If you are a business owner that wants to get more followers on Google Plus reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss a business relationship;
Google Plus has been very challenging for business owners. It is a catch-22 because businesses want to utilize all Google resources but they don’t want to spend valuable time on a social network that is difficult to increase engagement. Admittedly, the first few weeks and months on Google Plus can be quite the challenge because it is not like Facebook where everyone is active and using the service. This means getting +1s, followers and comments can be very difficult.
One of the greatest opportunities on Google Plus is most businesses and competitors have put forth minimal effort. That means the door is open to dominate a niche. I have worked with lawyers, doctors, small businesses and SEO/social media companies that have been able to become the name in their industry on Google Plus. This has also allowed them to rank very well in search and increase sales. Instead of looking at Google Plus like an empty social network it might be better to think of it as an opportunity to use a Google product to increase exposure.
Getting started on Google Plus for business means most will need to claim their local page. Any business with a physical address has a Google+ Local Page. Once the business receives the PIN in the mail they can verify the account. Once this has been completed it is time to increase activity and start getting more followers and +1s. In the long run this will expose a brand or business to more eyeballs through search and social.
Why Google+ Can Be Challenging for Business
Admittedly, Google Plus was late to the party in terms of social networks. Facebook recently turned 10 years old and Twitter has been around since March of 2006. Google Plus was released in June of 2011 and most Internet users already had some type of social network. The common question that most Internet users ask is, “why do I need another social network when I already have Facebook and Twitter?”
This is a legitimate question because my people do not have hours and hours to sit on the computer. They want to log in, check up on their friends and go on with their daily lives. Google Plus offers something very different. Google Plus is the social layer of Google. That means it is the backbone of all things Google. In the very near future, Google Plus will be integrated into all Google products. At this point, in early 2014, Google Plus is a part of GMail, Google Search, Google Maps, Android and YouTube.
Having extra exposure on all of these products will only help a business. Before assuming your business can just hop on Google Plus and start getting followers and shares it is important to remember that Google Plus is a recommendation network. This means that not all of the businesses current customers are active on Google Plus. It definitely means all of your friends are not active on Google Plus. Those that are on Google Plus are the content creators of the Internet. They are the ones that will help when it comes to digital outreach.
Unlike Twitter and Facebook which are “all about me” networks, Google Plus is more of a recommendation tool much like Google search. It takes time, effort and great strategy to see increased engagement on Google Plus. If you log in to Google Plus and simply share links to the services you offer you are going to struggle to increase engagement. If you are willing to use communities, build relationships and strategically engage through social interactions you will have amazing success on Google Plus.
Why You Should Hire Someone to Help with Google Plus for Business
Google Plus has a steep learning curve. It is a very comprehensive tool. Some of the features include Hangouts on Air, Communities, Business Pages, Local Pages, What’s Hot, Sharing to Public, Sharing to Private, +1s, Comments and a whole slew of other resources. This doesn’t even delve into the many ways that a business can strategically share on their Google+ page.
There are only so many hours in the day. Business owners and professionals do not have the time to devote hundreds of hours to learning the Google Plus product no less the constant updates throughout the week and month. While some businesses succeed with sharing a single post a week most need to share multiple times a week to truly grow a following on any social network. Rather than taking yourself out of the office or away from clients it is likely worth it to simply hire someone that has a firm grasp on the social network.
As mentioned, I have opened up limited availability to help businesses grow their Google+ presence. Reach out to me at email@example.com. This does not mean your business is going to add 200 new followers a day. This does not mean they are going to get 50 +1s on every post they share. What it will do is help the business to increase exposure through consistency. All too often I notice businesses that use Google Plus for a brief period of time before leaving because they aren’t getting as many likes or retweets. Recently, Google announced that Twitter and Facebook have zero influence on search. With this being true it is worth it to sink more effort into Google Plus if your business benefits from Google search.
I often equate a +1 to a thumbs up from a Google user. The more upvotes a Google+ Local Page receives the better it is going to look in the eyes of Google. Every little bit helps when it comes to SEO and search ranking. If a Google+ Local Page has an update each day of the work week this looks much better than a page that has been updated twice in the last year. Frequency has always been important to the Google algorithms and it is definitely important when it comes to social media.
