If you are asked to share your first thought that pops in your mind when you hear "Social media", your answer would probably be Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, but not Google Plus for sure. Then why experts keep vouching for the network? Google Authorship was one of the reasons. But since it's dead now, what are the driving forces to motivate Google Plus marketing?
First reason would be its high engaging audience. As it's not crowded by anyone and everyone using internet, Google Plus is the home to the largest engaged audience. According to a Forrester study,G+ posts generate as much engagement as Facebook and twice as much engagement than Twitter. It's striking because the other two are much popular than G+.
The explanation is simple. Not everyone joins and continues with G+. And if anyone does, he does it for a purpose. This works for G+'s engagement quotient.
The secret also lies in these G+ stats:
- Google+ has 540 million monthly active users and 20 million unique mobile monthly users.
- Engagement on a Facebook post per user is .073% while it's .069% on a Google plus post.
- Google+ mobile app user growth from December 13 to May 14 is 14%.
- Percentage of G+ user interaction with positive brands is 53%, with negative brands is 18%.
- G+'s percentage of total social logins on websites is 32.9%
- Average duration of one G+ session is 3.46 minutes
If you are still not enticed to explore the vast possibilities, here are 5 areas where Google Plus can overshadow Facebook.
Better exposure in Google search results: It doesn't take much to figure out that Google would give preference to Google Plus, when it comes to getting social signals. If you post regularly on the platform, chances are that the people, who follow you or have you in their circles will see your post when they search with a related keyword on Google. Here is an example:
I typed "Sunday Flowers" and got a related Google Plus post of Matt Cutts, who I follow on the platform.
Similarly, your followers too can get your G+ posts in their Google search results. The more you share on G+, the more your authority will be on Google. G+ Business page posts too appear on search results. Here is how I searched for a new Levi's collection and got one result from the brand's G+ page.
No other social network gets such an upper-hand on Google search results.
Double the reach with Google+ Communities: Google Communities work more like Facebook groups, but they can get you higher traffic. There are almost every kind of communities on G+. You can find them here. And if you want to create your own, you can do it too.
Choose the communities that create maximum stories and conversations. Not necessarily the most populated communities would be the most engaging ones. Select wisely. Don't join for the sake of fetching traffic to your website. You need to be active in order to get attention from the fellow members.
Comment, +1 and share others' content. When you will leave a comment, make sure to add a little value. Avoid commenting generally like "Nice share" or "thanks for the post".
Always post in the right category for content segregation. It also helps your content to appear on the most relevant thread. The categories can be found on the left-hand side of the community page. Let's see when you click on a category, how it segregates related content from other posts within a community.
You can see the results from "Nails" are different from that of "Skin". This feature is effective because no matter how old is your post, it still stands a chance to appear on community front page, if someone searches with categories.
Moreover, you would notice a significant growth in your social shares as well as follower count if you use Google+ Communities efficiently. However, follow the respective Community rules and watch out for the time slots, when the members get active.
Google+ ads work differently: Google Plus post ads work in an entirely different way than that of Facebook. Unlike the latter, Google+ post ads don't run on the network, but on the entire Google's display network. This not only makes the reach of these ads higher, but also keeps the social network an ad-free zone.
You can create these ads from any public Google Plus post with your AdWords account. But you need to have at least 1000 followers on the network to be eligible to run these ads. You can have the complete guide here.
Here is a famous example of a G+ post ad, displayed on a third-party website.
Facebook ads are limited to the network, while G+ ads' reach is much greater. Moreover, as supported by Google AdWords, G+ post ads have more sophisticated targeting options. Moreover, you can comment, share and +1 on these ads real-time.
Learn the best Google+ hashtags practices: Google+ hashtags too work differently than Twitter and Facebook. It's more to explore content than to curate, like any other channel.
G+ suggests hastags with every post. However, you can add your your own hashtags as well. Let me share a trick to know which hashtags are suggested by Google and which are the user-created ones.
On the above post, you can see 2 labels of hashtags: Grey and blue. The grey labeled tags are added by the user while the blue ones are suggested by Google.
Use maximum 3 hashtags with a single post. You can add many more than that, but Google+ gives utmost importance to the first three tags. If you click on the hashtag from the list, it will flip through related posts. You can hop from one post to another by clicking on the side-arrow buttons.
Go to https://plus.google.com/explore/ and explore suitable hashtags for your posts. Let's search with #contentmarketing and see what results we have.
This way you can explore related hashtags for your posts. It's an effective way to find out popular hashtags in the niche.
On the other hand on Facebook, there is no integrated tool to find out popular hashtags, unless there are a few in the trending topics.
Use Google+ to identify power-users: Google Plus is populated with technology early adopters and industry influencers. There are plenty of them in your niche as well. Circle Ripples and G+ Circles are two tools, which you can use to identify people, who belong to your niche and have a significant influence.
Let's talk about Ripples, as Circles are well-known to all G+ users. Google+ Ripples is a tool that can show you who shares your post and the reach of their shared content. It's a graphical presentation of your content reach.
In the Ripples graph, you can see the content is originally shared by Pierre Far, which was re-shared by Matt Cutts and other 472 people. Since Ripples show data about public posts, you can track only 375 shares.
When we're talking about power-users, the bigger the ripple, the bigger the influencer. This is quite evident from the circle that is formed around Matt Cutts. Similarly, if you zoom in to a specific ripple, it shows the re-shares from that particular person.
So, if you want to identify the most powerful people in your G+ community, track Ripples for every post. As you find out each one of your industry influencers and power-users, note down every user and make a list. You can create alliance with them for your future content marketing efforts. Finding the power-users for your business on Facebook is a bit tricky as well as time-consuming, unlike G+, where you can find ripples for every public post, even if they are from your competitors.
Over to you
It's your choice if you will start taking G+ marketing more seriously. However, considering the fact that G+ is packed with amazing features and some of them are more efficient than Facebook, you can ignore it at your own risk.