Google+ is trying so hard to be everything that people have complained Facebook isn’t. They aren’t quite there yet, but that isn’t completely the fault of Google+ itself. The majority of the blame for Google+ not taking off is on the shoulders of people and companies who have been slow to adopt it and slow to figure out how to really use it to everyone’s advantage.
With Facebook wreaking more and more havoc every day—charging users large sums of money to be able to reach their own followers, giving away more and more of users’ privacy protections and even making the posts of kids available to the broader public (unless a specific box is checked on every single post made by that kid)—it’s weird that people haven’t been jumping ship in larger numbers.
Remember: Facebook didn’t start out being the “powerhouse” that it is now. It started out small and stayed small for a long time. It was the users and the marketers who made it the useful tool that it is supposed to be today (in spite of higher ups making decisions that actively impede that progress). It was the early adopters who spent time tinkering around and figuring out what to do and what not to do.
You can do the same with Google+. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Heed the Golden Ratio
Before we get into any other details, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you about the golden ratio of marketing. The golden ratio dictates that your blatant sales pitches make up no more than ten percent of your total social media activity. It’s a hard rule that marketers follow on Facebook and Twitter and you need to follow it on Google+ too.
2. Sign Up for Authorship
Google Authorship is something offered via the Google+ system and it allows you to claim the content that you publish elsewhere on the web. When you publish an article or piece of content anywhere on the web and link it to your authorship profile, your picture and a link to your Google+ profile will appear in the search results along with the actual article itself and the listing for the article itself will also have your Google+ profile picture next to it.
It’s a way to prove your authority in a single glance. If you haven’t already signed up for Google authorship, do so immediately.
3. Use Your Circles to Your Advantage
Facebook simply limits your reach (unless you pay). Google gives you the ability to limit your own reach. Put another way, Google allows you to highly target your own marketing. With Google circles you can make sure that the people who most want to see certain types of messages will see them and that those who don’t care about that particular issue won’t. You can make your circles public or private.
Matomy, for example, has made public the circles in which the company appears, but keeps its own circling system private. This lets Matomy show off its popularity while respecting its own followers’ privacy.
4. Link Your Websites
Your Google+ profile offers you the ability to list your company’s website as part of your contact information. Obviously you want to link your company’s site there. It is also important to make sure that your company’s website links to your Google+ profile. There are a lot of great widgets and buttons available that will do this in an elegant and non-intrusive way.
This is important because unlike other social media portals, the Google+ button allows people to add you to one of their circles without forcing that person to leave your site. You can add followers without risking “the distraction factor” costing you sales.
5. Use Photos
When you look at your Google+ feed you’ll see that, instead of the “straightforward” timeline approach that Facebook uses, Google+ presents your feed in a grid format, allowing you to see lots of different stories at once. This is why photos are important. Often your “grid box” will consist simply of whatever photo you’ve used and then a few words from the post itself. Users then click on that grid box to see what else your post has to say. If you don’t use photos, your posts will likely get lost amongst the “flashier” options in a follower’s feed.
6. Sharing More Often Works In Your Favor
Keeping the golden ratio in mind, regular participation in the Google+ world helps you build authority and, in turn, your audience. And, unlike other systems, participating on other peoples’ posts (and promoting those posts to your own feed) helps build your reputation and authority within the system.
This means that you don’t have to constantly come up with unique content to share. Sharing someone else’s content is just as respectable…and helps you better respect the golden ratio (and win your audience’s loyalty).
Make a point of sharing something or promoting something every day and a habit of posting your own unique content at least every other day. You’ll be amazed at how much your numbers will grow after just a couple of weeks of that routine.
These are just six of the basic ways that you can use Google+ to help build and promote your business online. While it is still growing in terms of popularity, its importance as part of your social media profile is definite. You need to be on Google+. Facebook, after all, won’t be around forever!