OK, you’ve built a Google Plus Page for your brand. Now what?
There are a number of ways your Page can boost your visibility online, if you take care to engage with your readers. In that respect it is just like any other form of social media, but Plus does provide a few additional advantages. Why don’t we take a look at a few of them?
Circles allow you to target your posts to particular groups or audiences. This can rapidly become a very useful tool due to the ease with which you can segment your content. Special offers can be shared with VIP customers, and intra-team communication, support for online customers, and more can all be dealt with easily by maintaining and sharing to the proper circles.
When you make a post it can be public (anyone, including search engines, can see it), or limited to one or more Circles and individuals. Your Team Members circle, for instance, can be used to handle internal communications, while your Online Customers Circle can be used to share online-only promotions or to administer rewards programs.
Some circles I usually build for brand Pages include Brand Advocates, Team Members, Industry News, Influencers, Online Customers, In-Store Customers, Vendors, Partners, VIPs. These may vary depending on what your brand is, but those are the ones I find myself using on the broadest array of Pages.
Choose your audience circles wisely.
Too Much Notification
Something else to look out for is the use of notifications. Yes, they’re useful, but it is far too easy to yield to temptation and overuse them to the point that they’re spam.
When you make a post you will see a small checkbox at the bottom asking if you want to notify the people in the circles you are posting to. Most of the time this is the wrong thing to do. These people are in your Circles and will see it in their feed. Clicking the notification box make Google send them an email notifying them about the new content. This can become very aggravating when you’re on the receiving end. I’ve unfollowed a number of Pages that I would have stayed with had they not felt the need to send notifications with every post. Use them sparingly.
Are you holding a book signing, a pub crawl, or a charity crawfish boil? Creating events from your Page has a lot of advantages.
- Full integration with Google Calendar — one click and it’s added to their Google calendar and notifications are set up!
- Real-time photo stream of the event and mobile integration — all attendees can add their photos to the common event album directly from their mobile devices and in real time
- Automatic email reminders
- Events On Air allows your event to go public with video (I’ll talk more about this under Hangouts)
- Hangout Integration — easily schedule and host virtual meetings and events accessible via desktop or mobile devices
One thing that gives many marketers fits about Google Plus Pages is that they are purely opt-in. This means that if you have not +1ed a Page it cannot tag you in posts or otherwise interact unless you initiate it. This is also one big reason that users love it.
One way to leverage your page is to use it to create a Google Community for the topics it addresses. People interested in that topic will join up and it will give you a great starting point for engagement. I do tabletop game design on the side, so when Communities debuted I made a point of creating one for the primary game I work on. Now, a year or so later, I’ve got a thriving community of more than 4,500.
Think about it this way. Your brand is pertinent to a lot of people with common interests. Many of them may not have much desire to +1 your Page, even if they do run across it. Those same people, however, may join a community discussing that same interest. The interactions you have with them as the moderator are what will drive them to check out your page, and they are more likely to +1 it as they have already begun a relationship with you as the moderator.
Video is certainly one of Google’s strengths, not a suprise coming from the owners of YouTube. With Hangouts they kick it up a notch.
- Virtual Meetings — whether it’s with staff or clients, don’t let geography impact attendance
- Live Events — originate a Hangout On Air from your Page in order to broadcast an event with up to 10 participants and unlimited viewers. Once the event is over, the video automatically archives to the connected YouTube account.
- Brand Oriented News Segments — Share recent news and advances in your area of interest. This is a great way to follow the 80/20 Rule (post about your area of interest and other people 80% of the time and your own products and services 20% of the time).
- Interviews — A good way to engage an influencer is to ask them to do an interview. This also helps to engage their audience while introducing them to yours. Done correctly these are a win/win.
These are merely the basics, a starting point for those of you just starting off. Google has extensive instructions online, as well as a wealth of third party tutorials available, all just a simple search away.
George "Loki" Williams is the community and brand manager for award wining game company Savage Mojo, Ltd. and the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content and online communications. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters, Kobold Press, and Kaiser Permanente. His work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, The Gambit Weekly, and NOLA.com, among others.