Google+ is one of the newer social media platforms, launched June, 2011 by Google Inc. However, in January 2013, Google+ beat Twitter to the coveted spot as second biggest social network, right after Facebook. Google+ has more than 500 million registered users and continues to grow and improve, which makes it the place to be if you have a business to promote.
One of the key features of Google+ is the fact that it allows users more control over personal information.
How to join Google+
If you have not joined Google+ yet, now is the time to do so:
1. Go to http://plus.google.com/, and if you have a Google account, you can use that to sign in. Alternatively, you will have to click on Join and complete some basic information and follow the prompts.
2. Once your account has been created, you can sign in to access and edit your profile.
It's as simple as that.
How to use Google+
If you have been using social networking for some time, you will easily find your way around Google+. However, we will explain some of the basic features that will benefit your Google+ marketing to you below.
The stream (the big centre column) shows the latest updates from people in your circle. There is a box for you to enter your own updates, photos and videos. You can use the filter option to show only updates from certain circles.
Google+ makes it easy for you to categorise contacts into certain groups from the outset, allowing you to share appropriate updates with the right circle.
There are 3 pre-defined circles on Google+, namely acquaintances, family and friends. However, however, you can add your own circles. Bear in mind that just because someone is in your circle, doesn't mean that you are in theirs.
Google+ has a messenger feature that allows for SMS communication on enabled devices, using instant messaging. You can send photos through this messenger, too.
Google+ Hangout allows users to do video chats with up to 10 people at a time. You need a unique URL to join into a video chat.
- +1 Button
The +1 button is one of the most popular features of Google+ and something that will be important to your marketing efforts. Like Facebook's Like button, the +1 button from Google+ allows users to add other contacts to Circles, but also allows for sharing and recommendation.
- Google+ Search
Users can use this function to find people and content on Google+, as well as on the world wide web.
If you have used Twitter, you will know all about hashtags. A hash tag # placed at the beginning of a word will hyperlink the word to the most recently trending Google+ search results for that word.
- Google+ Pages
Google+ allows you to set up a business profile, similar to Facebook Pages. It offers features that are geared specifically to businesses.
- Google+ Local
Google products are very integrated, which is great for business. Goole+ Local allows you to post reviews and photos of locations directly onto the page.
- Google+ Events
Add events, invite people and share updates, photos and videos in real time. Google Calendar automatically updates this feature.
- Google+ Communities
You can create ongoing conversations using Google+ Communities and manage it from your Pages account.
How to get traffic from Google+
Knowing the basics of a social media platform is not enough to get the most out of it. Below are some tips on how you can get traffic from Google+.
1. Optimise Your Profile
Complete profiles are paramount to getting traffic from social media. Be sure to optimise your profile with all your relevant keywords so that you can be found easily.
- Add a quality image that represents you or your business. This image is large on Google+, so it's important that all your images are of high quality.
- Write a keyword rich tagline to describe you or your business.
- Include keywords in your high-end introduction and bragging rights sections.
- Ensure that your contact details are correct so that people can contact you.
- Add links to your website and other social media profiles.
2. Increase the Circle
In order to get traffic from social media, you need to ensure that people are following you - the more the better.
Add Google+ widgets and the +1 button to your website to get people to add you and to +1 your posts. Remember, when people +1 your posts or your website, it shows up on the search results of their friends. That is a direct recommendation and establishes you as an authority.
When adding people to your circles, do remember to choose those who will find benefit in what you have to say. Direct your energy towards potential clients and partners. It is quality over quantity, all the way.
Be sure to share all your latest updates and blog posts on Google+ and include your link. You can write short comments that will entice people to want to read more and then make them click on the links. Remember to include a strong call-to-action, and encourage people to share it with their friends.
Also share posts of other people in your industry to boost community spirit. They will be more likely to share your posts in future. Engage with the community by commenting, and +1 interesting posts.
Google+ favours posts that are optimised. Posting optimised content ensures that you will get more traffic and since it enables Google to add hashtags, which makes it easy for users to find your posts. Optimised posts have a better chance to be found in Google Search. Use your best keyword in the first sentence of your post.
Start your own Google+ community and join other relevant communities. Regular posting and communication with other members is a great way to boost your list of followers, leading to more traffic to your site.
6. Hang out
By starting a hangout, you can broadcast live via a live webinar. Use this forum to direct people to your website and offer value. Let the webinar offer value and let your contacts know that they will gain even more from visiting your site. This is also a great way to build relationships with your followers.
Google+ is a great place to do visual media marketing. Google+ offers great image sizes. Use images and videos as a marketing tool and append links that steer traffic to your website.
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