Google+ isn’t dead, far from it in fact.
But, I know a lot of marketers are still on the fence about Google+.
This study by Forrester Research gets cited a lot when people look to validate the social network as a viable channel.
While Facebook is still in the lead when it comes to brand engagement, Google+ is getting close, particularly when you consider the extreme decline of Facebook’s organic reach. This makes a strong case for developing your presence on Google+.
But, this begs the question – what can you do to get more interaction for you and your clients?
What Content is Already Working on Google+?
Certain topics tend to get better interaction on G+ than other social networks.
But, how do you know what will go down best?
A quick way to do this is to use a tool like Buzzsumo, just type in your domain name, competitor’s domain name, or a topic and you’ll see what content is getting the most shares.
You can then filter your results by Google+ shares in order to identify the posts that are working post.
Post When Your Audience is Watching
I see plenty of posts about the best time to publish your content, but that’s not your data, so it may not work as well as you think.
The truth is that you need to identify the optimal time for sharing content using your own data.
Fortunately there are tools available to allow you to figure it out quickly.
Timing+ is a free tool that can do this, just sign in using your Google+ login and you’ll quickly get a breakdown of how active your followers are throughout the day.
This can also be done using Steady Demand Pro, which is a premium tool with pricing starting at $12/month. This tool provides data on engagement by post type, along with other features.
Leverage The Influence of Authorities Within Your Vertical
A sure-fire tactic for climbing to the top is to leverage the influence of those who actually have an established audience.
Before anything, you need a plan that covers the specifics in detail.
But, the ultimate challenge is finding those who have real influence on Google+.
There are plenty of tools on the market that do this very well, especially those which cover Twitter. One tool that stands out in this area is NOD3x, which will enable you to do in-depth data analysis to find key influencers. Just enter your keywords, any exclusions, tweak your demographic settings, and you’re good to go.
One section of the tool that I find particularly helpful is the ‘relations’ section, where you can view users who are getting incredible interaction on their posts.
What’s important to note is that the relevance comes down to how specific your included/excluded keywords are.
Once you know who the key influencers are, you can put together a solid plan together so that you can leverage their influence.
Regularly Engage With Other Users
Your aim should always be to garner influence for yourself or your clients. And in order to do that you need to actually spend time on the platform, actively engaging with other users.
It can’t just be a one-off – you need to do this regularly.
This is easily done by:
- Actively sharing and +1’ing your followers posts
- Commenting on your followers posts
- Engaging with other users on Hangouts on Air (we’ll talk about these in more detail in a moment)
- Finding relevant communities and engaging with other members
One of the best ways to garner interaction, not only on Google+, but on any other platform is to ask direct questions.
Ultimately it’s all about the conversation, and a big part of what will go in your favour is actually helping people. And it works best when you don’t try to sell something at the same time. Help people and ask for nothing in return.
“If you sell something, you can make a customer today. If you help someone, you can create a customer for life.” – Jay Baer
Format Your Posts Better
When you put the time into formatting your posts, you can expect to get much better interaction.
There are particular elements that will help you here; Dustin Stout created a fantastic infographic that details each one:
One of the challenges is you need to know the shortcuts to help you with formatting. There are also symbols you can use to enhance your posts – again you need to know the symbols or copy and paste them from another website.
There is a Chrome extension called ‘Post Editor’ which will enable you to highlight your text and format them right from within Google+.
Create Unique Images For Your Google+ Post
This is an incredible way to grab the attention of your followers, particularly when the dimensions of your images are 736×1103 pixels.
Your followers will see something like this:
Admittedly, it’s not enough to just post any old image.
You need to publish eye-catching visuals that really talk to your followers and your target audience.
Rebekah Radice, featured in the example above, consistently puts out similar high quality images for each of the blog posts that she promotes.
If you’re looking for a quick and straight forward way to create images in this size, Canva is an incredible tool to use (and it’s free).
Use Your Blog to Encourage Comments on Google+
A while back, Copyblogger made a big splash in the industry by announcing that they were closing blog comments.
A lot of people didn’t understand their reasoning, but shortly after we started to see calls to action asking users to continue the discussion over on Google+.
A few weeks later, I read this post where Ross Hudgens looked at this in more detail and talked us through some of the data.
This data showed that after making this change, Copyblogger were able to increase the growth rate of their followers by 157%. Incredible considering the limited number of posts this was applied to.
Ross goes on to mention not all sites could get away with pushing their traffic to a social network, but for Copyblogger, the proof is in the pudding (so to speak).
There are definitely pro’s and con’s to doing this. Not all sites can get away with doing this, that’s for sure.
Over to You
On a personal level, I’ve found it much easier to build a following on Google+, far easier than Facebook or even Twitter in most cases.
That’s not to say that you will have exactly the same results, but with the state of Facebook’s organic reach and the average lifespan of a single Tweet, isn’t it an option worth exploring?
What are your thoughts on Google+? Have you had much success with the platform?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.