Building a presence on Google+ is likely to be a wise investment for your small business. But to get the best results you need to be posting the right content.
In this post I’ll explain some simple tips for ensuring your profile, posts and Google+ interaction are working hard to help increase your online visibility and your authority.
- Create a strong profile:
Your Google+ profile has the potential to rank highly for your name. This means it’s well worth investing the time and effort to ensure your profile is compelling, interesting and most importantly COMPLETE!
Be sure to fill out the “story” section. It will help people connect with you, the person behind your brand. In addition, you’ll want to populate the link opportunities. Here you can connect up to your other social media profiles as well as noting down the places you’ve contributed to – both currently and in the past (this is essential for Google Authorship). Finally, input your work and contact information and your Google+ profile will instantly become a comprehensive overview of you, your business and the content you’ve created across the web.
- Engage in 2-way conversations and post useful, interesting content:
It sounds obvious but it’s simply not enough to rush up a profile and leave it at that. To truly benefit from Google+ you need to be an active participant with a great reputation. And that reputation will grow inline with your followers, number of re-shares and +1s as well as the frequency and regularity of your posting.
Here are some ways you can engage for business success:
Join existing conversations:
- Follow: The quickest way to benefit from the rich conversations happening on Google+ right now is to follow people. Choose the influencers in your field, your competitors, customers and anyone else you’re keen to stay in touch with.
- +1: The equivalent to Facebook likes, a +1 indicates you found a post interesting, useful or entertaining. It’s an easy way to show someone you like and appreciate their content.
- Comment: Sharing your response to a post is a powerful way to engage in relevant conversations and reveal your thoughts and opinions. Done well, it can also become an effective way to get on the radar of influencers or potential customers.
- Share other people’s content: Actively share quality content that other people have produced, remembering to add your own commentary and thoughts to the head of the link.
Start your own conversations:
- Post your own, unique content: This is key.If you want to boost your own profile and establish your authority, you need to post quality content. So create a strategy and vary what you post. Try photos, links, videos and even plain, text-based posts. The secret is not to stick up a link and leave it at that. Instead personalise the content you share with your own spin. By this I mean writing some commentary to support or frame what you’ve posted. For example, you could share your opinion, explain why it’s a good read, ask a question etc. The key is to initiate discussion and interaction.
- Use images: Browse through your Google+ timeline and before long you’ll come across large images that span the entire screen. As you know, images grab attention, and images of this size will certainly attract your audience’s eye. This means it’s well worth incorporating pictures into your posts (although do ensure you have permission or a licence to use the photo).
- Write mini posts: Google+ allows you to write lengthy posts, should you choose. What’s more, you can incorporate links into the body of these posts (although they’ll be no-follow links). Evidence suggests longer posts are getting strong levels of engagement – good news for your authority building and online reputation. In addition, Google+ has more formatting options than Facebook and Twitter allowing you to increase readability by mixing up the appearance of your words. For example, you can create headlines or *bold* words and phrases by putting asterisks (*) around them. You can also _italicize_ text in the same way using underscores (incidentally, these same formatting options exist in word).
- Avoid verbal diarrhoea: If you start to view Google+ as an addition and alternative to your blog, you’ll understand the need to share well thought out stuff. So do consider the quality and content of your posts – ideally you want your Google+ efforts to help increase your know, like, trust factor, not undermine your professionalism.
- Add a headline to your post: It’s easy to do this. Simply put asterisks around the words you’d like to highlight (as an example, this post would say *Google+: Five Steps To More Shares, Visibility and Authority*). As with all marketing collateral, aim to make your headline eye-catching. You want it to hook your audience and get them reading. Best practice is to keep you headline under 60 characters. Any longer and it will become a two-liner. And whilst this looks OK, it’s worth remembering your first sentence forms the title tag that will appear in a standard Google search so incorporate keywords and keep it snappy.
- Tag other people and brands (where appropriate): Simply type + and the person’s name / business page and you’ll be able to link to them in your posts. This can help you catch the attention of the influencers in your field, but be careful. You don’t want to appear as a crazed stalker.
- Use #hashtags: Write search friendly posts by incorporating relevant hashtags to signal keywords and main themes. Google will make suggestions based on the content of your posts, but you can override these and add your own if they’re more relevant. And the benefit is significant. Just like on Twitter and Facebook, hashtags are an effective way to increase the likelihood of your content being viewed outside your circle of influence.
- Make content public: For sure there will be times when you’ll want to restrict the visibility of your content. If that’s the case imply select the Circles and individuals you wish to reach. But for wider web visibility and greater reach, always make your content public.
- Create circles to segment your audience:
One of the cool things about Google+ that differentiates it from other social networks is your ability to segment your audience with Circles. You can search content by Circles as well as post by Circle. As you can choose who you want to see your posts, this provides you with a fantastic opportunity to connect with different people on different levels. And because you have the opportunity to tightly hone what you talk about depending on your audience, you’ll find you appear more relevant and interesting to the people who do follow you. And if you’re just starting out, the easiest thing is to add everyone to the same list and then segment later.
More and more people are working from home and rely on smart technology to enable them to interact with their customers and suppliers. Google+ Hangouts offer a free way to talk face-to-face. In addition, since the launch of Hangouts On Air, you’re now able to broadcast live to the public. Again this is a fantastic example of how you can embrace the power of multi-media to reach your customers and audience, wherever they are in the world.
- Just get started!
A lot of people are procrastinating over getting stuck into Google+. Time is a big factor as is the uncertainty as to whether it’s worthwhile investing that time. In my opinion it is.
So, if you want to start seeing results from being active on Google+, the quickest way is to just get posting. So why not CLICK HERE to head over to my Google+ profile and leave a comment about this post. It’s an easy way to join the Google+ conversation and start increasing your authority and presence.