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Top tips for using Google+ for marketing

Internet analytics firm GlobalWebIndex recently reported that Google+ had 359 million active members, an increase of 33 percent from the 269 million users recorded at the end of June 2012. 

Much of the growth has been thanks to developments from Google. It has integrated many of its services like YouTube, Google Maps and Android with Google+, making the social network integral to social media and search marketing campaigns.

Have you put Google+ into your digital marketing strategy yet? Not only is the platform becoming an effective way to communicate with your audience, it also impacts your site ranking and search engine optimisation. 

Top tips for using Google+

People form an opinion of someone within seconds of meeting them. The same is true for online presence. Ensure your company page is up to date and looks professional. Use high quality and unique images and add as much detail to your profile as possible. This includes a tagline, relevant keywords and background information to the about section. You can also add links here, which works well to get people to visit your website and find out more about your company. 

Remember to verify the URL on the page and the email addresses so people know that this is a real company page and not a fake account. Link your Google+ page to all of your social media profiles including your blog, Twitter page and YouTube channel if you have one. 

Once you have set up your Google+ page, start using:

Circles: Start following people and other relevant pages and add them to targeted circles, which you can label yourself. This way, you can segment the people on your follower list so you don’t have to share all of your posts with everyone. You could have a circle for different audience types, employees, and media contacts for example. 

Interaction: Once you build a network of fellow Google+ users, you should start interacting by posting messages, images, videos, links etc. You can also tag people or businesses and use relevant hashtags. This is where the similarities to other social media networks really start to show. 

Communities: Like the groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, you can participate in communities. Google’s own version is great because there is no word limit, leaving more room for debate, and spam is taken seriously. Join a few communities related to your sector. You will find people posting tips and advice and asking questions. It’s an invaluable way to learn, share your own expertise and connect with a wider audience. 

Hangouts: This feature allows you to connect with people through video and works in a similar way to Skype. It allows you to hold a video conference or training session with up to 10 participants – fantastic if you're a company that encourages remote working – or stream a live hangout to an unlimited number of viewers.

How to make social media marketing a habit

It is important you use social media platforms for the correct purpose – to engage with people and add value. Don’t just use it as an advertising tool. While making the most of the features that Google+ offers, try forming a daily habit. For example, allocate responsibility to specific staff members or set times to use the site until it becomes second nature.

Develop a bank of ideas and content that you can post to your followers. Share photos of events that you attend or host, and recent blog articles, plus any interesting articles that you find online. Use hashtags, tag people or brands you are talking about.  And remember it’s a social network and the goal is create a response – whether it’s for someone to +1, comment or share your posts. 

Incorporate Google+ into your overall digital marketing strategy and your brand will gain more exposure in the world’s biggest search engine. Your website is ‘the hub’, which interlinks with all your social media accounts, so you won’t have to worry about finding excessive amounts of resource to manage your page. The key is consistency.