Google+ seems to have found its niche as a social media channel on the web. No longer dependent on apples-to-oranges comparisons to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is permeating mail inboxes and blogs, coming up in search histories, and being used as an important business networking tool.

Whether you own an eCommerce or a brick-and-mortar business, utilizing Google+ as a networking and media tool is a smart strategy. With well over one-hundred-million active users, Google+ is ranked as one of the world’s top social media websites; however, their algorithm goes far beyond the conventional features of “sharing and liking” content.

In this article, I share 5 strategies that you can easily implement in your Google+ regimen to increase the engagement of your followers and help your customers find you on the web.

1 – Make Your Profile Photos Personal

If you want to stand out to authority brands in your niche, your profile must look professional. While you may be tempted to use a brand logo or even a nice picture of your family, I advise using a headshot in your personal profile picture. Present yourself as an expert that someone else would want to follow.

You’ll also need to optimize the cover photo of your profile. Google+ provides you with a lot of real estate for this image, so you’ll want to take full advantage of this space. Refrain from using arbitrary scenic pictures, and instead create a customized photo that visually represents your personal story. Here are some additional tips that you can use to create the perfect profile picture:

  • Make the dimensions of your cover image 2120 x 1192
  • Briefly describe the mission statement of your brand
  • If you’re a small business owner, you should always have a picture of your face in your personal profile photo

2 – Create A Compelling Story

Take the time to create a profile that encapsulates the story of your brand.

Telling your story will make your profile more authentic and appealing to others. Google indexes the keywords and links that you put in your profile, so it’s important to take the time time to fill out each of the following categories with accurate and compelling information:

  • Tagline: Provide a succinct description of your company. This should only be a couple of sentences long.
  • Introduction: This is where you want to elaborate on the backstory of your brand. Include plenty of information on how your company is different from the other competitors in your niche.
  • Bragging Rights: This isn’t the place to go on a tangent about everything that you and your company have accomplished. The majority of accolades should be incorporated into the “Introduction” of your story. Limit your Bragging Rights to just a few sentences.

Your story should be authentic to your company and brand. Refrain from using excessive keywords and links, as it will do nothing but impede your search rankings.

3 – Start Adding Contacts To Your Circles

The more profiles you follow, the better chance that they’ll follow you back. Unlike many other popular social channels, Google+ doesn’t publicize the amount of people that you follow, but it does showcase the amount of people that follow you. Having a large volume of followers enhances both your credibility and status on this social media channel.

The more people you add to your circles, the more likely they are to follow you back. If you’re new to Google+, then you should start building your circles after you optimize your personal profile. To start adding people in Google+, click the “People” button in the top right side of the homepage. You’ll see a long list of people that you can add to your circles. Google+ gives you the option to segment your followers into various categories, though this feature is not publicized and nobody can see the circles in your profile.

It’s not necessary to spend excessive time meticulously classifying all of your friends, colleagues, and fellow alumni; however, you should make sure that you’re adding new people to relevant circles in your profile.

Once you have established 10 to 20 connections, you’ll notice the “See More Suggestions” tab appear on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This is where Google+ showcases a list of profiles who exhibit similar attributes to those already in your circle. Using this feature can expand your following in a relatively short amount of time.

When you add someone to your circles, they’ll receive a notification. If you’re one of the many faceless profiles on Google+, there will be a nominal chance that your request will be accepted. If you’ve optimized your profile with interesting images and a story, then you’re much more likely to gain a new follower.

4 – Create A Content Posting Regimen

The more actively you post on Google+, the faster you’ll gain a solid set of followers. Some niches are more passionate than others. The frequency of your content will largely depend on the engagement levels of your audience. Before you start blasting out content, examine some of the authority brands in your niche. In order to create a content regimen that maximizes engagement, you’ll want to think about and map out the following:

  1. Frequency – how often are your competitors posting each day?
  2. Trends – what particular topics resonate with their followers most?
  3. Time – what times of the day seem to generate the most engagement?

An afternoon’s worth of research will give you a general baseline for what your content posting regimen might look like. Try and diversify your content by using text, images, videos, and links. Above all else, create content that resonates with the core needs of your audience, and you’ll continue to build an engaged following.

5 – Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For “ 1’s”

If you’re posting valuable content, don’t be apprehensive to ask for a +1. Similar to “share” or “retweet”, a +1 will increase the visibility of your posts.

Calls-to-action are an integral part of any marketing campaign. Obviously, you’ll want to ensure that your content is worth sharing with other people in your circle. You can post content from your blog, landing pages, and any other one of your personal web properties, and the +1 feature can help you extend the reach of that content, in turn improving your sales conversions and boosting SEO results.

Closing Thoughts

Google+ is a simple, effective tool for small businesses and marketers that will likely continue to evolve as one of the premier social media sites on the web, and building a reputable profile is important for generating more subscribers on your website or other social media channels.

Having a professional profile linked to your Google account(s) will increase your visibility in all of Google’s platforms (including Maps and search engine rankings). Use the above give strategies as a guide map for helping build a relevant and engaged list of prospects and potential customers.