Social Media is an important step in creating a marketing plan that will sell self-published books. With so many social media platforms to keep up to speed with, busy authors would be forgiven for neglecting Google+ and not perceiving it as a useful tool for promoting their books.
As time is such a precious commodity, getting to grips with a new platform and making time to get the most out of it could easily be put on the back burner.
Kath Dawson, creative director at Strategy Digital, and expert on Google+ for business, explains why it shouldn’t be dismissed as just another social media platform, and outlines simply how to get started in using Google+ as an extremely useful marketing tool.
Why Google Plus
Google+ presently has 1.5bn users and this number continues to grow. Why? Well the benefits of creating and growing a targeted Google+ presence include improved online visibility for business via search rankings, the ability to build and communicate with targeted audience groups, and reinforce your online reputation and presence by engaging with the right people.
How do you do this?
The Pluses Of Using Google Plus
Using Google+ is not only easy it also has real marketing and SEO benefits, including:
- Interconnectivity with Gmail, AdWords, Google Search, GoogleDrive, YouTube and Google Local
- Google+ content is indexed by Google within seconds making it a useful tool for improving search ranking with relevant content.
- The ability to share and edit high quality images and enhance this content using Google+ compatibleediting tools.
- The ability to group and contact people you follow in relation to specific interests
- Google Hangouts!
- Measurement of who is sharing what via Google+ Ripples.
- Identification of key influencers for engagement with on Google+ via Circle Count.
Follow these simple steps to create and build your Google+ following.
1. Set Out Your Stall
The most important decision to make when you set up Google+ is whether to create a page or a profile. A page is for a business or brand and a profile is for an individual person. It takes double the time to look after both a profile and a page so if time is limited create the one that is most important to you. If you are a consultant or if personal branding is important to you then create a profile and concentrate efforts there.
If you need to rank in local search or have a business or brand that you want to develop then create a page.
Hot tip: if you choose to create a page you can use a profile image of your face, rather than a brand logo, while you are getting established. People respond better to people so seeing a face as your brand will help you build engagement more effectively. You can switch it to a brand logo once you are more established on Google+.
People respond better to people so seeing a face
You need to create a profile first in order to then create a page but you don’t need to develop your profile at all, it’s just a functional step to get access to the next steps. Use Google My Business to easily create a page for your business or brand. This puts a pin in the Google Map, quite literally, which is really important for local search.
Whether you create a page or a profile take time to populate the ‘About Us’ section making it very clear what you have to offer and what people can expect by following you. In addition, complete your hovercard details and make sure your profile picture and cover images are strong. You should only need to set this up once but it’s worth taking the time to make it interesting and engaging as it shows you mean business.
2. Attract Attention
Begin building your presence on Google+ by posting content, regularly and consistently. Think of it as a mini blog in terms of content, and just like any other social media platform, don’t neglect design and branding. You want the page to reflect your brand’s personality and pique the interest of relevant Google+ users.
See the image above to see how to brand your Google Plus bio.
The right blend of content for attracting followers should include eye-catching and interesting images, guides, infographics, opinion and information driven content – series of content also work well. Keep everything as snappy and accessible as possible, as this makes it more sharable.
3. Move In The Right Circles
People you follow on Google+ can be sorted into circles. It’s vitally important that this sorting is given due care and attention so you can focus on the right people and cut out the noise. Begin by searching for and selecting the most relevant people to follow for your business; for example if you run a textile business, those with an interest in fashion and other related industries would make perfect additions to a network.
See the image below for an overview of followers and who is in which circle.
The nature of Google+ circles adds an extra dimension over other social media platforms in that it allows you to segment your audiences and only target them with content of specific interest to them. (See point 5. Common interests).
The image below shows how you can hover over the user you want to move to a circle, then tick an existing circle or click 'Create new circle'
Select contacts which have an affinity or shared interest with your business or operation, and look to add value to them with the content you share with them – which can also be an ice-breaker, providing them with the incentive to follow you.
Google will also rank your content based on the quality and relevance to those interacting with it, so getting the right people to engage can really help your search ranking as social SEO works in personalised search to get top positions.
Find out Kath's 3 ways for authors to use Google Plus.