2014 marks the third anniversary of Google’s foray into social media, Google+. Although initially a slow burner mostly used by industry professionals and the wider tech community, Google+ has gathered steam and should be a central part of your digital marketing strategy.
A basic principle of marketing, audience segmentation allows you to focus your campaigns more closely ensuring that they are reaching the right people. Google+ has made this easier to do, by giving users the option to sort their connections into different circles with the ability to control the posts that each circle can see. Through the use of Google’s Ripples feature, Google+ users can also see which of their connections are most influential and consider this in their marketing strategy.
Often likened to the Facebook ‘Like’ or Twitter re-tweet, the +1 is an endorsement mechanism that has far more weight behind it. Digital marketers are beginning to see the +1 as the pivotal link between their organic search activity and recommendations.
The +1 is an endorsement that can be used almost anywhere on the internet to show appreciation for content that you find interesting. This then acts as a powerful social signal for Google, alerting it to the fact that this content is relevant and valuable to real people.
Sharing And Curating Content
The Google+ interface is attractive and intuitive to use making it a superb platform for sharing valuable content. All types of content are supported including image, text, video and audio. With seamless integration with other platforms such as Picasa and Youtube, sharing great content is a simple one click process.
Google+ is also different to most social media networks as it doesn’t require you to crop or resize your images before posting them. Visual content is a huge boon to a marketing plan and traditionally attracts the most engagement from customers, Google+ gives businesses much more freedom when choosing which images to share as part of their digital marketing.
Like other social networks, Google+ uses searchable links in the form of hashtags allowing users to categorise and organise their posts. Using relevant hashtags on your Google+ posts will make them easier for other users to find, encouraging more +1’s and follows.
The hashtag feature on Google+ is slightly more advanced than on other platforms as it also allows users to search Facebook and Twitter and also suggests similar hashtags to the one the user has click on.
Google+’s hangouts is a video calling/ conference interface allowing multi-way conversations across multiple screens. With the added option of desktop sharing, hangouts allow brands to engage with their customers on a more personal basis.
Hangouts are useful for a number of reasons and can aid marketers in establishing their brand and status. A great application for the Google+ hangout is to deliver webinars, allowing a brand to build its customer base, increase loyalty and establish its position as a thought leader in its industry. It’s also a great tool for internal conversations and meetings where team members are not physically able to be in the same room.
Google’s +Post ads are a way of ‘amplifying your content and creating conversations across the web’. +Post Ads use existing content from your Google+ page and turn it into display adverts that run across Google’s ad service, accessing over two million web properties. Not only is this content relevant to the audience Google places it in front of, it actively directs them back towards your +1 page. +Post Ads let people comment, join a hangout, +1 or follow your brand right from within the ad, encouraging engagement with your brand.
There are some brilliant analytics tools that integrate with Google+ and give a comprehensive overview of all activity on your Google+ page. CircleCount was one of the first analytical tools to work with Google+ and continues to be a key player. The software tracks Google+ circles and has a database of influencers allowing users to make important connections on the network.
SumAll is another free, social media metrics tool that integrates with Google+. SumAll shows marketers information about published posts, post engagement and new Google+ followers all displayed in attractive visual representations.
Google+ is a powerful to use as part of a wider social media marketing strategy and complements activity on other networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. How do you use Google+ for your digital marketing? Tweet us @AuburnCreative or contact us through our own Google + page and let us know!