As many of you know, Google created it’s own social network, Google+, and added business pages. Yes, this is yet another social network to maintain and try to gain leverage on. The good news is that Google has a few unique features that set it apart from Facebook, so there’s definitely just cause to join.
The art of engagement on social media is a tricky one to say the least. While the introduction of Google+ brings new challenges and opportunities for business owners and marketers alike, it also presents social media challenges that we’re all too familiar with like… (drum roll please) … engagement.
Engagement is by far one of the top goals for any legitimate social media campaign. Engagement takes constant nurturing and environmental monitoring to master. Every situation and audience is different and not all tactics will work for every business. However, there are a few basic ways to set your business up for success with Google+, specifically due to its unique features. So here are the 3 rules to the art of engagement on Google+.
1. Visual Content is King
Take a look at any successful Google+ business page and you’ll see they have one very obvious thing in common – they all share lots of PHOTOS.
What type of photos you ask? Humorous, unique, and non-vulgar are a few characteristics, but what you share really depends on WHO you’re sharing with. All your followers don’t want the same information shared with them so take time to account for different interest, industries, etc.
Also, unlike Facebook, which allows you to upload dozens of photos at once, Google+ only lets users upload photos individually. So think about infographics, charts, slides, etc. that would spark an interesting exchange between you and those in your circle. Ask yourself: what would catch my attention or the attention of people I know? Then, find them on Google+, add them to a circle and start sharing.
Please note that every photo you share doesn’t have to be directly related to your business. Break up the monotony every once in a while and share something from pop culture that is NOT offensive to people. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb to stay away from issues involving religion, sexual orientation or other sensitive subjects. The already established social media rules definitely still apply in this new arena.
2. Sharing and Segmentation are Key
Marketing experts agree that Circles are currently the biggest selling point of Google+. Google is of the belief that different people desire different content and so are we. Segmenting messages is a great way to not tick off customers and business colleagues with content that’s only relevant to a particular segment of your target.
Circles were mentioned in the previous paragraph, so allow me to explain for those of you who have yet to research the basics of Google+.
On Facebook and Twitter, you have ‘groups’ and/or ‘lists’ as a way to segment your friends, right? Well, on Google+ you can create Circles to segment your friends into different groups. There are some preloaded Circle labels, but you can create new labels as needed. People can be added to more than one Circle, so you’re in control of who you communicate with. I suggest creating Circles for everyone in your life, since basically everyone can have a Google+ page.
3. Hangouts – The Game Changer
Never before has a social media site attempted what Google+ has successfully accomplished, which is the integration of a video conferencing featured called Hangouts. Google+ business page owners can install Google voice and a video plugin and instantly see their followers. Although Google+ is still in it’s infancy, Hangouts bring a whole new advantage to marketing with Google+ business pages.
How you ask? Think about all those times you wanted to ask a customer what they thought about a new product or policy change. There are a number of ways to engage customers in this type of discussion: Survey Money, focus groups, questionnaires, and even Facebook applications. Hangouts do not eliminate the need for these types of tools, but it definitely adds a new crayon to the box. So, use it cautiously and wisely. But USE IT.
These are just a few marketing tips for Google+ business pages. As Google adds continues to add to its suite of features. They’ve already given us a heads up that analytics tools, ownership transfer and page analytics are next up. Once those roll out, we’ll let you know what marketing benefits they hold for businesses.