Here's the truth about social media.
So many people think that simply starting a social media account and posting great content will automatically build a following and result in sales.
They say, “if I publish great stuff, people will naturally follow me”.
If only it were that easy…
If you’re serious about generating high quality traffic from social media, you need to be very systematic with how you position yourself, build an audience and promote your content.
Otherwise as we say in Australia you're just pissing in the wind and hoping you hit your target.
Well today I’m going to share with you X tips to optimize your Google Plus marketing that almost guarantee that you build a high quality follower base and get links from every piece of content that you publish.
These are the exact things I do to
Here Are My Google+ Optimization and Marketing Tips
To make this easier to follow I've set it up in sections. To jump to any section simply click on the title link below.
- Profile cover and profile picture
- Optimizing your Google+ page for SEO
- Maximize Your Links Section
- Link Google+ to your website
- Get your custom URL
- Create an eye catching mini bio for your HoverCard
- Set up your collections
- Use Google's custom formatting options
- Use a keyword in your post title
- Write a keyword rich description
- Mention someone using “@”
- Mention someone using “+ "
- Include a call to action
- Include links to your related content
- Use #hashtags
- Maximize real estate with long form graphics
- join Google+ communities
- Share an introduction post
- Find and follow active community members
- Find and follow key influencers in your niche
- Follow active followers of your key influencers
- The must do pre-posting activity
- Sharing to communities
- Tip For Tracking Your Community Posts
- Sharing to circles
- Using the send email function
- Hashtag domination
- Promote your collections
- Start a community
- Pin a post
- Host a hangout
- Create long form posts
- Cross channel marketing
- Monitor your circles
- Ask People to +1 Your Posts for More Exposure
Google+ is great for your SEO. Not only does each post you make get crawled just like other pages and served up as search results, but your profile is indexed.
How To Edit Your Profile
Note: These instructions are for the classic Google+. If you're using the new Google+ switch back to the classic view to complete your profile. You can switch back later.
To edit your profile, visit your profile page and follow these steps.
- Click the About Button in the menu below your cover image.
- To edit any section of your profile Click Edit at the bottom of each section
- To edit your profile cover or profile photo Hover over the image and Click The Camera
- Make your changes and Click Save.
Everything starts with your profile image. People are naturally drawn to professional looking pages as they inspire confidence in the viewer and portray success.
Profile Cover (2016)
Your Google+ profile cover is prime real estate so use it wisely. Here are they key tips
- Use a high resolution image.
- Google+ cover photo size is 2120px (width) X 1192px (height). This size is the same for both business and personal profiles.
- Include images and some strong text that shows who you are and what you do.
- Make sure you design your image to look good across all devices, especially mobile.
- Use keywords in your cover image file name.
Here's a great template to follow compliments of Twelveskip.
Inspirational Profile Cover's
Bonus Tip - Share the image as a photo post on Google+. When you do this, the cover photo will be directly linked to your personal profile
Profile Photo (2016)
Your Google+ profile photo will automatically appear inside a circle when posted. A high quality photo or a minimalist business icon stands out.
- Profile photo size: the recommended size is 270 X 270 pixels.
- For your personal profile use a well lit head shot
- For your business use an icon based logo
- Avoid using full length shots of dark colors
Here's my top tips for getting SEO juice from your profile.
a. SEO Title
The name of your Google+ page will become your SEO title, so if its for business make sure you use your company name here.
b. SEO Meta Description
The SEO meta description for your page is generated automatically by Google. It includes your tagline and the first few sentences of your introduction. You can edit these by clicking about on your profile page.
When creating your meta description use keywords you already rank for and terms you know your target audience uses to search for solutions like yours.
Having a well crafted meta description which includes the correct terms will increase the chances of the reader clicking through to your Google+ page.
Remember you only get 160 characters in your meta description so use it wisely.
Here's a great example from Hubspot. Notice the keywords - leading inbound marketing and sales platform, award-winning software, services
c. Complete all sections of your profile
Make sure you complete all sections of your Google+ profile.
