Google+ What is it and should you be on it?
As a relative newcomer to social media Google+ emerged in 2011 as Googles’ vision of a social media platform to rival long established Facebook. Google had previously attempted to break into social media with their Google Wave and Buzz offerings but had seen little success.
Google+ changed all that and in its first year alone managed to get 100 million subscribers and continues to grow steadily – mainly amongst the business community.
What’s the main difference between Facebook and Google+?
Well it’s Google ‘Circles’ and ‘Hangouts’. What are these you ask?
Circles enable you to create different groups that you place followers into and can then interact with separately. So for instance you could create a circle for your customers and a circle for suppliers. The content you share with these circles is likely to be different and allows you to target unique content of interest to each circle. It’s helpful to know that people will know when they’ve been added to a circle but not what circle they’ve been added to.
Hangouts are group video chat areas that allow a small number of people in your chosen circle to connect and ‘hangout’ with you. What benefit does this have a business? Well you could use one to invite customer to an exclusive video demonstration of your product or service or even for internal project collaboration meeting.
These are great features in their own right but the other advantage of Google+ is it’s a Google product and is heavily intertwined with its other products including search. Google now places more weight on your social media output than it ever has with recent Google algorithm updates. Being prominent and active on Google+ means you could be ranked higher, by logged in Google users, when they’re performing search queries.
So how do you get started on Google+?
To do this you need a Google account, most of us have Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive or other member of the Google family so you can then just add Google+ to your existing account. If not, just search for Google+ and sign up – this can then be used across other Google products. Fill in your details and think carefully about your onscreen Google+ name. Ensure you enter as much information into your profile and ‘about’ sections as you can as the more comprehensive you can be the more likely you are to be followed and added to circles yourself. Create your first circles but be selective about who you add to them and follow yourself.
Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of Google+
• Find people by using Google suggestions, by topics, shared circles or communities and build up followers slowly and carefully to ensure quality
• Create a weekly publishing schedule for sharing content
• Content should be a mixture of articles, videos & images to offer your audience variety and hopefully unique content
• Content initially should be 80% entertaining and 20% promotional/industry specific then 50/50 once you’re established
• Use @mentions, #hashtags and text styling options
• Use ‘Hangouts’ to engage with your audience
• If possible, reach out to influencers (people with more authority than you in your chosen field) and communicate via ‘+mentioning’ or commenting on their posts
• Search Google for “circle” or #keyword circle to find shared circles that you can add and participate with.
So as a business should you add Google+ to your social media suite?
Obviously as I’ve mentioned with it being a Google product it has it’s potential search advantages and it’s got the best visual categorisation of followers with ‘circles’ but you need to do a little research before potentially taking the plunge. Find out where is our customer base is – are they on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or on Google+? There’s no point being on a platform that’s not used by your audience demographic. More importantly though there’s no point being on every social media platform available if you’re over stretching yourself to regularly publish unique content for your followers. Be selective and be realistic.
If you decide to embrace Google+ get your profile completed, circles set up and then regularly listen, discuss and share interesting content to those circles, this is turn hopefully gains you more followers, more authority and ideally more prominence in search listings. Remember social media is about listening, discussing and sharing.
If you need any support with your social media don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at http://www.paulkirkdesign.co.uk
- What Klout do you have on social media?
- Demystifying Twitter
- Do you need help managing your social media platforms? Social Media Management Tools could be the answer
- The Importance Of Being Social On Social Media
- How social media can help raise your search engine rankings
- Are you ready to discover Pinterest?