Consistency is Key on Social Media
I cannot reinforce enough that consistency is key on social media. No matter what business you have, there is a good chance you can find a way to share valuable resources on a daily basis. Photos do very well on social media but consider maps, directions, tips, Q&A’s or behind the scenes type posts to increase engagement on a social profile. If creativity is not your strong suit I can help.
One of the reasons I have been able to accumulate over 550,000 Google+ followers is the creative ways I share posts. Rather than just sharing a link I try to find ways to incorporate photos, gifs, communities or other Google resources such as Maps or YouTube videos. Growing a following takes consistency and creativity. You may be a spa owner in Miami, Florida. An idea to remain consistent would be the color of the day when it comes to hair. You can use your expertise to explain the best colors for a particular time of year. As we all know, colors are almost limitless so you could do a color of the day for an entire month. This is just one of the many ways to increase a following on Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest or any social network.
If you have the desire to truly grow a following on Google Plus reach out to me. I can greatly assist when it comes to getting into more circles and increasing +1s, shares and comments per post. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start to discuss ways in which I can help your business.
Google+ Local Business Pages Update to Total Views
On March 31st, 2014 Google+ completely changed the overall feel of a Google+ Local Page by adding total views to the profile image. It is no longer the case that business pages show the total +1s. The number of +1s has been removed and it now shows the total number of views. I will be sure to write an in depth article as to how the views are calculated but for now just know that potential customers and clients will notice this immediately. In fact, I would wager to guess that this will be the first thing that most people will notice when they find a Google+ Local Page.
With this being the case, it would behoove most businesses to start getting active on Google+. There are plenty of strategies to implement to get more views but the foundation is content and getting active. If your business page shares one or two posts a month it is not going to gather many views. If the business page is sharing three times a day it makes sense that it would get many more views. Even if the content is not overly viral and engaging it will still help to get a brand name out there.
As we move forward in 2014 and into 2015 many of my clients have asked me what I think of this move. In all reality, I think it is a move Google+ had to make to compete with Facebook in any way. Facebook clearly shows the number of likes and reshares a particular post receives. Some of these numbers are crazy big. I have seen businesses, celebrities and sports stars that will receive over 50,000 likes on a single post. What that means, who really knows? What we do know is that a lot of people are seeing that particular post and hitting the like button.
To combat this, Google+ is now allowing both business and personal pages to clearly show the number of total views. My prediction is this will change user behavior quite a bit on Google+. It will no longer be a social network that is only for SEO and Social Media “experts”. It is going to be a place where businesses can share some behind the scenes photos and get engagement. It is also going to be a place that is much more fun and interesting as this is what will drive views to a page. If you want to help build total views and brand exposure through Google+ please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. I have several packages that are very helpful to a business that is looking to not only increase total views but to show up on the front page of Google search.
Patience, Photos and Persistence
As with anything in life, patience plays a big part in the success. Google Plus is not a social network in which you can jump on and have 10,000 followers and 100,000 views in a week. In fact, not that Facebook is a pay to play game and Twitter is so busy it is highly unlikely that any non celebrity or sports star can have immediate success on a social network. This means patience and persistence will play a vital role. One of the things I tell all of my clients and business partners is to not give up early.
There is a time and a place to cut your losses and say this is not worth the time but a business should not do that after just two or three months. While some businesses are on a tight budget it is important to remember that any Google+ interaction or share is going to end up being very beneficial in the long run. If your business has the desire to rank in search then it stands to reason that Google+ will be important. While the total number of followers is not the be all, end all it is definitely something that shows the success of the business.
Perception is reality on the Internet and everywhere else in life. If a business has three times as many followers as their competitors they are obviously doing something better or more unique. This will allow them to stand out on Google Plus and in search. On Facebook, the pages that have 25,000 likes and get 50 reshares per post are the ones that are getting the most engagement. Whether or not this Facebook engagement leads to business, who knows? The true value of Google Plus is the fact that this engagement will end up building social validity over time through Google.
One of the best ways to catch the eye of a social media user is a gif or a short video. On Google Plus, short videos or gifs play automatically. There are thousands of people sharing links on a daily basis and, to be honest, it can get a little bit boring. If all you see are links to social media and SEO articles you are probably not going to get as much fun out of the experience. I am not saying that a business should only share gifs and photos but it never hurts to sprinkle a few in here and there. In fact, part of the monthly package I offer is to take HDR photos that will help my clients.
