Time to consider this social network for engagement and search.
Google’s social network, Google+, has been criticized for being a “ghost town,” lacking the activity of other social sites. Its growth in recent months, though, tells a different story. With more than 343 million users, Google+ is now the second largest network and growing fast. Google+ isn’t actually a traditional social network; rather it’s a “social blanket” overlaying all of Google’s products – Search, Drive, YouTube, Google Local and Gmail. The importance of this distinction cannot be overstated, especially where search marketing is concerned. When people search for your business on Google, they can get information from your Google+ page. When your followers search, content you’ve shared may appear in their results.
1 Create a Business Page
Google+ business pages are similar to Facebook pages and are the principal way businesses interact on the social network. When setting up your page, pick a relevant category, such as “Local Business or Place” and complete your entire profile on the “About” page. This will give visitors deeper insight into your company, products and services.
2 Connect with Others
Use the keyword search to find and connect with others who share your company’s interests. Doing so means more people will see, and potentially share, your content. Google factors social sharing into its search algorithm, which can have bearing on your search rank. Be proactive and initiate connection by commenting, giving 1+ ratings, and sharing others’ content. Also, connect your Google+ page to your website by embedding the badge Google+ provides.
3 Post Quality Content
Post useful and relevant content regularly, at least once every other day, to keep followers engaged. Each post appears in your followers’ streams and provides them with an opportunity to interact with your company. Ideally, you’ll want to share content that originates on your website. This creates a back link that Google factors into its search algorithm. It can also result in more traffic from people who see the post and click the link. In choosing content, focus on the needs and interests of your target followers. More “editorial” and less “advertorial” is the order of the day. Also, include visual content – photos and videos – as those tend to incite the most response.
4 Use Google+ Hangouts
Google+ Hangouts enable you to host a video chat with up to nine people. It has become one of the platform’s most popular features. Two ways Hangouts can serve business interests include customer appreciation events and customer feedback sessions. Another feature called “Hangout on Air” allows businesses to live-stream and record Hangouts, which can then be made public via Google+ or YouTube.
5 Create Audience Circles
Google+ Circles enable users to segment followers by geography, gender, age or whatever criteria you define. When posting content, choose circles that have the most interest in the topic. They are more apt to contain people who are likely to respond to your message. The platform’s growing popularity, positive effect on search returns and ability to directly connect businesses with their customers and prospects make Google+ an increasingly important social network for businesses.
Paul Chaney is the author of four books on the topics of business blogging, social media and social commerce. He is also a long-time blogger and freelance writer.