In the Introduction be sure to add some of your major keywords and provide a positioning statement that describes exactly what you do and the value that you offer followers.
Here's the story from my business page.
Your Google Plus page contains a links section which allows you to add a series of links that are important to your business.
While obviously most people add their website URL you should also add links to other key pages on your website, blog and social media channels.
Adding links to your pages helps Google determine how relevant your page is to a searcher. They also create greater visibility to your sites and help your profile visitors identify who you are and how to connect with you outside of Google+.
Linking your website to Google+ creates a backlink to your website which helps your website rank in the search engines.
To do this go to the links section of your profile and you will see a little "Link Website" box next to your website. Click on the box and follow Google s instructions to verify your website and create the link.
When you first set up your Google+ page you will be given a horrible URL full of numbers that is difficult to remember. This is not good for marketing purposes so go and claim your custom URL.
Before you can claim your custom URL you will need more than 10 followers on your page, a profile photo and a page older than 30 days.
After you claim your custom URL (you can follow the instructions here for desktop and mobile), it’ll be even easier to extend your branding into the search results since Google indexes the URLs too.
Your Google+ hover card is a powerful weapon in your Google marketing. It's like a mini business card that provides a snapshot of your profile.
Google automatically creates your hover card from information contained on your about page.
Your Hover Card will show a mini view of your profile cover, your profile photo, name, profile tag line, job, location and a follow button.
Your hover card can be seen by anyone anywhere in Google+ when they scroll over your name. The card is clickable and links directly to your profile page so make sure it looks professional.
If you've followed the steps above everything should already be perfect.
You can create Google Plus collections to group your posts by topic.
Collections are a great way to organize your content for easy reference by your followers and profile visitors.
You can promote your collections to Google+ communities and your followers
Collections show up below the Google Plus header of the newly launched interface and therefore have a premium page location.
Businesses should use collections to break down their products or services and offer users the opportunity to find more about what they are interested in.
There are several ways businesses can benefit from Google Plus collections. Sharing tips, case studies, statistics, updates, and promotions are just a few examples that should get the ball rolling.
In this section I will share my best tips for creating engaging posts that attract interaction. First lets take a look at the anatomy of a great post.
Google Plus gives you the power to customize how your text will appear!
There is some simple mark up language that allows you to create bold, italic and strike through text in your posts. I like to use bold for my post titles, here's how.
The first line of your Google+ post is important as Google will automatically wrap a title tag around it and use the first sentence as the indexed title in search engines.
Titles of your Google+ posts are just as important as the titles on your blog posts. Take the time to think of a few good titles that are catchy, compelling and keyword optimized.
Big Tip: Split test your titles .If you're posting the same content to different communities try writing 3 or 4 different post titles and share each unique titled post to a community.
See which one gets the most engagement and use it in a few more communities. But before you start posting to communities like a madman make sure you read my community posting tips in section 4 of this post.
Providing a good description increases your chances of engagement and click through to your blog post.
Think of the description as a teaser similar to what you see at the start of a newspaper or magazine article. It should be the "hook" that entices readers to want to know more and click through to read the full story.
Using at mentions are a great way to attract influencer attention to your post and increase the chances of a re share.
If you've included information provided by someone else include them in your post description. If the person you wish to mention is already in your circles just type @ then the first few letters of their name and you can choose the person from the suggested list.
If you wish to mention a person who is not in your circle, then get the Google+ Id of the person. To do this visit their profile and copy the URL in the address bar.
It will look something like this https://plus.google.com/111655618092776567794/posts
To mention this person type + and then paste their Google+ URL.
So you've got the readers attention now you need them to take action. There are many different types of calls to action, the most common of which are asking a question or giving an instruction.
The goal of your social media posting is to drive business to your website so you should always include a link content that expands on your post.
Google+ hashtags are a great way to drive more exposure and traffic to your Google+ profile.
Unlike other social networks which use hashtags to curate content the Google+ hashtag is used to explore a topic and find related or trending topics. *More on this in section5 - advanced marketing tips)
Google+ hashtags are clickable. When you click on the hashtag the post flips over and shows you two things.