Every single one of my clients have seen an uptick in engagement because they share HDR photos and gifs. If you have a team that can create memes or funny photos those work very well. The Internet, especially social media, is a place in which people are looking to be entertained. While some of us love to read long articles there are others that need something flashy to catch their eye. There is a reason that retailers like WalMart and Walgreens use yellow signs to display the price of an item. They also happen to use a bold font, which is something else that is beneficial to Google+ pages; the ability to bold or italicize the font.
What Not To Do
It has come to my attention that some of the users on Google Plus find it amusing to call out new users and poke fun at them. In fact, I saw this in action just the other day when a user with a large following posted a screenshot of another user and made fun of her for her actions online. Please, please, please do not do this. If you have an issue with another user simply disregard that user. There is absolutely no reason to bring it to the attention of your entire following. I know this is something that most businesses understand but there are still some that do not get it.
The mute, block and report buttons are amazing on Google Plus. If you have an issue with another user simply mute or block them. If they become a huge problem you are more than welcome to report them to Google Plus. Doing this can be completed behind the scenes and none of your followers will ever see the interactions or engagement with a malicious user. It can be hard to let things go at times but nothing good comes from starting a fight on social media. This is especially important when you are running a business and public relations are important.
If you have had issues with specific users and you do not know how to handle them please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have worked in social media management for several years and there is a good chance I have bumped into a similar situation. Rather than fighting fire with fire it is best to work through the situation with the customer or Google Plus user. This is something that often comes up in the form of negative reviews. I would be more than happy to consult as to the ways to alleviate this type of issue and get the best out of Google reviews or reviews on any website like Yelp, Yahoo! or CitySearch. Fighting fire with fire will only make the problem bigger and it is simply not worth it.
One way to combat malicious users is to simply state your position in a polite way and walk away. Looking at their response could make it even worse. I have worked with businesses to fix issues with Ripoff Report and other websites. Rather than obsessing over one or two comments or individuals it is best to move forward and provide an amazing product or service for the rest of your clients or followers. Remember that you are not going to please everyone so there is no use in trying. Please those that desire your services and make sure to put your best foot forward at all times. The Internet can be a scary place sometimes but there are ways to make it easier to promote your business.
Optimal Times to Share to Get +1s and Reshares
On Thursday, June 20th, 2014 Google sent out a mass email to Google Plus users and all Google My Business users explaining ways to grow with a Google My Business Page. This is the first time I have ever seen this so I know they are pushing it very hard. One of the things they mentioned was the optimal time to share to your fans or audience. While some claimed Google Plus experts feel as if this doesn’t matter there is little argument to be made that it does. In fact, if you share during optimal times the likelihood of +1s and reshares increases drastically.
With that said, many business owners will likely want to know the optimal time to post from a Google My Business page. In the email that was sent out by Google it states that 10 AM to 2 PM is the optimal time to share. I completely agree with this. If you have the opportunity to post in the middle of the work day this is when most people are using Google Plus and will notice your posts. I have quite a bit of success right before I go to bed around 11:00 or midnight but that is because I have a large following of individuals that want to see gifs or something funny right before bed. Most of my clients share their posts in the middle of the day when Google suggest. Here is the exact terminology Google users in the email:
Post at the right time
Add new content regularly, when people are most likely to see it. We recommend that you do every week, between 10AM – 2PM on weekdays.
The one thing that can make Google Plus a challenge is there is no great way to schedule posts at certain times. Plugins like DoShare will allow you to share at specific times but you have to set it up on a computer that never turns off or loses access to the Internet. Those of us that use laptops or turn our computers off are not going to be able to use these social sharing tools. Every month there are new Google Plus tools like Friends+Me that come out but the API is simply not available for companies like TweetDeck or HootSuite to offer scheduling as they do on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Knowing that you must be at a computer between 10 AM and 2 PM is a little bit disheartening to those that are very busy. Personally, I am out and about talking to potential clients or playing golf with them during the these hours. There are days in which I am able to share at this time but it is definitely not every day of the week. With this in mind, it might be worth it to hire a social media management company to share these posts at the optimal time. If you would like help with his please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.