Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 Tips for Building Your Following on Google+

1. Buttons are your friends.
There are a variety of Google+ badges that can connect your website and presence across Google to everything you’re doing on Google+. Plus, you can tie activity across search results, making your page more discoverable. Read more about the options here:

2. Request verification.
You may have seen the little checkmark and wondered, “how can I get one of those for myself?” Well, if you’re a business or brand and want to make sure that your followers know it’s the real you talking, you can contact us to get a verification checkmark. If you advertise with Google, just talk to your Sales contact over here at the Googleplex. Otherwise, reach out here:

3. Post like Goldilocks; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
Users who come to your stream want to see consistent, interesting, and eye-catching posts. So, be sure that you’ve built up a bunch of good content that will be visible on your page’s profile. But, keep in mind that, if you post too much, you risk overwhelming your customers’ streams. Strike the right balance; we aim for 2-3 posts over the course of a day. Play around and see what works for you!

4. Engage influencers.
Know the players in your industry. Know who’s been successful on Google+. Observe them, reach out to them, partner with them, and be inspired. If you’re a small business, look for others who might be doing creative things on Google+. The formula for success is not universally applicable But, there are certainly people who have cracked the code. Let them be your guides.

5. Use ripples. Explore. Search.
You may be thinking, “How can I engage influencers if I have no idea how to find them?” I’d like to introduce you to some new tools. Ripples will allow you to see who’s sharing your content throughout Google+. Check to see when posts go viral, find the source, and start there to build relationships with your most loyal resharers. Use Explore (righthand side) to see which topics and users are getting the most traction in Google+. Or, if you’re looking for more specific examples of Google+ activity, use Search built into Google+ to find posts, people, pages, and more.

6. Cross-promote.
You already send emails and newsletters, place ads, use other social media platforms, and put signage up in your store. Encourage your followers across media to check you out on Google+.

7. Make it worthwhile.
Just telling them to look you up on Google+ may not do the trick. Give your customers a reason to check you out by offering them exclusive access to you, your business, and your world. Read last week’s post about rich media to see how you can do that with pictures and videos. Or, make an exclusive announcement on Google+, like Cadbury did by launching a new candy bar from their page, or give your customers an opportunity to win something great. It’s all about differentiating your brand and its engagement on Google+.

8. Be interactive.
Customers will come to your page if they know it’s the best way to reach you directly. Hold hangouts, written Q&As, or even broadcast an event. Let them know that you’re watching, listening, learning, and responding. Customers want to come face to face with you. Up til now, that’s been tough, especially for businesses based online! Now, with Hangouts, Google+ gives you the tools to make that happen.

9. Collaborate, cooperate, and create.
Hangouts allow you to bridge geographic divides like never before. If you’re a bookstore, try hosting a reading group hangout with other stores around the country. If you’re a restaurant, try swapping recipes On Air with peer institutions hundreds of miles away. With your expertise and the power of Hangouts on Air, you have the opportunity to provide your customers with a new level of insight, intelligent conversation, and enlightenment. Think big!

10. Know your purpose.
Maybe getting your business on Google+ isn’t about gaining followers at all. Maybe it’s simply about learning about the conversations going on across the web. Maybe it’s about connecting with your peers or a network of professional contacts. It’s always important to identify your purpose and set goals accordingly. Pursuing followers doesn’t need to be a priority. But, if it is, this list was for you.