With so many social networking platforms and all the complications of managing a tailored social presence on each one, you may wonder: Do I really need to start from scratch building a new presence on yet another platform where I know no one? The answer is yes.
Google+ is not just another social network, but a powerful asset to your search engine optimization strategy. Google receives 90% of the world’s daily search traffic and no one loves Google+ more than Google. Google’s frequent and continued integration of Google+ into its products has created a social layer of search that that makes it easier to be discovered by people you want to connect with, learn from, and do business with. Follow our Google Plus tips and you may find yourself jumping to the first page of Google rankings without spending a dime.
Set up your page
Your Google+ cover photo makes a big first impression on people visiting your page. Use it to create a mood or tell a story. And it doesn’t have to be one photo: use PicMonkey Collage to bring a few together! Optimize your page for search by including target keywords in your tagline and introduction.
Tips: Any image that has an aspect ratio of 16:9 will work as a cover image, but using one that’s the maximum allowable size, 2120 x 1192 pixels, enables the best viewing experience. In certain browsers and devices, the left and right can be trimmed by up to 10%, so be sure there is no critical content close to the edges.
Circle the wagons
Google+ is an open network, like Twitter: you can follow anyone and anyone can follow you. And it’s easy to keep your contacts organized with Circles, custom categories you create to manage whose updates you see and who you’d like to share with. Reach out to peers, colleagues, local businesses and potential clients who share your interests. Curate content according to each circle’s specific interests, so no one feels spammed by information they may not find interesting.
Tips: Don’t worry if you don’t know a soul. You’re not looking for friends; you’re looking for influencers. Find them by researching like-minded authors, speakers, businesses and look to see who comments on their Google+ posts. Follow those people too. Find meaningful ways of engaging with their content; not just +1ing posts.
Commune with communities
Communities are Google Plus’ take on groups or forums and provide people opportunity to connect around specific topics. Currently there are over 52,000 communities on Google+, with topics ranging from landscape photography and DIY to space exploration. Google+ allows businesses to join communities as a brand, giving you an excellent opportunity to expand your network by connecting to potential customers, influencers and people of interest.
Businesses can create their own communities, increasing brand awareness and visibility. As a community moderator, you can give away knowledge and build advocacy, creating a space of continuous conversation around your brand. Beware that communities are not about blatant self promotion, but a place to share relevant content that will ignite conversation and even debate.
Tips: Make a daily habit of combing through communities and engaging with other members. Show support by +1-ing and commenting on others’ posts, and sharing new ideas and opinions. In communities you’ve created, post quality, relevant content and ask questions often.
Visualize good posts
Google+ is a highly visual platform with clean design that showcases images, videos, and infographics. Studies show that posts with interesting images receive three to four times as much engagement as other kinds of posts. Your images not only look spectacular on Google+, but are clickable, linking straight to your content. Google+ uploads and stores photos at standard size with a resolution designed to look great on desktops as well as tablets (2048 pixels on the longest edge). If you prefer to upload a full size photo, it’s a simple matter of enabling the feature.
Tips: Get started by learning the correct dimensions for Google+ graphics and photos. Mention other users in your posts, so they’re inclined to engage and interact. Like Twitter, Google+ makes all hashtags searchable, so it’s wise to include them with every post. Share all posts publicly, and anyone in your circle who’s logged into their G+ account while searching will be shown your content in his or her feed.
Hang out with your peeps
Video marketing is a hot trend as online video usage is expected to double to 1.5 billion by 2016. Google+ makes it easy for you to ride this tidal wave with Google+ Hangouts on Air (HOA). Hangouts are video chats with up to nine people at once, while legions more can attend silently. The video gets recorded and saved so you can post it for viewing later on YouTube and your Google+ stream.
Tips: Make sure to have your Google+ profile linked to YouTube and your HOA will be automatically recorded and stored in YouTube. From your YouTube account, you can edit the video and share it when you’ve got it just right. Social media channels, your website, your email list — options abound!