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How To Use Google Plus As Social Media Platform

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A 2013 Searchmetrics study result showed that the growth rate of Google Plus shares was approximately 18.5% per month which was almost double that of Facebook (9.3%). With a slogan “Let’s meet here” who would have thought that Google Plus will be even beneficial for the growth of your business? May be it is good when you are sharing your photos and all, but business? Well, with the right kind of sharing and few little tricks, the wonder button on the right up corner of your Gmail can open up a whole new world for your brand. So, what are we waiting for?! Let us get started with the strategies that a brand could follow to leverage Google Plus as their social media platform starting from “HowTos” to “WhyTos”.

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#1: Google Plus Badge

If a brand or business has its own website or any other social media page then adding a Google Plus Badge to it is the first step to make use of Google Plus. It allows user to find and visit the intended Google Plus page in one click.

#2: Google Plus Profile, Business Page and Visual Branding

The first thing a brand (or organization) needs is to create a Google Plus profile and a business page. Now, there is a subtle difference between these two. A profile is more like an individual; it will have one administrator while the page will have the option for multiple administrators so that it becomes manageable when you are working with team. Visual branding can help you get better visibility since a profile or a page is the first weapon which will create the first impression among millions of your competitors.

Tagline:

Like any other social media network, Google Plus also comes with a space where one has to write down about themselves or about the brand. It is challenging as the tagline has to be crisp, catchy as well as informative. A personal touch about the company or the brand carries brownie points. Below are some of the best taglines that Google Plus has witnessed. A tagline is something that will show up in search.

Hootsuit

md-hootsuite

The world’s most widely used social relationship platform, with more than 10 million users (in 175+ countries worldwide)

Hootsuit proudly states their number of users which summarize the story itself; crisp, informative tagline.

National Geographic

National-Geographic-Google+-cover1

Since 1888, we’ve traveled the Earth, sharing its amazing stories with each new generation.

National Geographic needs no introduction; the tagline speaks history and thus, generates authenticity.

ESPN
We +1 Sports

ESPN simply states about their love for sports in a Google Plus way.

Cover photo:

The space which appears up on Google Plus page with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a maximum dimension of 2120×1192 is the canvas on which a brand creates their visual presence. It can provide better branding experience. The small introduction about the business is placed in the left side of the cover photo on a blurred background which gives maximum visibility. Thus the whole display is user-friendly. Let us look at some of the brands who are leveraging Google Plus cover photo just fine.

The-Muppets-Google-plus-cover-images-and-photos1

It is a riot of color and fun! The 2011 film used the scrapbook edit option to showcase their main characters while the whole cast is shown together at the right hand box. It surely carries the film’s spirit.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-20-at-12.09.33-PM

There are reasons why Lonely Planet India’s Google Plus page has become the most viewed page among all the travel brands in India. Their cover photo is definitely one of them. It displays the quintessential image of India, with its history and cultural inheritance that had been so diligently dug out during the colonial period, the essence that created the idea of Orient to the Western world which is still being used as a “brand value” by travel brands like Lonely Planet. The whole banner on the other hand, is an aesthetic delight with its soothing black and white tone and a wonderful photograph.

Verified name and custom URL:

Nobody is going to take a brand’s Google Plus page seriously if it is not verified. A verified Google Plus page ensures the trust of the customer. Same goes for custom URL; both of these small but important aspects help promote business on Google Plus.

Optimize for search with ‘Contact Information’, ‘Link’, ‘Direct connect’ etc:

Google Plus offers a lot of ways through which a business can optimize its Google Plus presence. Contact information is one of them. The ‘About’ page comes with automated Google map if an address is included. In the same way, if a brand has claimed Google Plus Local page then it ranks high in search results. Adding links of the company blogs or other social network pages of the company also comes in handy. Lastly, a brand should always register for direct connect which helps pages to go directly from the search to its Google Plus page.

#3: Engagement and Content

A useful way to grow and promote business is to get engaged with the existing and potential customers. Now, engagement does not always mean a downpour of posts. It means to be there for the people who are following you and to be able to answer their queries. People want to be heard and a social media platform provides them the listener they were waiting for. There are numerous ways Google Plus offers to be engaged with the customers.

