Google Plus may not initially appear to have an active large following, with people either loving or hating Google+. However, there is data about users of Google+ that may shed some light on who uses the service. According to ExpandedRamblings.com it’s estimated that there are 300 million Google+users* per month (compared to Facebook’s 1.2 Billion per month. Twitter has an estimated 243 million users per month.)
*Google however says they have 540 Million Active users per month.
What’s more important are who these users are. You can see in the following graphic that there are more Google+ users than Pinterest users! This infographic highlights US users for each Social Network, but we can say with a good amount of confidence, that this pattern would be repeated throughout the world. (Based on sample size of 60,000 US adults 18+).
Source: Jan 2014 MarketingPilgrim.com :
For a further breakdown of what industries Google+ users work in, you may find this article useful. Essentially Google+ is popular with people who work with computers and senior decision makers. Those who use Google Plus the least, work in financial services and are over the age of 55.
The Benefits of Google Plus
Even if you don’t fully appreciate Google+ as a personal user there are some major benefits if you are business using the service:
- SEO purposes: Posts on Google+ will show up in SEO results so sharing your blog posts here is important.
- By regularly posting on Google+ you are helping your search ranking. Any original content that you share will be indexed by Google and in turn your search ranking will improve. (Ideally this means content YOU created such as blog posts, images, hangouts, updates etc)
- Building relationships with industry influencers (who may have a large following) to help extend your reach.
- Targeted content: If you have content that would be relevant for only some of your Followers you can send content just to them.
- Hangouts: a group conversation for up to 10 people (like Skype but for more than 2 people). Great for running informational sessions with clients or meetings with staff, interviewing happy clients etc. It will then be posted to your YouTube account. They have some fun features that some may appreciate – adding sunglasses and hats etc
- Google+ is less cluttered than Facebook and Twitter, which tends to be more professional and targeted.
16 Google Plus Actions
- Make sure profile looks great and is up to date – include maps and photos of your business and products.
- Ensure you have Google Authorship set up.
- Add the Google+ badge to your website and blog.
- Share Blog Posts on Google+.
- Share content consistently and regularly. Popular content includes great photos, inspiring videos, charts and infographics. Other ideas are e.g a weekly tip, secret recipes, insider information (only found on G+), gifts and offers.
- Ask questions, thank commenters, run polls
- “+1” other people’s content.
- Commenting is key! Insightful comments are vital. These can be more interesting than the content itself. They need to be in depth add to the content and not be pushy of own content.
- Review what competitors are doing, and see if you can incorporate their ideas.
- Invite people to join Google Plus via email and other channels. Add your Google+ profile link to correspondence.
- Share other people’s content to your Circles that your Followers will find interesting.
- Spend time building Circles, connecting with new people and finding influencers to follow (and comment on their posts)
- Create great circles and share them. For example if you had a Circle that contained top scientists around the world and then you shared that Circle you would instantly be looked at as been a thought leader. (But only share if it is truly worthwhile, otherwise it’s considered more like spam.)
- Run a Hangout on a regular basis – possibly once a month. Develop a reputation as being engaging, approachable and knowledgeable.
- Develop a communities page yourself or join existing communities and spend time participating.
- Help people and answer questions. Similar to Twitter – if someone has a question that you can answer, answer it. This raise your profile as an expert.
A Google Plus Strategy for Beginners
- Profile is fully updated, engaging images, all business contact information is correct.
- Set up Google Authorship.
- Add Google+ Badge to blog and website.
- Set up Google Places (for SEO purposes).
To utilise Google Plus you will need to spend 2 – 2 ½ hours per week consistently doing the following:
10 mins Share blog posts on Google+, there is value in sharing all the text of your blog and include the link to the blog post.
30 mins Comment on other peoples’ content. Make sure the comments are insightful and in depth (Similar to how you would comment on LinkedIn). Answer questions.
10 mins ‘+1’ Content. Say no more!
30 mins Share original content as much as possible – photos, videos etc
10 mins Find people to follow, invite others to follow you – via email and other social networks.
10 mins Create great Circles and then share them when you think they will have the desired impact (may take some time to develop). Or spend this time looking at competitors and assessing what they are doing.
20 mins Participate in Communities – set up, moderate or contribute.
30 mins Run a Hangout (monthly) – Ideas of what to do include: talking with collaborators, clients, inspiring business people, run an informational session.