If you use a Google service such as Gmail or YouTube, you already have a Google+ account. And believe it or not, you’re counted as one of the more than one billion users on the platform. But if you’re like many people who have accounts with Google+, you may not have done anything with it. Should you change this approach and start actively marketing via Google+? And how do you create an effective Google+ strategy?
The first step is to decide if Google+ fits in with your overall marketing goals. When doing this you are probably also thinking about the articles and blogs you might have seen that report that Google+ is in its death throes.
Which begs the question: If you get involved in Google+, are you investing in a platform that is doomed?
The Future Of Google+
Reports from inside Google indicate they are changing direction when it comes to Google+ and their overall social media platform strategy. They are doing this because Google+ did not have the success that they anticipated. It has some fantastic features - like the way it handles photos, Hangouts, and the fact that it is integrated with other Google services – but it has not connected with regular users in the same volumes as other platforms. This includes the social media old-guard such as Facebook and Twitter, but it also includes new-comers like WhatsApp. Even Google's own YouTube platform - which itself is a social media network - is far more popular than Google+.
The company wanted to revolutionize social media and they were not successful, but it continues to carve out a niche in the market with a core group of active users. This number is in the millions so it’s a significant group that you can reach out to. This comes down to the fact that the overall social media landscape is maturing and evolving, and Google+ is a part of that.
You should also take into account the impact that Google+ has on SEO. As you have probably read countless times before, Google's search engine algorithm uses social signals to determine the ranking of pages in search results. Signals from Google+ are unambiguous, so are important to Google search.
The platform is likely to change as Google alters its social media direction of travel, but the platform itself is likely to continue. And that presents opportunities.
Devising And Implementing A Google+ Strategy
The first step in creating a Google+ strategy is listening. Get involved in the platform as a receiver and consumer of content, rather than a producer or marketer. This will give you an idea of who is on Google+ already and what they are saying, but more importantly it will give you an understanding of what your audience wants. You can see what type of content they engage with, which you’ll then be able to use to start formulating a voice and tone for your own content.
Here are some further tips for making Google+ work in your business:
Set up circles and target your content to these circles, creating different posts when necessary
Put +1 buttons on your website
Use Hangouts to connect directly with your customers, answer questions, offer advice, or do product demonstrations
Post regularly. But make sure the content is relevant
Include promotions and special offers that are exclusive to your Google+ audience
Use lots of visuals - images, photos, infographics, videos, etc.
Keep your posts succinct. There is no character limitation with Google+, so it’s tempting to write a lot, but this isn’t the best approach. Write as few words as possible to get your point across, and get to that point as quickly as possible
Make sure you keep the volume of promotional posts on your page to below 20 percent
Finally, one effective approach to social media in general that can help you to implement your Google+ strategy is to be platform agnostic. This does not mean posting exactly the same thing on all platforms, but rather creating a single, consistent narrative. Within this narrative you should create text, images and other media. Then you’ll simply need to customize each post for the platform - including Google+.