When Google announced that they would be releasing a new social media platform in June 2011, people started to pay attention. Some were weary of the idea, with the memory of Google Buzz’s flop still fresh in their minds. However, the invite-only approach to Google+ created an insane demand for invitations, making people eager for their chance to join.
Today Google+ is open to anyone and with over 500 million registered users (359 million of whom are active), it the second-largest social networking site after Facebook. Looking at sheer numbers alone, Google+ is one of the “Big 3” of social networking, yet it is the last to be implemented into marketing plans. But after surpassing Twitter in number of users in January, it’s time that businesses take Google+ seriously.
The first thing that people must understand before diving into Google+ is simple: Google+ is not Twitter or Facebook so it does not have the same functionalities and should not be approached in the same manner. Each platform has its own unique benefits so in order to be successful on Google+ users must know how to play to its benefits and original qualities. Google+ communities have a unique way of interacting with one another – community is a major part of the platform, evident in the active use of “circles.” Create circles specific to your company’s industry, interest, and target audience then add and interact with the appropriate individuals. Keep the audience in each circle in mind and tailor your content to be useful or beneficial to each group.
The second thing that people need to know about Google+ seems like a no-brainer: Google+ is a Google product. While this fact may seem obvious, most people don’t know why this is so important. Google Search is by far the most-used search engine in the world, so Google+ posts and accounts appear high in Google search results. This alone should appeal to marketers because it’s a simple, low-effort way to improve a company’s SEO.
The third thing people need to keep in mind when using Google+ for business is that content is key. As a social media sharing platform, it’s a must that the content you share is representative of your brand, mission, and industry. Shake things up and don’t be overly promotional or self-serving. Be sure to include rich media in your posts – links, photos, and videos do especially well and are shared or +1’d more often than text-only posts. The more +1’s and shares, the higher the post shows up in Google search results.
The last thing that Google+ users should take note of is the difference between business and personal accounts. A Google+ Page denotes a business while a Google+ Profile is a personal account. If you have multiple people on your marketing team that can access your company’s Google+ Page, you can make give team members admin access so they can manage or contribute to the Google+ Page from their Google+ Profiles. Multiple admins help with keeping an active presence and fresh content on your Google+ Page so which, in turn, helps grow a loyal Google+ following. Just make sure that each team member is aware of your company culture and mission so the messaging stays consistent.
Perhaps businesses have been slow to implement Google+ into their marketing plans due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of the platform and its benefits. However, with these basic Google+ tips and tricks in hand, any business should be well on its way to building a formidable Google+ presence. Remember, the best marketing plans are comprehensive while open to and keen on including social media beyond just Facebook and Twitter.