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Hangouts and Communities: The Road to Google+ Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]
Posted on April 2nd 2013
In my past blog post, I introduced Google+ as a community. I talked about what makes it special, important, and valuable beyond the search factor. While you can look at that as a primer, this article will further explore ways that you can increase engagement with your community and audience on Google Plus. While many of the same Facebook Engagement rules take place here on G+, here are a few that will really help your engagement increase.
Keep in mind, the more engaged you are as a brand, the more engaged your community will be. All these tips can be applied to both your business page as well as your personal page. As my focus is to help small businesses get better results, I'd love to see you try some of these today.
HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT
1. Host a Community
Google Plus just launched a new feature called communities. You can create your own, or join an existing one. Hosting your own gives you more control and allows you to really brand yourself. To learn more about communities go here. Like real-life communities, Google Plus communities are centered around a common topic. Whether it be, music, real estate, or even tattoos, there are people out there who want to connect and share experiences. This is a great way to build your bond with existing customers and grow your customer base through common ground.
For instance, if you are a book store, you can host a book club and sell your books through this community. If you are a fashion store, you can host a style community in which people share ideas about what they are wearing. There are tons of different types of communities to host, so get creative and make sure it makes sense for your business.
2. Comment on posts that are relevant
Google Plus is Google after all, which means the search function is powerful. Like I have discussed in my social media listening series, listening is a great way to jump in on conversations and gain a new following. You might want to search keywords that match your industry and add them to your circle. Once you have done so, their posts will show up on your news feed. If something resonates with you, respond to their post. You will see that they will likely circle you back and now you have just earned a new follower and a new engager.
As the audience is different than other sites, Google Plus is a great way to build an audience that isn't currently on any of the other social sites you are present on.
People on Google Plus tend to like to communicate in longer form. Keep this in mind. When someone responds to you, make sure you write back to keep the conversation going. You want to share your knowledge and let the others know you as a brand care. You are listening and have something to add.
Don't forget that people love hashtags on Google+, which makes it a lot easier to find the content that relates to you and your business.
3. Ask Questions
This advice can be taken into all the different networks. Ask and you shall receive. This is such a great engagement strategy and will open you up to new fans, followers, and customers. You will also get great feedback, and, you never know, perhaps a new product or service idea. Humans are social and they want to be heard. It is easier to get them talking if you ask them a question. This can be a question about your brand, about your product, or something related.
When coming up with questions to ask, make sure you put your reporter hat. This is a fundamental rule I learned in Journalism school. Don't ask “do” or “is” questions. A “do” or “is” question will leave you with a yes or no answer. Ask “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” and “How.” The goal here is to open up for long conversations. You want to get as much out of the answerer as possible.
4. Host a Hangout
Google Hangouts are great for engagement. Not only does it put a face to your brand, but you can also see your fans and talk to them live. You can even create a G+ Hangout show. If you have cookbook out, a weekly cooking show might be a great way to engage your audience. Perhaps you are a Therapist; if so, a weekly “Dear Abby” style show might work well for you. You can also use a Google Hangout as a customer service tool or help center. The options are truly endless.
How do you use G+? Do you use Google Hangouts in any way? What are your challenges with getting your Google+ strategy off the ground?