Have you started experimenting with Google+? Are you sitting on the sidelines thinking “I’ll wait until Google+ matures,” or letting the in-crowd like Robert Scoble, Scott Monty, and Chris Brogan figure it out before you test it. If either of these options sounds like you, know that Google+ isn’t another flash-in-the-pan social media site. Google+ is in the social media battle to win your time and attention as an individual and a marketer.
Need data to motivate you to jump into the Google+ fray? Google+ had 1.8 million total visits as of the week ending July 16, according to Experian Hitwise. While less than 0.5 percent of Facebook’s traffic, Google+ has Mark Zuckerberg’s attention. Why? Because he’s got a competitor that’s growing fast and has the potential and financial resources to keep growing exponentially without hurting its bottom line.
Look deeper at Experian Hitwise’s results and you’ll find that 57 percent of visits to Google+ are male for the four weeks ending July 16. Unlike other geeky, technology products, Google+ skews only slightly male; this may be attributable to being a social media platform making it less geeky, and/or that the initial invitees may have been more male. Over time, this mix will likely become more equally balanced. Roughly three out of five upstream visitors to Google+ last week came from other Google properties, two in five came from search engines, and one in five came from email.
7 Ways to Kick Google+’s Social Media Tires Now!
As a marketer, it’s critical to get onto Google+ and start kicking the social media tires. To get your social media marketing on track with Google+, here are seven steps to follow.
- Build a presence on Google+. As with any new social media platform, you need to use it to understand how it works. Further, develop a base before you need it. From a marketing perspective, this positions you and your brand on the leading edge. Where it makes sense, invite visitors to engage with you on Google+. Here’s how I’m doing it on my blog:
- Be where your customers and prospects are. This will become a necessity over time as Google+’s user base grows to more substantial levels. Part of social media’s allure for marketers is participant numbers and engagement time on site. While not all social media platforms work for every business, Google+ has the potential to support B2C, B2B, and NFP (not-for-profit) organizations.
- Make your content sharable on Google+. Like other forms of social sharing, let your readers help spread the word by making it easy for them to distribute your content to their circles. Here’s how the Google+ share button looks on my blog:
- Explore breadth of Google+ product suite. Google+, unlike other social media networks, integrates a broad offering of different products. Further, Google has the potential to integrate seemingly unrelated options. At a minimum, be aware of Google+’s potential product array and how it attracts your target market.
- Watch for Google+’s impact on other social media entities. From a marketing perspective, you must understand how Google+ is positioned competitively to ensure that your social media budget and investments aren’t marginalized by changes in the social media marketplace.
- Know search will be involved. Google remains the major player in the search market. As such, having more ways to assess social media interactions and relevance are sure to lead to changes in its algorithms. Therefore, when using Google+, like other social media platforms, it’s a good idea to ensure that the content you post is relevant, useful to your circles, and keyword-friendly for your offering.
- Test your brand on Google+. Granted this recommendation isn’t for every brand or business because, for many marketers, this can be very high risk. Ford was one of the first brands to set up a test account on Google+. (Hey, it helps when the highly visible Scott Monty is your head of social media.) In addition to the learning Ford’s acquiring, as a first mover on this platform, it’s received press attention. (Note: Early Google+ brand accounts are scheduled to go away, but stay tuned for the real thing!)
The important takeaway is that you’ve got to jump onto Google+ now. Understand that part of the strength of Google+ is that it’s more careful with customer information and privacy than Facebook. To this end, participate and value your user interactions, because it’s difficult to build consumer trust in today’s message-laden environment. Remember, social media platforms are about paying-it-forward, not promoting your latest marketing message. Your marketing succeeds because you’re transparent in your social media interactions because consumer trust is gone.
Is there anything else that you’d add to this list for marketers looking to get onto Google+? If so, please add your suggestions in the comments section.
BTW, if you’re on Google+, please add me to one of your circles.