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.
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
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
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
Be responsive: Keep the conversation going.
Ask questions: The best way to stir up conversation is with a question.
Thank your supporters: Who doesn’t love shout-outs?
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.
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.
Run exclusive promotions: Launch products here first to make your customer feel like the insiders with special discounts and inside scoops.
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.
Learn from others: Follow other G+ pages and see what they’re doing right and perhaps wrong. Creativity is infectious.
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.
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:
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.
Article Credit: http://blog.hootsuite.com/google-best-practices-brands/