Google+ is not just a Facebook competitor. Google sees it as a core layer to its web assets.
It is embedded in and across all Google’s web assets including Gmail, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube. Google+ was designed and developed from day one to be visual, integrated and mobile optimized.
As it has grown in popularity it needs to be taken more seriously by marketers. What is now the second largest social network should no longer be seen as an afterthought.
Google+ is about relevant content
Google’s objectives for Google+ are led by the key goal of improving user experience. This includes using the social network to improve the search results by serving up online content that is relevant, recent and accurate. It means providing content on the search results page that best meets the users expectations.
Social proof improves search engine performance
That is why the “+1 button” is important. It is social proof of what content people find valuable as they use the web, read blogs and share online. This adds to the accuracy of the search engine software.
This social proof feeds into mathematical equations used by Google’s computer servers to continue to make its search engine pertinent and as useful as possible to seekers of information online on a social web. So how content works on Google+ will be a bit the same as Facebook but with some twists.
So what are the top content activities on Google+?
Research from a GlobalWebIndex study reveals that the top content activities on Google plus are:
- Uploading and sharing photos
- Clicking a Google+ “+1 button” to vote on what content they like
- Watching video clips created by other users
- Sharing links to blogs
- Watching full length TV or films
- Sharing a link to an article
5 principles of optimum content activities on Google+
Here are 5 principles to keep in mind when creating, publishing and promoting content on Google+.
1. Focus on visual content
Images, photos, and videos are vital for Google+ content sharing.
2. Make it educational
Google+ is much more about learning and educating than Facebook. People tend to be more serious and want deeper and more insightful content than pictures of puppies and cats.
3. Include regular and consistent content updates
Content posting frequency is dependent on your industry. Entertainment and media type sites that are about news and entertainment will require multiple updates on Google+ every day. Businesses to business sites don’t need that level of intensity; so once a day may be enough. Be prepared to experiment and see what works best for your brand.
4. Make your Google+ sharing button prominent
Include a Google+ sharing button on your blogs and websites: This makes it easy for people to share your content.
5. Use Google+ Hangouts
These can be used to share your most valuable content. It can be public or private.
- Question and answer sessions
- Running workshops
Learning how to market on Google plus by applying these tactics and principles can improve your social media marketing.
Business brand content best practice tactics
There are many types of businesses that are struggling to market with Google+, they can be business that sell to businesses (B2B) or those that deal directly with consumers (B2C). They can be small, medium or large. They can be businesses that are creative or they could be knowledge and industrial industries. Personal brands are also marketing effectively on Google+.
Some people think that your organisation may have no place on social networks or Google+ because the content may seem to be potentially boring. So how do you market your content on Google plus?
Let’s look at some case studies to get you thinking and maybe even inspire you. Here are how both “business” and “personal brands” market with content on Google+
Case Study #1. Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Entertainment is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company and is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies. They are home to the Avengers and Iron Man series and many other well known super hero brands.
They have over 3 million followers on Google+
1. Offer a special limited time offer
Media and the entertainment industry that sell to the consumer finds that competitions and special offers are enticing and tempting ways to get fan engagement.
Here is an example of this tactic.
2. Ask a question
If you want to drive engagement, ask questions. In this update it also links back to the Marvel website driving traffic to their online asset.
Case Study #2. General Electric
General Electric is a huge industrial and technology juggernaut on Google+ with over 500,000 followers. They know how to use Google+ to make their brand interesting. Despite being a B2B brand that marketers sometimes view as not sexy enough for social media they display some great tactics for using content on Google+.
1. Reveal exclusive behind the scenes while involving passionate fans
Involve passionate fans in your content creation and reward and share their content. Here is how GE is involving their fans and sharing behind the scenes images at one of their industrial facilities. This content can also be educational.
2. Have some visual fun
Who said that Google+ was serious? Here is an example of content that is fun and uses a quote in a visual format. Look at the number of “+1’s” and shares.
Personal brand content best practice tactics
Bloggers, authors, artists and passionate creators of visual, multi-media, and text content can be powerful personal online brands. Those that understand the power of the social networks can accelerate and enhance their brand through effective content marketing tactics.
Here are some to consider and maybe emulate.
Case study #1. Trey Ratcliff – photographer
Trey is a photographer from Queenstown, New Zealand who just happens to have over 6 million Google+ followers. His content is visual, compelling and contagious. This is what you should strive for.
Here are a couple of examples of how he uses content on Google+ to great effect.
This hangout is about how to create great sunset photographs. This illustrates the importance of the key principle of educational content.
Hashtags are now almost a universal categorisation tool that started on Twitter and now is used across all the major social networks in Google+ and Facebook. This helps people discover and share your content and ride on the back of hot trends. Here is how Trey does this with a trending global hashtag, #Sunsetday.
Case Study #2. Jamie Oliver – chef
Jamie is a well known celebrity chef that loves sharing healthy and easy to make recipes. He has over 1.8 million followers on Google+.
1. How To’s
Adding value to people’s lives by showing them how to do something is always a certain winner in content creation on Google+ (and other social networks). Here is the compelling and tempting photo (visual format), with the link to his website which reveals how to make a Pasta Peperonta.
2. Multi-media content – Video
Running a competition that showcases your followers is a sure way to make your content flow over the web. Here he has used multi-media content via a video to announce the final five in a competition.
Creativity and imagination go a long way
So have some fun with your content creation on Google+ and don’t forget to educate, entertain, inform and make it visual.
Remember it’s all about your audience not you.
How are you using Google+? Is it driving traffic to your website or blog? Is it about creating engagement for your personal or business brand?
Look forward to reading about your insights and experiences in the comments below.