Google+ (Google Plus) – What are the Benefits? [UPDATED]


 “Google+ – What the Heck is the Point?” – says everyone at some point, ever!

Are you struggling with Google+? Google+ has long been a confusing prospect; some aren’t sure how to harness it and make it work for them. 

I want to show you how you can harness the power of Google+ to boost your social media activityand I’m going to tell you how you can reap the benefits, as well as the reasons why you need to incorporate it into your social media marketing.

Google+ is a Social Network you need to be on, and here’s why:

What is Google+?

It’s a Social Network – or is it?

My definition of Social Network is this:

“A Social Network is a site in which human interaction occurs, whether this be through information share or chatting online. Its format is shaped by the people who use it.”

Our perception of a social network is built around Facebook, MySpace and similar formats; all of which changed relating to customer shaping based on what we used it for.  Google+ hasn’t had time to truly do this yet.

Hence the myriad of products it’s chucking at us. Google is trying to see which toys we pick up and play with the most so it can build a social network around that.

Essentially, what we have here is a blank slate to do with what we like; this is the perfect time to start becoming influencers within this space. What that means is becoming someone others look to for information.

Google Rubix Cube

 

It’s a baby!

Pretty much in its infancy – Google+ is about 2 years old and we all know what that means: Terrible Twos! Google+ is testing the boundaries.

We aren’t quite sure how to control it yet, how to make it work in the way we want it too based on what we are used to. But it’s getting better!

Google+ the baby Social Network

What do we know about Google+ so far?

Here are some very interesting 2013 Google+ Statistics:

  • Dudes rule – 67% of the users of Google+ are male
  • The top occupations are Engineers, Developers and Designers
  • Most popular age group is 25 – 34 years old
  • And the majority of users are from the US, India and the UK

So, what is it that these kinds of people want? What are they getting out of using Google+?

Information

This means, we know that Google+’s main demographic is currently:

A successful, analytical male who loves information, probably likes brains, in fact – he is a successful youthful person who likes a healthy brain. Who won’t engage with Google+ unless there is something there he needs.

In order engage this demographic, your content and shares need to adjust. A Tweet format won’t translate effectively on this network, users want tangible information.

So, it’s time to ‘Bring the Info’

We can do this in a number of ways; the amount of toys Google+ has given us to play with is vast so I’ll focus on the main ways for now:

Build a Personal Brand - Authorship and Personalisation

Google+ wants to assign authorship and Google+ stats to bloggers and influencers within search results. So building a personal brand is key to taking advantage of this; extend this past Google Authorship and start to implement it within your updates – Inform, don’t ‘tell.

Succeeding in this is easier than you think: YOU are already an expert within your business, industry and your products. All you need to do is transfer this to your  presence online.

As the saying goes: Content is king, make it informative and become a thought leader.

SEO Benefits of Google+

The SEO benefits of up to date, strong content are vast – we know this. A strong Google plus profile adds something ‘more’ to an average search result for brand term keywords, like so?

receptional google results

It makes your listing far more attractive doesn’t it? And customers and searchers will choose the most engaging result – yours.

Use your Circles

Utilising the Circles feature within Google+ will also allow you to target better the information you share on your profile. What Google+ does really well is how it allows for easy-target shares; taking the time to categorise those Circles will mean those who you share relevant information with will love you for it.

Google Plus circles

Targetted Sharing on Google Plus

Contribute to Communities

Social Media is about building conversations; contributing to communities is a perfect way of making yourself known in this space. Boost your blog content by targeting the right sort of people within Google+ communities:

Google Plus Community

Google Hangouts

One of the toys Google+ has given us to play with; hangouts can be very influential, fun and informative. Invite industry professionals, bloggers, your Mums and get involved in something topical, discuss it.

Google Hangouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the best hangouts I have ever seen have been when 5 or 6 industry professionals ‘get together’ and thrash out a topical argument. Bloggers are encouraged to get involved too which creates a nice amount of free online PR for you or the company that you work for.

Event Pages

Google+ means you can target your updates really specifically.  Android phone users get a nice little calendar update if they choose to attend your event too!

4 Ways to Make Google+ Work for you Today:

1.       Get on it. Personal and Brand profiles.  Go set them up now! Go! Shoo! Add information, logos and an album of the latest brand expedition. Also set up personal profiles and keep them updated.

2.       Start building content on your Personal profile that links to your own website –  become the expert behind the profile picture. Complete your profiles, add pictures, add links – be informative. Social media can elevate personal brand marketing.

Google Hangouts

3.       Start building your circles, name them appropriately, consider the groups of people you want to share certain updates with – personal, professional, clients, prospective clients etc. You can start with me @SarahmBradley and @Receptional 

Add us and see what circle we put you in!

4.       Inform –  Launch a Google+ Hangout strategy, write a white paper on eco-friendly loo roll, contribute to Google+ Community discussions; whatever your industry, get involved. Do you have a seminar coming up? Broadcast it using a Hangout and boost the Reach so that it far exceeds the seating capacity of the venue you are in:

How can you Measure ROI?

I can’t convince any of you it’s important if I can’t give you a way to measure it:

§  Track Google Analytics touch points and decipher when conversions happened and what brought them there. Was it a re-visit? If this is for a business profile – did the catalogue you pushed on Google+ get downloaded? Great! Did they return and buy? Great – count that as a conversion.

§  Remember your Social Media Metrics -Building brand recognition increases sales, simple.

§  Lead generation and followers – this has value! The more you engage and talk on Google+ the more this will add value to the bottom line. What value do you place on a new lead or an email address.

§  Create goals for your actions: If your strategy includes hangouts, assess the overall goal – is it to increase sign ups, gain more email addresses, promote a cause, and build website traffic for a specific landing page? Start small, think big!

What about Social Signals?

Google+ is a Google product. Although social signals haven’t been confirmed by Google yet, we do know that certain Tweets and Google+ etc. do rank for particular search terms temporarily so being relevant and topical is essential in your social media marketing.