The biggest concern among people who run a Google+ profile or business page is how to grow the page’s following. For so many though, much of what is required takes too much time away from other work duties, or is often not perceived as important to begin with.
The first thing I usually recommend to anyone who wants to build their G+ page following is to devote one small segment of each day or week toward activities that will earn brand attention and notoriety over a long period of time. This could be a half hour a day or more, or an hour every other day. Personally I make social media activity a part of my daily workflow. I slip it in periodically but don’t let it dominate. That’s the only way to really get a feel for it, what works and what doesn’t time-wise.
Let me repeat though that you have to expect the work of building a community to take a long period of time. Any marketer should remember this as he or she works on their Pinterest page, Twitter profile, Linkedin page or Facebook wall. Everybody wants to be a “power user,” (or at least know one who can help get them more attention) but not too many people are able for whatever reason to do the work required to get there. The biggest factors in all that work are strong effort, consistently delivered, over a long period of time.
This type of idea can be boiled down to one very simplified equation:
Action A + Action B + Action C x large length of time = ongoing increase in social media sway/pull
So you ask, what are Actions A, B, C etc. on Google+? There are quite a few. You don’t need to do every single one of them necessarily. I actually feel you should dive in and determine them for yourself. That’s the best way to really learn something; go through the hard work of making mistakes and small improvements, as well as teaching others what you’ve learned. Building genuine expertise also means that other people told you what they know along the way. That’s what I’m doing right now in fact.
How’s the conversation going?
Much of everything you do to build your Google+ page or profile will come from the standpoint of wanting to interact with others. That has to be the heart of everything you do. It takes form in many ways, from how you introduce an article or other piece of content you are sharing, to the thoughtful responses you give to a friend’s post, to the interaction you have with the responders of your own posts. There is simply no way around it. If you want to be seen and heard in an online community, you had better be social, and do it with conviction. Speak to people with the realization that you will be speaking to them again. If they show interest in you, follow them. It may feel futile in the beginning, but if you open yourself and communicate, it won’t be that long before you have a real network of folks who want to see what you are putting on your profile.
Make others happy
Those who really think intently about how to expand their community are wondering what they can do to make others happy. Maybe you want to make people happy by being that person who brings the very latest news about what is happening in politics, sports, entertainment or some other subject to your friends. If you stay strong and are consistent, it won’t be too long before many people look to you for this kind of news.
Some people realize that one great way of making people happy (and building a community) is by creating content that can only be found on G+ and not on their other profiles or blogs. I have seen authors who create specially edited gadget review videos, artistic gifs or just long musings about what they are going through in life, which are only seen by their G+ followings. There aren’t too many people who do this, but those who do enjoy larger followings and ability to influence others on G+.
The required stuff
Let’s be honest. A lot of things you have to do on G+ to build a solid network feel like grunt work, but they are the bread and butter of interacting on the site. They should be worth your time, even if you will like doing some of them more than others. Here are some of the key ones:
Hangouts: Get together with several of your friends and talk about whatever subject area you are interested in. Feel free to join other hangouts. It can’t all be about you.
Badges: Make sure to get the G+ badge and button. Add them to your web site and posts.
Other Social profiles: Ask friends on Twitter, Facebook and others to add you to their circles on G+
Write about G+: This is a great way to spark discussion. It can also be the content that you create specifically for G+ that I mentioned above.
Find and Follow influencers: Google lets you see what’s hot and recommended on the left rail under the heading “Explore.” Go there. Check out the hottest posts, comment as well as speak to people.
You only get what you give
There’s one thing you’ll never be able to get around if you work on social media sites regularly. It’s an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” type of place. If you’ve been around it any length of time, you’ve probably built relationships. Go and use those relationships to help you. Have people shout your existence to the world. Do the same for them in return. Reciprocation is your best friend in these situations. Add the people that add you. Heck, add the people that don’t add you, if they’re interesting enough.
Reciprocation works in many ways. Who are you more likely to add to your circles — the person who never fails to view your posts and comment on them, or the person who hardly does so at all? That tells you a lot of what you need to know about social media right there. If someone makes you happy or helps you, it makes all the difference. Pay it forward.