Improve Your Social Media Strategy

social media strategyAs social signals continue to play a more integral part in SEO, it’s clear that the best time to get started on Google+ is yesterday. We were lucky to catch a few moments with Louisville, Kentucky-based Interactive Marketing Consultant Jonathan Payne. For more on his thoughts on why businesses can’t neglect a Google+ presence, check out his IMA guest post The Huge Misconception Plaguing Google+.

Why did you decide to develop a strong presence on Google+?

I know Google has been down this route before and they’ve seen more than enough failures when it comes to social networks.  A lot of people still continue to toss Google+ aside because of Google’s history with social networks.  But as I read more and more about the structure, functionality, and purpose of Google+ as a social layer connecting all things Google, I became more confident this network was here to stay.  Combining that with the overall landscape of social media today, Google+ has found itself in the right place at the right time, in my opinion.

In my capstone marketing course, my group chose Google+ for our final research project.  Needless to say, conducting a marketing research study and analyzing the social media industry and Google+ enough to write a 30-page research paper only solidified my opinions of the social network.  The overall connectedness of Google+ is something no other social network has, the privacy settings are top-notch, there is no better parent company than Google, and the list goes on and on.

Apart from all that, the SEO impacts of authorship are only going to be more important in the future and, as a content marketer in some respects, I think being on the ground floor of Google+ is going to be a big deal in the future.

How often do you post?

I can’t say I have a set posting schedule for Google+.  I treat it a lot like my Facebook fan page and email list – if I don’t have something meaningful to say, I say nothing.  I rarely make updates for the sake of making an update.  On average, though, I would say I post anywhere from 5-7 times per week.

What are your tips for not being spammy on G+?

Google+ has some great features and, unfortunately, they’re being abused.  As Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Marketers ruin everything.”  That’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it does seem to be “marketers” spamming the most.  And I put the word marketers in quotes for a reason!

The two most common ways I’ve seen people spam on Google+ are sending random community invites and directly sharing posts with people (even worse when that includes sending an email).  I’m honestly not sure why people continue to do that, as they’re much more likely to get their profile suspended or banned.

Can you think of any examples of brands using G+ correctly?

Well, I’m no authority to determine the correct way of using Google+, but I think the auto industry as a whole (Ferrari in particular) has done an exceptional job adopting Google+.  Apart from that, I haven’t been incredibly impressed by the brand presence on the network, though there are a few companies and organizations that have stood out to me.

Google+ is prime real estate for a company like ESPN, since the Google+ demographic is so male-dominated.  They’ve had hangouts with athletes and analysts in the past, which is pretty cool.  Sony has done a fairly good job with Playstation as well and I think Samsung also has a strong presence.

How can companies motivate a disengaged user base to interact with their content?

Unfortunately for us social media marketers, you can’t force people to talk.  I think the best way is to personalize the brand and make the best use of personal profiles as possible.

In my experiences, it’s much more difficult to get people interacting with my Google+ page compared to my personal profile.  So, I tend to use my personal profile to closely tie things in with my brand and most of the connections for my Google+ page are actually driven from my connections on my personal profile.

The openness between personal profiles and company pages is something Facebook doesn’t really have, so I think companies would be wise taking advantage of that on Google+.

This is a difficult task for huge companies, since it’s probably not wise to let your employees run wild representing the brand (unless you’ve got it down like IBM does!).  However, I think this is where it becomes crucial to have your CEO and other top level management personnel active on social media – the face of your company is there for a reason and, as they say, people do business with people.

Jonathan Payne (@SocialGamePlan) is the Interactive Marketing Specialist at Strategexe Consulting Group. He is also the founder of the digital marketing blog, My Social Game Plan.

image credit: kittasak/