When it was first launched, Google Plus was a shiny new toy many were clamoring to play with. Excitement for the social platform quickly waned as critics predicted its demise while Facebook’s title as market leader seemed secure.
While G+ can’t even compete with Facebook’s user base, recent data show that it continues to outpace Twitter as the world’s second-largest social platform with about 359 million active users as of 2013.
Businesses should sit up and take notice. Not only are consumers who may be interested in their products and services active on the platform, but the indirect benefits of growing a network and having it interact with content you have shared are many.
Using Google Plus for business is easy, and we have some simple tips to help you make the most of your business page.
Before you start using Google Plus for business, you should define what success means for you on the platform. That means outlining what your goals are and how you will achieve them. There really isn’t a right and wrong here. Success is different for all people and businesses. Perhaps you already have a social media strategy in place?
The important thing here is that you know what success will look like. Is it building a following and getting your brand exposure? Will you measure success by the volume of engagement you have on the platform? Or will it be when you actually get a new customer as a result of using Google Plus?
Whatever it is, define it, write it down, and outline a plan to achieve it.
Using Google Plus for business means you have to get people to follow you first. There are several ways you can go about doing this.
I really like this one because if you do it right, you can grow a following in no time with a little bit of footwork. Circle sharing is the practice of grouping contacts into a circle in your account and then sharing it with whatever followers you already have.
Assuming you already have a few followers, create a circle that they would want to add to their accounts. If you, as a business, are at all relevant to the circle you’ve created (and you should make sure that you are), add yourself to the circle and share it.
The idea here is that people will see the circle of people or companies (or both), find it interesting or useful, and then add them all at once to their own accounts. Once they have added the circle (and your business), anything you post will begin showing up in their feeds.
When you build circles, craft them carefully. Don’t just mash a bunch of profiles and business pages together. Make them into a theme and name it accordingly. Make sure there is a common thread among all the accounts you have put into the circle. That way when you go to share it, you can describe it easily, and those for whom the circle is relevant will find it useful.
For instance, if you are a video game developer and you want to grow your following, you could create a circle of famous gamers and game developers to share. You could name it something clever, add your own company to it and then share it with your network. If people like it enough, they will add it to their own accounts and also share it with their own networks.
Another good way to grow your following is to share good content. Put some effort into your activities on Google Plus, and don’t just do the bare minimum of sharing others’ content or sharing links to other websites. Those things are fine to do, but if you really want people to be interested and interact with your brand, you have to be original, entertaining, useful and/or fun to follow. Examples of good content to share are:
- Infographics that you’ve made (hint: come up with your own data and you can make one here)
- Memes: people love Internet memes. Google the term and you can get a lot of ideas on what you could do. Make it relevant to who you want to attract to your business.
- Blog posts: write your own blog posts and share links to them on your account.
- Video: share useful or entertaining videos as your brand.
For the most part, try not to just go through the motions. Think hard about what is relevant to your target market, and share things that resonate with them.
Advertising Your Presence
People may not search you out on G+, but if you promote your business page in places where customers are already seeing you, then they can find you there. Place links to your Plus page in email signatures, on your website, on other social profiles or on printed materials.
You’ll find that by simply participating on Google Plus, your following will begin to grow. Comment on things others have posted, follow other users and businesses, add people to your account and interact in any other way you can think of.
This gets your brand exposure, and people who see the brand may decide to follow it. Using hashtags is another way to get found more often. When you use hashtags, you become part of a larger conversation that people who aren’t following you can see.
Although discounted in the beginning, G+ has become a vibrant community where businesses have an opportunity to make connections with their markets. The real keys to success on G+ (and other social networks) are to be consistent, genuine and original. People connect with brands when there is a two-way conversation.
What tips do you have for using Google Plus for business? Join the conversation by commenting below.