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.
Here Kath explains how authors can use Google Plus ...
1. Get Creative
As mentioned in how to set up your author profile, the strength of your content and how well it matches the interests of those you want to attract, is key. Google+ won’t tolerate spammy content which spouts sales and marketing messages, so creating and sharing brief informative and attractive content is vital.
Anything highly visual which also serves a purpose, adds value to the reader and is therefore sharable, is vital. If needed, putting extra effort and resource into sourcing images and designing content will pay dividends, as will catchy headlines and opening lines for posts.
When building content to interest specific groups or circles, it also helps to review the kind of content those followers are sharing, what topics they’re discussing and questions being asked in order to gain some inspiration.
Circle Count is a great tool for identifying influencers and model profiles to help you get an idea.
2. Common Interests
Grouping target contacts into relevant circles is the best way of ensuring your content is shared, commented on or+1’d (Google+’s equivalent to ‘like’). As you work out who your content is resonating with you can group them into ‘new engager’ and ‘increased engager’ circles to begin with, and also into interest groups relating to different topics of content you are sharing.
3. Avoid Noisy Circles
Your stream will get very noisy very quickly if you follow lots of people so adjust your circle notifications so your stream show you what is important to see – that is content from people who engage with you. Engage with them too and they are more likely to keep resharing your content and become a brand advocate for you.
Adjust notifications by going to ‘Home’ at the top of the left hand menu. Then look along the top edge, just under the search box and you will see the names of your circles. Click on each circle to see the posts from the people in that circle – this makes it really easy to find the best content to reshare and ensure you keep up engagement with the people who are most important to you.
Sharing brief informative and attractive content is vital
Click on the cog to adjust notifications (on/off) and adjust how much content you see in your stream. You can easily get overwhelmed with notifications so try turning them off except for a very select ‘notify’ circle.
The increased engagement begins here, as you can enquire whether those who have shared certain content want to be notified when new similar content is posted. To do this you can invite people to interact with your post by them adding a +1 or comment to establish their interest – you can then move these people into an ‘opt-in’ circle. It’s like creating your very own segmented email lists.
4. Community Spirit
Save yourself a lot of time and effort by NOT creating your own community, but by instead engaging in existing communities. There are thousands of them so do some searching to see what communities exist. Hot tip: Smaller communities are often more engaged so try to find them, don’t just join the communities with big numbers as many have become riddled with link droppers.
The best communities are ones with posts that have plus 1s, comments and re-shares of posts rather than lots of posts with no engagement.
5. Author Hangouts
Hangouts on Air are the secret weapon of Google+, think Skype video call with online chat published live on YouTube. You can set up an event at a specific time inviting up to nine separate guests, to discuss anything you wish, and promote this to your audience who can attend and interact through chat on the event thread.
This further increases your audience engagement as well as creating unique content that you can continue to promote into the future. Examples of good hangout use, either for engagement or posted content, include; regular industry discussion shows and Q & A sessions, pre-recorded webinars and interactive ‘how to’ videos.
This image below is an example of The Washington Post hosting a hangout.
Read Kath's post on how to set up your author profile.