If you are guilty of listening to the naysayers that are busy plotting to bring down Google Plus as a viable social media channel, now is the time to block them out and listen. I am here to tell you that there is most certainly a high level of value in Google’s answer to Facebook, LinkedIn and all other challengers. I wrote an article, recently, detailing some of the benefits of using Google Plus, so I won’t bore you with those again. What I will do, instead, is give you some tips on how you can amplify your content marketing efforts with Google Plus.
Let’s assume you have a blog on your company website. If not, then that’s a whole other story. Check out this article on the value of company blogs, then circle back around to me here. For those of you that have followed expert advice and have a blog in place, time to get started. The rest of you can catch up later. Here are a few tips that can help you optimize Google Plus to get your content and your website more exposure.
Google created a genius way to ensure that you can’t afford to pass on having a healthy Google Plus profile. It’s called Authorship. You know when you search for something and the results show a little photo of the author beside the meta-description, along with a few quick stats about that person’s Google Plus Circles? That’s Authorship.
It’s there because the company that runs the blog on which the article appeared was smart enough to include the URL for the author’s Google Plus page when they created their user profile for the blog. Make sure that you do this for everyone who contributes content to your website.
Authorship plays an important role in lending credibility to the content that you create. It makes it clear that your content is authentic, and it helps readers to get to know you and come to view you as an authority on the subject matter you present.
But it’s not the only thing you need to have in place. Your Google Plus account can end up becoming a desolate wasteland without an engaging, active profile.
Your Google Plus Profile
Make sure you take advantage of all the great features at your fingertips. Create a header image that fits your personality and make sure you add a high quality, professional headshot as your profile picture. If users visit your profile and see that you haven’t uploaded a photo, and your header image is the default collage of colors that Google provides to profile slackers, they aren’t going to take your content seriously.
After you have the imagery in place, start filling out every detail that you are allowed. In the “About” section, you have the ability to fill in tons of info about you. Let readers know who you are. Try to stay more on the professional side, but feel free to spice it up a bit to let your personality show. List info about your education, your professional experience, what qualifies you as an expert, links to other sites on which you are a contributor, and whatever else you feel users need to know.
Now that you are armed with Authorship and a dynamic profile, it’s time to get some followers in your circles. In order to make this happen, you need to treat Google Plus like a popularity contest.
Be One of the Cool Kids
Make sure you are interacting with others and your profile is active. If you just set up your Google Plus account and leave it dormant to collect dust, Google Plus users will ignore you and the content that you post. So play the game and join the conversation.
To increase the number of people following you in their circles, you will need to follow other Google Plus users first. When you follow another user, they will be notified via email. It’s highly likely that they are seeking to increase the value of their own profile, just like you are, so chances are that they will probably follow you back.
Unlike on Facebook, it’s not considered creepy to follow someone you don’t know. Google Plus is all about adding others to your circles that are talking about the same subjects and then joining in the conversation. Just make sure you aren’t following randomly. Have a plan. It’s ok to follow those you don’t know, but try to at least follow others that have similar interests and who might be likely to have interest in your posts.
Seems easy, right? Just follow a bunch of people, they follow you back and off you go. Not so much. The thing is, you need to then offer high quality content to those in your circles. Having a solid following in your circles is a good start, but if the users in your circles don’t see value in your content, it’s highly unlikely that they will engage.
Post High Quality Content
In order to get users engaging with the content that you post, make sure that you are posting the type of content that they are expecting at the level they are seeking. The more +1s, shares and comments that your Google Plus posts receive, the more valuable they become to you. So, since you are looking to get value like link equity and exposure from your posts, make sure you are giving value back to your users by providing them with content that speaks to them, helps them solve problems and offers some level of enrichment in their lives.
You’ll want to post your own blog articles, assuming they are high quality, but don’t stop there. It’s ok to share content from others. There are plenty of high quality blogs available, no matter what industry you are in. Let your followers know that you are actively reading articles from the leading authorities in your field by posting them with thought-provoking headlines. It adds credibility and keeps your followers coming back for more so they can ultimately end up clicking on the content that leads them back to your website.
With all these tips in your back pocket, you are well on your way to optimizing Google Plus to promote and amplify your content, but there’s one more trick I want to touch on before you leave me. It’s the email feature that Google recently added, and it will become your best friend (or at least a trusted marketing tool).
The Email Feature
When you post to Google Plus, you have a few options. You can post to your profile, or you can post to Google Plus communities. But what some Google Plus users overlook is the third way to get your content noticed.
Google has effectively made it possible for you to email anyone in your circles, even if you don’t have their email address. Scary? Definitely! But it’s also highly effective. Just click to check the little box at the bottom of your post that reads “Also send email your Circles” and each of the users in your circles will receive an email making them aware that you shared the post with them.
By utilizing this feature, you can ensure that your content will at least have a fighting chance by having it appear in your followers’ email inboxes. From there, it’s up to the user to follow the email through to the post, but at least you got that post in front of them.
There is a lot more to Google Plus, but the email feature and the other suggestions above will have you off to a good start. What other suggestions do you have to optimize Google Plus to amplify your content?
Anthony Gaenzle – Director of Marketing