Google + may not be the first platform you think of when creating a social media strategy. But if you’re overlooking this form of content distribution, you’re likely damaging your search rankings and, consequently, your potential profits.
Google ties its search engine results to content shared via social media. In fact,
Google+ audience participation is growing slowly but steadily. And Google has no problem monetizing via advertising, whereas Facebook is still trying to piece together that puzzle without ticking off its millions of users. Google+ has millions of users who joined within the first month, knowing full well they were getting into bed with an advertising giant.
So while Facebook may still be the dominant social platform in certain respects, Google+ offers long-term
Here are five tips for engaging your Google+ audience:
# 1. Avoid the selling free-for-all
Post twice a day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Posting more often than that will likely alienate the people who just added you.
# 2. Follow the 6:1 ratio
Write six professional- or life-related posts for every one product- or service-related post. So if you’re posting twice a day, Monday through Wednesday, you would stick with posts promoting your latest article, providing professional advice, or showcasing your last family vacation. This way, you’re giving, giving, giving every day. On Thursday morning, you can offer a 20 percent discount on a service or product, promoting it with language that addresses a client need. With this approach, you become a trusted resource, rather than a source of constantly hidden sales pitches.
# 3. Link back to your website
Make it organic — don’t plug your website in every post. But if you’re posting a video about a marketing technique and you’ve got an example on your site, link to it. When visitors come from a social source like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+, your conversion rate goes up by 780 percent because you’ve already established trust. (Learn more about this rate increase in my book, “Increase Online Sales through Viral Social Networking.”)
# 4. Be genuine
Be yourself. If you go to my Facebook profile, you’ll see that I’m an average, ordinary guy. I don’t drive a Maserati. I’m not 6-foot-five with rock-hard abs. I don’t live in Malibu or have a great tan. I’m a 41-year-old guy who’s a bit overweight and should probably do more P90X. I share real content so my clients and followers get to know the real me. Consequently, I form lasting relationships that are far more profitable and rewarding than anything I could get by pretending to be something I’m not.
# 5. Back up your intuition with data
If you’re in the habit of posting content of a certain type because you’re convinced your circles are interested, back this intuition up with measurable data. How many shares are you actually getting? What types of posts has your competition seen success with? Alter your strategy based on facts, not hunches.
At this point in the evolution of Google+, I recommend that my clients experiment with the platform without getting too bogged down in the details. If you’re posting to Facebook, post to Google+ as well. By following the simple strategy I’ve outlined above, you can increase your content distribution on the social platform that Google values most.
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Images: ”An illustration of a collage of social network buzz words and icons forming the shape of a talk bubble / Shutterstock.com“