1. A list of related hashtags
2. A list of Google+ posts on the topic.
To use hashtags in your posts simply start typing a hashtag (eg, #soc...) for social media and a list of recommended hashtags will appear. Just click on the hashtag you want to use and it will be inserted into your post.
Now your post will appear in the stream of the hashtag search exposing your post to people who are not in your circles.
While it goes without saying that posts with images get more attention you can maximize this opportunity by using long form graphics in your posts.
A long form graphic is tall and takes up a lot more space in the feed making your post unmissable.
Here's an example
Tall skinny graphics, especially infographics that cannot be read inside the post often generate a lot of click through traffic.
It's sometimes worth the extra effort to create a high quality graphic to accompany your post and in today's world there a a lot of great free tools that can help you make them quickly.. Give them a try.
Section 3: Build A list of Hyperactive Followers
1. join Google+ communities
Communities are Goggle's version of a group or forum, designed to bring people together around particular topics.
In Communities members can share specific questions, comments or content relating to a particular topic with other users who are just as interested in the conversation.
There are communities for every niche. To join a community simply click on the communities tab in your drop down menu find communities you like and click join.
When joining communities big isn't always best and there are a number of reasons for this.
First if the community is very large and people are posting regularly your post will quickly drop down the feed and get missed. In big communities post timing becomes more critical.
Second its much more difficult to build a highly visual presence in a very big community, once again because the community is so large.
I prefer to target small to mid size communities as its much easier to build real relationships and create authority within the community by posting constructive comments.
I believe this a critical but often overlooked step. Creating an introduction post is not only polite it also draws immediate attention to you so you want to make sure your first post positions well in the community.
A well crafted introductory post needs to outline why people should start following you.
- Use a bold title
- Create a positioning statement (what you do)
- Value Statement (How you will contribute to the group)
- Example of what to expect from your posts
- Include a graphic
- Link to a high quality article
Creating an introductory post also shows you who the most active members of the community are as they will often welcome you to the group and +1 your post.
Make sure you follow everyone who engages with your post and reply to any comments given.
So lets look at the anatomy of a great introductory post. Here's one I recently posted when I joined a new community.
So you've joined a community now you need to build up a following in the community.
My number one tip here is to only follow active community members - the people that +1, comment and re share posts.
Here's what to do:
Step 1: scroll through the community posts and find a post with a lot of interaction similar to the type of content you intend posting. Click on the icon in the top right hand corner of the post and click on view post activity.
Step 2: This will show you the names of all the people who interacted with the post and how they interacted.
Step 3: Follow all of these people and some of them will start following you back.
I provide a more detailed explanation of this in my Google+ case study - How I increased my website traffic 157% in 4 weeks using Google+.
There are a few ways to do this but the easiest way is to simply conduct a Google search for top influencers in your niche.
Once you have found key influencers go back to Google+ and enter their names in the search bar. Visit their profiles and click follow.
Important: When you do this make sure you create a special circle for influencers as this will allow you to revisit their profiles to repeat this follow strategy on a regular basis.
To do this simply follow exactly the same steps I outlined in "find and follow active community members." above.
Before posting to a community, visit the community and quickly +1, comment or re-share 5 or 6 key posts that have some engagement.
This works to increase your engagement in two ways.
First the post owner and other community members engaged with the post will receive a notification that you have contributed to the post putting you front of mind.
Second when you +1,comment or re share a community members post the rule of reciprocation kicks in often resulting in the community member paying you back.
While you can join several communities beware of over posting the same content to multiple communities at the same time. This can get you flagged as a spammer who is simply using the communities for self promotion.
My Golden Rules
- I only post my content to a maximum of 3 or 4 groups at a time.
- If I want to post to more than 3 or 4 groups I usually wait a few days before posting and also alter the key message and image.
This is important as many people are members of a number of communities.
If like me , you are a member of several communities it can be extremely difficult to keep track of which posts you have posted to which communities.
