Google Plus to Grow CommunityDo you have a business that is ready get the exposure it’s been looking for online? Have you taken the time to set up your Google + profile?

It may not have been a top priority to create a Google + profile when there’s already Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and tons of other social networking sites; Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare popping up, but it’s safe to say that Google + is here to stay.

It’s no secret that Google is the top search engine and Google + reported at least 500 million users, with over 2/3 of them being active. Now that’s a lot of users, and with these users comes a huge percentage of potential customers and sales. It’s no wonder that so many will undergo SEO campaigns and create strategies to rank the highest in google search results for their markets they participate in.

Did you know that the posts you share on Google + are indexed by Google’s search engine? If you’re sharing content and posts about for instance, home cleaning services in California, when someone searches home cleaning services in California, you’re more likely to show up since you’re sharing posts and content about just that.

Also, with social media links being given more weight than in the past, your ability to rank above your competitors is going to rely much heavier on social than it did in the past. For this post, I’m going to focus on leveraging Google + to help grow your company community online and help you rank higher and be in the spotlight above your competition.

So how do you use Google + to grow your company community? I’ll outline several steps that are easy to follow and will help you use Google + to grow your community.

1) Create your company page

  • First, create your company profile and add relevant photos and information so page visitors will understand who you are and what you offer.
  • Make sure to add relevant keywords and terms so you can show up in search results.
  • Add photos that help tell your company’s story and add value to the page.

2) Utilize what you already have

  • Have your employees and business relationships/partners on Google + add you to their circles.
  • Ask them to start engaging on your page and generate some conversation and activity.
  • Your current community is a great asset to help get your company initial exposure and they’re already knowledgeable on your company, they can help recommend you to their circles as well.
  • If your company is engaging in a guest posting strategy, it’s a good idea for them to engage in Google Authorship. By having a link to your company Google + in their own account, that can help drive traffic to the company page, as well as identify your employers as thought leaders in the industry.

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Authorship, click here.

3) Connect across platforms

  • Connect your Google + across your various platforms; website, Twitter, Facebook, ect. are all connected to your Google +. If traffic is already being driven to one, by having a link to your Google + page, you have an opportunity to drive traffic there as well.
  • If your company is engaging in social activity; forum posts, blog commenting, guest posting, be sure to include a link to your Google + page when possible.

4) Find relevant and interactive communities

  • Search for communities that are both relevant to your company’s demographics and that are interactive.
  • Interactive communities will be a good place to get ideas for content to share on your page as well as a good opportunity to listen.
  • Listen to what is driving the conversation; see who is driving the conversation, and what your audience really values and wants to be social about.
  • Listening helps you understand the type of content to share and how to drive the conversation.
  • Active and relevant communities are also great places to find content to re-share and individuals to build relationships with.

5) Content Sharing

  • The type of content you share and the schedule in which you share your content is critical to a community’s growth. By listening to and understanding the type of content your community values; as mentioned above, you’ll know the kind of content to share.
  • Create a schedule of sharing content daily to help gain a community of return visitors.
  • Share content that isn’t sales driven but helpful, engaging, and educational. No one wants to hear sales pitch after sales pitch.
  • Share content related to your communities interest, not just your own.
  • Create opportunities for interaction on your posts by asking for questions or feedback.

6) Take advantage of Google Hangouts

  • Use Google + hangouts to create hot spots for discussion and peer to peer interaction.
  • Much like webinars and tweetchats, Google + Hangouts are a great way to offer value to your audience as well as stand out in your community as a place to helpful content and information.
  • You can record the conversations to add to your YouTube channel to help boost your company’s video content.
  • Visit the Google + hangouts page to see which live hangouts are happening and see if there’s any going live that you can jump into to get to know your audience better.

7) Create a community

  • Much like sponsoring an event within your niche, creating a community is a great way to identify your company as a thought leader in the industry.
  • Creating a community is a great way to keep a close eye on what’s happening in the market.
  • Positions your company as a brand that wants to give value back to your community.
  • Make your group public but on an approval to join basis so you can cut back on spammers.

You’re next

From creating a page to taking advantage of all the social possibilities that Google + offers, these tips can do a lot to help you position your company in a way that will enable you to grow your company community. Google + helps you establish your credibility, improve your visibility and both grow/nurture your community.

Did you find these tips helpful? Have you used any of them yourself? What Google + features have you used that you found to be beneficial in helping grow your company community? Please leave a comment and let everyone know!

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