10 Ways to Use Google Plus for Marketing
July 13, 2011 - Posted by Shama Kabani
Updated: April 2014
It would be foolish to expect a product developed by Google to simply roll over and play dead. Google Plus may not currently be the world’s most popular social media platform, but projections indicate that it may not stay in the back of the pack for long. By 2016, it is expected that G+ will overtake Facebook as the most widely-used social network worldwide. After initially slow growth, G+ is certainly making up ground, especially in the realms of SEO, digital marketing, and other business-related fields. If you’re not yet using G+ as a marketing tool, now is the time to start. These 10 tips will help you to get started so you can get a leg up in the evolution of social media marketing.
1. Set up a solid profile. Your entire Google Plus experience starts with the profile. Just like on Facebook, your profile is key, so spend some time building it correctly. Start with a good headshot. And, if you think this advice is commonplace, just look at some of the pictures on Google Plus now. When you show up in people’s streams, all they will see is a thumbnail. So, choose something in which you really stand out. Craft your introduction well. Make it so that people would want to add you to their circles. And, Google Plus allows for live links in the introduction itself, so be sure to take advantage of that. Add links to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.
2. Add relevant and remarkable images. Google is indexing the photos you share on Google Plus and displaying them in search results. So, it is in your best interest to use images that you want found in the search engine’s results. If you are a speaker, add pictures of you speaking. An author? Add pictures of you at your book signing. The idea is to convey the right brand image.
3. Make sure your profile is OPEN to search. This is key. Since Google reigns supreme in the search world, chances are that your profiles will be indexed VERY quickly. When you go to change your settings, under the profile section, you’ll be able to toggle whether or not people can see your profile when they search for you. Make sure you have checked the box that says “Help others find my profile in Search Results.”
4. Optimize the links feature on your profile using keywords. Again, a great SEO feature. What are the chances that Google values these links particularly highly? Pretty good, I’d say, if only to encourage people to use Google Plus. When making a new post, in similar style to Tumblr, you can categorize what kind of content you’re posting. When sharing a link, you can add the text you want to go along with it. Make sure you use the RIGHT keywords to connect to your website. For example, our link to the Marketing Zen homepage uses the phrase “online marketing.”
5. Use “Circles” to communicate with clients, prospects, media, etc. This is perhaps Google Plus’ greatest selling point. Most people’s lives have layers – professional, personal, acquaintances, etc. Google Circles allow you to apply these layers to your social media presence. For example, you can create a circle for prospective clients. And, then cater specifically to them with industry news, a solid case study, etc. As Google evolves so do circles. Last year a new, not so known bonus feature was rolled out fairly quietly. Search results now favor content that has been shared in and to circles you are a part of. Let’s say you are logged in to your Google account and then search “G+ Tips for Marketing” and you have Marketing Zen in your circles, it is likely that the post we shared with you about G+ Tips, will show up in your search results. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case if you logged out of Google and did a “clear” search. (Tip: While Google will inform a person that you have added them to a circle, it won’t tell them which circle.)
6. Use +, Comments, and Share to boost relationships. At the heart of all good social media marketing and networking lies the power of relationships. As you interact with others, show support for their ideas. The +1 on Google is akin to “Like” on Facebook. You can also +1 and comment when you see fit, and you can also SHARE within your own stream.
7. Add videos to your profile. If only from an SEO perspective, the chances of your videos being indexed into Google’s search is higher. So, if you have online video, share it. If you are still missing the online video boat, go to Dave for some amazing web video help.
8. Add your industry or business name as a separate page. G+, following Facebook’s example, allows brands to have their own pages, separate from the profiles of individual users. Rather than adding these businesses to circles, users can instead “follow” them to see their posts as they are created. Creating a page for your business is an excellent way to share content and market your brand to a large audience. For an example, check out Chipotle’s G+ page for some ideas.
9. Utilize Hangouts. Google hangouts incorporate video chat with circles. Want to invite all your sales people for a quick Monday morning meeting? How about a Hangout? Hangouts are also a functional tool for interviews, personal communications, Q&A sessions, and any number of marketing-specific social tasks. Connecticut College, for example, utilized hangouts in a social media campaign designed to answer the questions of prospective students.
10. Claim and Use Google Authorship. If you haven’t started yet, go set up authorship now. To get started Google provides an easy way to claim and check Google Authorship. If you are an author this is a great and easy way to not only claim the quality content you have written, but also to show up in search results with your picture and your post. Google rewards quality and is also a big advocate of crediting an original author. This serves multiple purposes at once and can be the boost in visibility you need. It also allows you to link to the sites that you are a regular contributor on as well as articles you have written for other pages. It is a great way to receive credit for your work.
Bonus Tip: Follow us on Google Plus at https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Marketingzen for more Google Plus tips to come!