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Google Plus Best Practices for Brands

By Sam Milbrath | 2 years ago | 6 Comments

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In part 1 “Google+ for Brands: 4 Reasons your Brand Should Be on it”, we learned that over 500 million people are connecting in Google+ and that the network draws the second largest active follower-base after Facebook. And if that isn’t enough, we discussed the top 4 value propositions for having your brand present on Google Plus: Better discovery, deeper engagement, increased marketing performance across the web and measurable impact.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s pretend you are the owner of a cafe with a budding social media presence (these tips work for any size of business). Now that you understand the importance of being in G+, the next step is to build an effective strategy and attract an interactive community.

In this post, discover Google+’s checklist for building a successful strategy and our 9 tips for effectively engaging with your community. Together, these make up our Google+ best practices for brands.

Did you know that HootSuite’s integrated with Google+ Pages? Learn more

Google+’s Checklist for a Successful Social Strategy:

  • Create a Google+ Page

  • Verify your Page

  • Enable social extensions within AdWords

  • Claim your custom URL

  • Assign Page managers (you can only comment as a user)

  • Add the G+ Badge to your site

And finally…

  • Post exclusive content

  • Grow your follower base

  • Engage with your community

Once you’ve established solid foundations of your Google+ page, you can begin to strategize around what kind of content will resonate best with your follower base.

But before skipping over your cafe’s account setup, here’s a little Google+ insight: “Mashable experienced a jump in followers after rolling out the Google+ badge on their homepage, which increased its Google+ page audience by 38 percent. Mashable also uses the +1 button on articles and across the site to empower sharing to Google+.” In short, add the G+ badge to your cafe’s website.

Google+ Exclusive Content

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Photographs of beautifully crafted lattes… whether you’re against it or not, they will always attract likes. Photo by Sam Milbrath

Sharing attractive and rich content goes hand-in-hand with growing your follower base and engaging with your community. But what kind of content have G+ users come to expect? The most engaging rich media on the network are beautiful photos, inspiring videos and informative charts and infographics. Use this rich media to catch people’s attention and make them more likely to share and interact with your brand.

Beyond that, post often and keep it fresh and timely (just like your coffee). Every time you post, your cafe is brought back to the top of everyone’s mind. Plus, the more you post, the more Google search visibility your brand has.

That being said, not every post needs to be about your brand or even linked back to your site. Use these status updates to teach others what you already know, offer help, align your brand with other specialists and help spread your insight and opinion.

For example, sending out weekly industry facts or tips and tricks will entice your followers to want to check your updates. Try sharing your cafe’s secret recipes or social media tips for coffee lovers. Or, why not host a weekly competition with brand perks? People love discounts, gifts and prizes ~ especially if treats are involved.

Target your Audience

When adding people to Google+, you can choose what “circle” to put them in. Just like in life, your cafe’s customers could also be your friends or they could be just customers or even co-workers. Segment your audience into these different circles and deliver content that would be interesting to or relevant for them. You wouldn’t send that to your mom, would you?

Our 9 Tips for Engaging with your G+ Community

  1. Be responsive: Keep the conversation going.

  2. Ask questions: The best way to stir up conversation is with a question.

  3. Thank your supporters: Who doesn’t love shout-outs?

  4. Poll your audience to +1 or comment: Ex. which coffee do you like the best? +1 your fave! Quick and easy engagement, plus you can poll your audience (the customer) on a particular product.

  5. Share insider content: What makes your G+ different than Facebook or Twitter? Give your customer content that they won’t find anywhere else, and watch your follower base grow in time.

  6. Run exclusive promotions: Launch products here first to make your customer feel like the insiders with special discounts and inside scoops.

  7. Do something weekly: Host weekly hangouts or hold customer service sessions at a specific time every week. This generates sustained interest and keeps them coming back for more – depending on the quality of the content.

  8. Learn from others: Follow other G+ pages and see what they’re doing right and perhaps wrong. Creativity is infectious.

  9. Cross promote: Promote your G+ Page on your website and use your other social networks to leverage followers.

Engage with your Community

In part 1, we discussed the benefits of Google+ Hangouts and Communities, but let’s dive into how your brand can make the most of these meeting places.

G+ Hangouts

Internally, you could host a Hangout with your cafe employees and buyers from around the world. This could be a fun team building or on-boarding activity, or educational product, sales, marketing or customer service meeting; whatever the occasion.

Externally, your cafe could host a Hangout that introduces the coffee makers to the loyal customers. Or, hangout and discuss how to make that picture perfect latte. The benefits of Hangouts for your brand are clear, but this may not be reciprocated with your customer. Get creative and make your customers want to hangout with you.

Here’s a cool example of diving deep into G+ Hangouts:

G+ Communities

Google+ communities are filled with socially savvy people who share all kinds of interests. Search “coffee” in the communities tab and join in on the conversations. Use your social media etiquette in here though; don’t just plug your cafe. Add to the discussion, ask questions and be human. Prefer to moderate the community? Create your own and guide the conversation wherever you’d like.

Stay tuned as we roll out more best practices to help you and your business better navigate social media’s expansive universe. Did you know that HootSuite’s integrated with Google+ Pages? Learn more.

And be sure to follow HootSuite on Google+.

Did you know that HootSuite’s integrated with Google+ Pages? Learn more

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10 comments
Randy Milanovic
Randy Milanovic

Can't believe I just found this engagement tip list Sam. Bookmarked for clients.Has it been updated since?

tamccann
tamccann

Sam,


Great post.  Given all the changes with G+ and Google search and author rank...would be great time for an update and/or links to other posts that address this for brands.


Best,


T.A. McCann (founder of Rival IQ)

Date2Relate
Date2Relate

Hi Sam. We're formulating our Google+ strategies for launch and your two posts on Google+ have helped us focus our needs and aims. Thank you! 

RmSorg
RmSorg

EXcellent tips on using such a powerful tool and SM platform!!

RMSorg

WallStreetBranding


Caryn Bellanca
Caryn Bellanca

Hi! I’ve started using G+ a month ago. Firstly I’ve checked all my information. Filled it all in G+ and then started to look into it more deeply. It helped to be in touch with the whole world, hope that for my business it will be useful too.

Arvid
Arvid

You can also comment as a Page, referring to the line in the text where it is noted that you can only comment as a user.

J.D.
J.D.

How do you claim your custom URL? Also, how do you merge your G+ page with local business listings? Great article! Thanks.

Mitch Gallant
Mitch Gallant

WOW! Thanks for all the tips. Didn't realize that linking adwords for social extensions would allow to pick a page name. Thanks for the piece to share to our team!

George @ Optimization
George @ Optimization

yes Google plus really gives benefits to brands , but i suggest you while creating Google plus profile or page for your brand complete all the important information in the profile like url, links, description and other important points which Sam mentioned in this post. But i also wants to add additional points in this article, Merge your Google plus page and your local business listing(Google maps listing) so that your business looks more authentic.