To help me manage this I create a color coded spread sheet of all the communities I am a member of and record which posts I have sent to different communities.
I group the communities based on topic and give them a color. When I create a new post I add it to my spreadsheet and tick the communities I posted to.
This is a great way to share the same content to multiple communities over time without being seen as a spammer.
When you share content Google+ allows you to select a particular circle to post to. By setting up your circles correctly you can segment your audience and only share content with people who you feel will find it relevant.
When people engage with my post I add them to an "engagers circle" This allows me to automatically select share to engagers circles when I upload a new post.
The added advantage of engagers circles is you can send out a post to the group weekly using @mentions to thank your top post likers, commentors and re-sharers for their continued support.
I change up my messages but here's an example to give you an idea.
A little gratitude goes a long way.
When I first started using Google+ I was a little reluctant to use the email circle function when sharing a post, however If I have a post that I believe is of extreme value to a particular circle I will check the “Email your Circles” option.
Why? Some contacts are too busy to check their Google+ stream daily, but they do check their email often, so give them a reason to check out your social posts by emailing them your updates.
Earlier in this post I talked about the power of hashtags on Google+. So here's a golden tip that could get your name or business trending in the related hashtags list for specific topics.
So here it is. If you post content about a specific topic regularly start adding your business name or personal name as a hashtag in each post. Over time this will cause Google to start identifying you as strongly associated with certain hashtags.
Your collections can be a powerful tool in driving deeper engagement with your Google+ posts resulting in more click throughs to your website.
When monitoring your individual post activity look for posts that have high engagement and add a message in the comments about discovering more great content like this post in your collection. Don't forget to add the link to your collection.
Starting your own community has many advantages, One of the most powerful of which is that you can add a pinned post to the top of the community.
This is a powerful traffic and lead magnet for many community owners.
My recommendation however is to build a significant following first then launch your community otherwise you may struggle to get people to join.
If you're not ready to start a community yet you can still leverage the power of a pinned post on your profile page
Hangouts area great way to increase brand awareness, connect with your followers and community members on a more personal level.
You can use hangouts to host presentations, product demonstrations and mini seminars.
What really makes hangouts powerful however is YouTube Integration. With Google hangouts you can live stream to YouTube – and when this happens your videos appear higher on YouTube’s search results pages.
One of the hidden powers of Google+ is the ability to post long form article type posts.
As an example lets just say you had an article sharing 10 tips on a particular topic. You could create the long form post discussing 3 of the tips then include a link to your full article to view the other 7.
This type of post has the potential to create greater engagement and give your post more SEO juice when being indexed by Google.
Creating a longer form post in Google+ also provides an opportunity to create a snippet of this post and then re-share the short version to twitter.
This is a great way to cross pollinate your social media audiences. It's a subtle but effective strategy for letting your Twitter followers know you're on Google+ , increasing your following and driving more views of your Google+ profile.
Google+ only allows you to have a maximum of 5,000 people or pages in your circles. It is important to manage your circles and remove people who are no longer active on Google Plus or who never followed you back.
Fortunately there is a free tool for this - CircleCount . It's very simple to use and the site gives you lots of instructions and some great tips on how to manage your circles.
Another advantage of circleCount is that it provides a database of influencers, allowing you to make important connections. Check it out.
As a final tip . don’t be afraid to ask people to +1 and share your post. I know this sounds silly and lots of people feel uncomfortable doing it, but its actually quite amazing what this simple call to action can achieve.
Remember when someone +1 your posts, it will appear in the feed of people who are following them.
The Key Takeaway
The key takeaway from these tips is that they work to grow your business. To see proof of this check out my Google+ case study. In the case study I show you how I started from scratch to increase my website traffic by 157% in just 4 weeks.
More importantly, by following these simple strategies my Google+ followers, website traffic and leads continue to grow month on month.
Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a highly engaging social media profile but with a little bit of elbow grease and the right strategies you can achieve your goals.
If you've got any other great tips please feel free to share them in the comments below and if you love this post don't forget to like it and share it with your friends.
Your comments are much appreciated.
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