You already know Google is important to your company, but as social media continues to transform business practices online, it’s no wonder that Google+ is beginning to dominate marketing trends. As the second largest social network with over 359 million active monthly users, Google + is an SEO goldmine. With more and more businesses focusing efforts on social platforms, Google+ is becoming more of a necessity than an option.
Growing exponentially at rate of 33% per year, Google+ offers more flexibility, personalization, and visibility than any other social media platform. Taking the time to build your business page now, will impact your brand presence in the future.
Google+ takes sharing to the next level by targeting posts specifically based on user behavior. This makes it easier for businesses to reach their ideal consumers. Google wants information to be found, so it uses Google+ to impact search results. If you post something about a new product you are selling, Google already knows who is interested in that type of product and is able to target them directly using your business profile.
Followers can share your company with anyone not only on Google+, but also on networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This allows for added exposure and brand awareness. Post a comment or question encouraging further engagement, and respond when people reply. Don’t miss an opportunity to let people know you are out there and that you care about what they are saying. Plus, unlike Facebook and Twitter, posts can always be edited or updated so you have added piece of mind.
Facebook and Twitter restrict Google from accessing much of their data, limiting their SEO effectiveness. Google+, on the other hand, was created to work with Google’s crawlers to boost SEO. Search for yourself. See what is being said, what keywords are used. Do the same for your competitors. Look over every aspect of the page for accuracy and consistency not only for the sake of customers, but for keywords and phrases. Be sure to think about what is attractive to your customers.
Ask yourself if it’s bragging about how great your business is, or if it is engaging prospects to take action. Social media is for attracting and driving leads to your site, once at your site, you can educate and inform them on what you have to offer. The goal is to get them interested enough to want to get more information. Don’t give it all to them in one place, give them a reason for them to keep you in their mind.
Have a catchy tagline, cover photo, and introduction that tells your story. Include keywords in both, but be natural about it, Google frowns upon keyword stuffing. You only see the first 5 words of the tagline when someone hovers over your profile, so make them count! Take advantage of visual branding with bigger cover photo opportunities. Showcase your products, company culture, or events using images to attract attention and peak interest. Animated GIFs are the most engaging type of post.
Embed links throughout various sections. Drive traffic to your website and other social media sites and be sure to link back to Google+ from them! These links will help you get found in Google searches and show your latest status update in the search. Add them in your e-mail footer and have an interactive badge allowing people to add you to their circle without having to navigate away from the page. When you add this badge to your website, an active follow widget will appear next to your search listing making it even easier to circle you.
Register for Google Local. This has replaced Google Places and is more critical than ever before. With mobile devices consuming business searches, having a defined local presence can make or break your company. Here customers can leave reviews, add photos, and write details about your business. Remember this is regardless of whether you are active on it or not. Users are prompted to leave reviews if they search for you on Google, so make sure you give them a positive impression.
Create a strategy and measure whether or not you are reaching it. Google+ has greatly impacted the nature of content marketing. Remember different strategies target different audiences, so always keep the consumer in mind and don’t be afraid to take diverse approaches. Add value and entertain your audience so that they want to come back for more and then keep it fresh and up to date so that they have a reason to.
Use Circles to separate followers into distinct groups, target relevant content, or launch personalized campaigns. Network with followers and give them a motive to connect with you.
In Communities you can discuss topics of mutual interest, build relationships, share expertise, and meet key influencers in your industry. You can even create your own community to generate consistent excitement and news about your business.
With Hangouts you can talk directly with your following and share videos, promotions, instructions or even troubleshoot customer issues. By connecting Hangouts with your YouTube account, content can be archived for future viewing. This is a free alternative to investing in online meeting software or hosting a webinar. While only 10 participants can actively participate at a time, you can stream the video to an unlimited number of viewers using YouTube. Use it for private meetings, interviews, or small discussions.
Google+ Authorship creates a visual tie between you and the content you publish. By claiming your authorship, readers can identify your content at a glance, helping you to build authority and influence. This also enhances your searchability and positions your company as a thought leader in the industry.
Google+ Dashboard allows you to chart and analyze your traffic, growth, and engagement all in one place. In addition to that, they have many add-ons and extensions for other measures you might need.
Google+ offers many ways to interact with the community and build a following. Take advantage of them to improve your search rankings and track user engagement. If you make it worthwhile for followers, it will be worthwhile for your business.
~ Written by Marketing Consultant Christine Herrick. Follow her @cherrick08 or connect at www.linkedin.com/in/christineherrick ~