One of the most important differences between Google Plus and Facebook is that a brand can appear at the top of Google search result. Even, status update also appears in the search. With the help of right keywords a brand can leverage on these methods.

On-topic discussion, timely response to the queries enables a brand to be engaged with the users without being pushy all the time.

Providing relevant and valuable information about your business is another way to get engaged. With strong engaging content people will follow the brand just because they are interested and are getting to know the brand. A very good example of this kind of engagement is Nasa’s Google Plus page.

Nasa-googlehangout

Videos and photos get the most response. Visuals are way more appealing than a write-up! Google Plus comes with ‘What’s Hot’ category which a good space to use. It gives a business to showcase the inside story of it; the company and its people; the work environment etc.

Adding third-party content is another way to generate content as well as to ensure engagement. Incorporating your own opinion or insight will get you brownie points no doubt! This would showcase your knowledge about the topic which in turn will gain you trust.

Using asterisks at each end of the post title to make it bold or using few hashtags are some formulas that help boost engagement as well as rank in Google search.

Measuring and analyzing the metrics also help to refurbish the content of the post as per the trend.

With this note let us move on to Google Plus dashboard which is a magical tool to analyze the performance of a brand’s Google Plus page.

# 4: Analytics: Measure the Performance

Google Plus comes with Google Plus My Business Dashboard which helps brands to analyze their social media performance which in turn comes in handy for betterment. There are four options on Google Plus dashboard and they are: Insight, Google Analytics, reviews and YouTube channel.

Insight:

It given a general overview of past 30 days, including new followers, post action, post view etc. There are three more subsections namely, visibility, engagement and audience.

Screen-Shot-2014-06-18-at-1.10.01-PM

Google Analytics:

This showcases new and unique visitors and total number of website page views one has received in past 30 days.

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Reviews:

It works only when a physical address is given in the Google Plus page. It marks a brand with average star ratings.

YouTube Channel:

It gives an overview of total number of views, new subscribers and minutes watched in last 30 days.

According to the result shown one can improve or simply change their Google Plus strategies.

Moving on to why brands should use Google Plus as their social media platform. There are numerous numbers of features that can help promote a brand. Let us look into a few among them.

#5: Few Google Plus Features that helps Promote Business

Circles:

googlecircles2

Segmenting customers as per their orientation or as per a brand’s necessity is what we can call one-fourth of the battle won. It can then segment the updates as per the requirements of the subsets that are there on its Google Plus page. Google Plus offers circles to do that.

Google Plus Communities:

google-plus-2

The general tendency of people is to get involved with others, to be a part of a community (no matter how strongly we have turned our back to the needs of our real, physical communities!); we are talking about cyber communities. The stark difference between Google Plus circles and Google Plus Communities is that where the first one just identify and segment your users, followers, the second one gives you a chance to add personal touch to our updates. A brand/ business can make use of communities and create contents based on the common interest of the users. It is a platform where you can meet with like-minded people.

Hangouts:

google-confirms-that-hangouts-does-not-have-endtoend-encryption

Hangouts are a great way to connect with people. A video or audio-only content is much more effective when it comes to engage with your audience. A brand can broadcast Q&A sessions, webinars etc which will add the authentic value to its business.

Google Plus Business Listing:

Google-Business-Listings1

Last, but not the least, setting up a Google Plus listing is crucial for businesses to have a local presence. It puts the business information (which has to be detailed if you want a good result) on search, Google Maps and Google Plus and irrespective of the devices customers use they can find it.

Conclusion

It is hard to believe how much one can do with the help of internet nowadays; you can use it for good, for bad or for business! There is almost no way a brand cannot use Google Plus and still be in the competition in social media marketing; this is the cyber generation where Google is omnipresent.

Image Credits:

www.travhq.com,www.jeffbullas.com,www.baekdal.com,www.technewstoday.com,blog.4pm.ie, blog.edisonnation.com, www.webdesign.org, www.simonowens.net

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