The most common complaint amongst marketers about Google Plus is that it simply doesn't work. Reportedly, they rarely see traction from the content they share, and have difficulty engaging fans and would-be-fans with their articles. The New York Times even called it a "ghost town," claiming that the only benefit that the network provides is to Google itself. Why have so many people given up on a site with over 300 million active users?
Like any other social network, Google Plus is only as good as the marketer using it. With the right techniques, Google Plus can be just as powerful as any other network, and can draw in an entirely new audience for your content. The common dislike and misunderstanding of Google Plus is likely due to a few basic, easy-to-fix mistakes. Read on for the top four most common mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Not making posts public
This one is by far the easiest to fix, but it's also the deadliest. Make sure to always select the green "public" circle when sharing an update. This will ensure that your post (and any content you link) is indexed by Google, giving it a higher chance of being discovered.
The vast majority of people use Google Plus as a "link dumping" ground. Link dumping refers to the practice of sharing a link without explaining why it's interesting, or adding your own thoughts to it. While this works to a certain extent on Twitter, it won't get you very far on Google Plus. Instead, try to make the bulk of your post content that you add, and ensure that the link is just a tiny part of the overall post. Additionally, try taking advantage of the rich formatting options unique to Googe Plus. Did you know that you can easily bold or italicize your text? Bold a question or call to action to make it stand out from the rest of your post.
Treating Google Plus Like Facebook
Imagine if people approached Facebook the same way they approached Twitter. Disaster would ensue, yes? Hashtags would be flying willy-nilly, and posts would be too short to really be engaging. Every social network has its own best practices, yet people seem to be slow to catch onto the conventions of Google Plus. Generally speaking, a simple link with a few words of introduction will not garner much engagement. Google Plus loves posts with a rich, detailed commentary on the content. For instance, if you share an article on the five most interesting flavors of ice cream, try sharing a few of the flavors, and asking your audience to share their favorite weird flavor in the comments.
Not Joining Communities
One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost engagement and visibility on Google Plus is by participating in communities. A Google Plus community is a group of like-minded people who gather to discuss any given topic. If you can think of it, there's probably already a community out there eagerly discussing it. Find communities relevant to your interests and products by searching for key terms under the "communities" tab. After joining a group, make sure to follow the group rules for posting, and share interesting, valuable content rather than spamming them with self promotion. For instance, try sharing a relevant article, rather than a link saying "buy my book!."