With the launch of Google+ last summer, the integration of all its products into a single dashboard and the very recent acquisition of social media management firm Wildfire, it looks like Google is aiming for social media supremacy. One of the search behemoth’s wild cards in its battle with Facebook is undoubtedly the integration of Google+ with Google search results – which should be enough of a reason for companies not yet active on Google+, to at least consider setting up a business page.
Google+ engagement has been proven to have potential SEO benefits – not surprisingly, Google’s very own social website has the strongest correlation with search rankings . But what is less known is that businesses can effectively harness the platform for lead generation, too.
Did you know Google+ could help you generate more leads?
Making it happen is actually not a rocket science. According to HubSpot, the trick is to accompany any content you post on Google+ – from text descriptions to visuals – with a link back to a landing page on your website, which will enable conversion.
Here are some tips from HubSpot’s e-book, 6 Ways to Generate Leads From Google+ which HubSpot claim come straight from the Google+ kitchen:
1. Share Compelling Content
Posting compelling updates that include links back to your website is, according to HubSpot, the most organic way of using Google+ for lead generation. A snippet or a teaser of content on Google+ opens the door for audience engagement and discussions, and is yet another way of stirring up people’s attention and driving them to your website, where you can capture their details and convert them into leads.
Chocolate manufacturer and London Olympics sponsor Cadbury, for instance, posted a call-to-action on their Google+ page to their “Win a Cadbury Hamper” campaign, with a snippet of the question and a link to a landing page. The user is then asked to provide the right answer, after which they can enter the competition by completing a form. A clever and engaging way of creating brand loyalty by offering users an incentive and taking them straight to a dedicated landing page. Within hours of being posted, this update had received 77 +1s and 77 comments.
The key here is to know how to create compelling landing pages and calls-to-action that will drive action!
2. Optimise the timing and frequency of your updates
Just as it is important to find the right type of content that will really strike a chord with your target audience, it is also critical to know when and how often to post updates. HubSpot recommends that you space your updates out so that users who follow your brand don’t get overwhelmed. In fact, that is what marketers would do on other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, for the reasons mentioned above.
3. Make your posts personal and better targeted
Just like Twitter, Google+ has its own vernacular, which allows you to make your engagement more personal and better targeted. The hashtag – “#” – immediately followed by a keyword, makes updates easier to find, while the “+” sign directly followed by a person’s name allows companies to speak directly to other users by tagging them.
Let’s look at an example of how leading tech news site Mashable makes use of these symbols. And note the impressive engagement indicators – 461 +1s and 103 shares!
HubSpot points out that by mentioning other Google+ users and pages in your posts your update is likely to appear in search results when people look for them on Google+ – something which gives your content even greater reach.
4. Optimise visual content for lead generation
Visual content, such as images and videos, rules the roost in social media, and Google+ is no exception. Besides text descriptions, you can add a link directly to an image (be it the cover photo, the profile image or a picture update) or a video, making it possible for users to click through to the landing page. Adding a link to the visual content, along with the text description, only increases the chances of Google+ users visiting your landing page.
One thing to watch out for is using a compelling and concise call-to-action to increase the chance of people clicking through.
And why not surprise users with a unique approach to visuals to make your Google+ page stand out? Recently it became possible to use cinemagraphs, and trendy apparel retailer Forever21 has instantly taken advantage, featuring an animated GIF on its Google+ cover.
Given the clear SEO and conversion opportunities that a Google+ business page has to offer, every business needs to consider the potential business benefits of engaging on what is the fastest growing social network. A pinch of inspiration from businesses that have got it right and a bit an understanding of the platform’s intricacies can make you a Google+ lead generation high-flyer. The only ingredient left is a dollop of lead generation best practices. Get it now and add it to the mix with our Essential Guide to Online Lead Generation.