Dear Socially Stephanie,
Invisible In Indianapolis
Dear Invisible in Indianapolis,
It's good to hear from you. And your timing is impeccable, because now it's your turn to get matched. Not with a person (I'm sure you have that covered): I'm about to match your questions with a clear Google Plus content strategy that you can take action on today. Sound good? Let's take Google+ for a ride!
You're right, Google Plus is a growing machine. It's the second largest network, with over 500 million users. Yes, many of these accounts are simply Gmail users, and it's hard to say exactly how many of these accounts are truly active. But who cares, really-this is Google we're talking about. And as a small business with an online presence, Google is the game we're all playing, whether we like it or not.
With any social network, you need to show up in the right fashion. What works on Twitter may not work on Facebook. And what works on LinkedIn is probably different from what works on Google Plus. Heading to Google Plus with a Pinterest mentality is kind of like showing up to school in your bathing suit. You may get some attention, but in the long run, you're going to end up being sent home.
So what works on Google Plus? According to a recent study by GlobalWebIndex, the top activities on G+ are posting and sharing photos, clicking a "+1" button, watching video and sharing links to blogs. Are you sharing this type of content? You should be. It's what works.
Now that you know what works and the type of content you need to create, let's dig into some best practices. Google Plus has its own set of rules.
Rule number 1? Written content should be longer than on Twitter and Facebook, but shorter than your blog posts. Why? Keywords, baby. Google Plus is Google, and that means it has a damn good search engine. By utilizing keywords that are relevant to your community and industry, you're going to increase your chances of being found. Even if you're sharing an image or a video, add a written description. Trust me, just do it.
Speaking of being found, let's talk about rule number 2: Hashtags. Use 'em. Hashtags now come up in Google's regular search engine results, and that is where you'll win. When using hashtags, don't just throw them in there to be cute. Make them worth something. Make them work for you.
There are some other rules too, of course, like be relevant, ask questions, follow people and engage with your followers. Those are pretty standard across all social networks, so I won't get into too much depth there. But rules 1 and 2 should be taken seriously, because they'll help you get found. With 85% of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses, this should be at the top of your list. And luckily, "Google" and "local" go hand-in-hand.
One of the benefits of being a social business is having others do the work for you. No, I'm not talking about hiring a staff, I'm talking about the word-of-mouth-or "word-of-finger"-marketing that comes from being a brand of attraction.
It's like being Zoolander except, instead of having to be "really, really good looking," your business has to be really, really good at being likable. Remember, it's easier to be likable when you allow people to like you easily. What I mean by that is, add the "+1" button to all content and pages on your site, and give people the ability to circle you straight from your website. Set them up for it so that it's easy. As your following grows, and your content becomes more shareable for the G+ audience, you'll also increase your reach.
Oh! And last thing-want to get really advanced with Google+? Host a Hangout. Consider having an online event where you can do meet-and-greets with your clients and potential matches. I just love that idea. No worries, you can thank me later!