The following is a guest post by Charles Dearing. His bio is at the end of the article.
Like it or not, Google+, is here to stay.
Even if you’ve roundly ignored the plaform in your personal social media life, you can’t afford to do the same with your company. Cultivating an active, well-trafficked page takes time and effort, but the advantages it brings are well worth the investment.
The first Do on our list is simply to sign up for Google+.
I get it; Google+ is a bit of a ghost town for many individual users. Even while the network has made strong gains on Facebook’s share of the social market, it still hasn’t grown the gargantuan base of rabid users that other companies have.
But that doesn’t really matter. Google+ is a Google product, and they’re not about to let us ignore it. Even if few people pay attention to actual Google+ pages, they all pay attention to what Google digs up from them. Those pages are huge SEO boosts, and they’re well-integrated with everything else Google does. So don’t pooh-pooh Google+. The sooner you make your account, the sooner you can benefit from it.
Verify your local business
It’s an easy step to take, but an incredibly important one. Anyone can set up a basic page, but verifying opens up a whole world of new integrations and advantages. Verified company information will pop up to the right of results for related keyword searches, and will display photos, posts, and more information, giving your business a huge jump in visibility.
+1s give your business legitimacy, engagement, and according to some studies, a hefty amount of search prominence. Just about every company that has successfully leveraged Google+ has done this.
- Case in point: Take The Financial Times for instance – the content giant has placed +1s on its blog and select articles to facilitate clicks. They’ve managed to craft an extremely visible, but non-obtrusive social media engagement method. It’s a tricky balance to find, but very much worth the effort.
If you have an active Youtube channel, connect it with your Google+ profile
Doing so grants you access to a long list of new features, ranging from comment moderation to advanced channel management. It also gives you the ability to conduct live video hangouts, something that several brands have successfully leveraged.
- Case in Point: Singer Daria Musk has found enormous success with her live Hangout concerts, one of which drew over 200,000 visitors. Most companies likely won’t use a precise mechanism, but you should never underestimate the power of live video interactions.
Never get lazy about content
Obviously, that applies to any medium, but it doubles down for Google+. Even more than other social channels, pages are seen as a route for direct, quality interaction between brands and fans. Disregarding this by producing spammy content will alienate potential visitors, and may also get you dinged by Google’s SEO algorithms.
Engage, engage, engage
Many marketers make the mistake of setting up a Google+ account, then cooling their heels and waiting for the +1s to come rolling in.
Here’s the thing: Without your help, they won’t. Post consistently, comment on every post, and respond to fans – be a person. If you see negative comments, don’t ignore them. Don’t attack them, obviously, but be willing to interact with the commenter, hear them out, and address any valid complaints.
- Case in point: By now you may have heard the story of the Union Street Guest House, a New York hotel that had a policy of charging guests $500 for bad reviews. The result? A thorough drubbing from the Internet at large, and a current 1.6 star rating on Google+, which of course displays prominently whenever someone searches the hotel by name. Theirs was a truly spectacular blunder, but you can repeat it on smaller scales by not responding directly and honestly to even the angriest of customers.
This article isn’t meant to be an exhaustive review of all the minor hacks needed to get a Google+ Page functioning optimally. Not that those are unimportant, but I wanted to get a more general philosophy laid out here. Anyone launching a Google+ account needs to keep a couple things in mind.
First: This is a chance for personal engagement, don’t miss it. A successful social media page is a peek behind the copy to see the actual character of a company. Be honest, be likeable, and be present.
Second: Facilitate this engagement in any way you can. Setting your page up the right way mechanically helps, but even more important is consistently posting, consistently responding, and going out of your way to draw attention to the page.
Charles Dearing is an established digital marketer who writes for www.patientsites.com. He is a consistent contributor to various business and marketing blogs around the web.