Your Google+ Guide
Don’t panic – we’ve broken it down for you!
This Beginners’ Guide to Google+ will help you get to grips with the basics – click on the links below to navigate to the information you need!
We hope you enjoy!
What You Will Learn:
Learn Why You Really Need Google+
Google is the world leader in search, and this is its social network – find out why you need to make the most of it.
What’s a Circle?
Google+ does things a little differently to other social networks. Learn the language and get to grips with its features.
Grab People’s Attention on Google+
How do you outreach to the right people? Do you have to use hashtags? Find the answers to these questions and so much more.
FREE BONUS: Download a Free PDF guide to social media, including secret time saving tools and a plan to setup your account like a pro!
What is Google+
So you’ve heard that Google created its own social network called Google+ – but what actually is it?
Google+ was the search giant’s attempt at competing with both Facebook and Twitter, and it adopted many similar features to prove it.
It’s since evolved to add its own functionality including Circles and Hangouts, and those are what can actually make it incredibly handy for brands who know how to use it. These features allow you to target messages to specific groups of people, so you can make sure they get the right messages.
These features aren’t the only reason you need to adopt the social network though – at the end of the day, this is a social network created by Google (the biggest player in search) and Google wants you to use it. It’s vital to get it right to both increase your online presence and the strength of your website.
Get Your Head Around Google+
If Google+ was a country, it would be the 6th largest in the world – reaching 540 million monthly users within just 3 years of its launch.
That’s a pretty incredible statistic, but do consider that Google prompted everyone with Google account to sign up. This shouldn’t put you off using the social network though…
540 million monthly users gives you the opportunity for huge potential reach, it’s just about knowing how.
This guide will walk you through exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing on Google+, and how to prove to Google that you are a true, real, active business that deserves to be seen. Using this social network in the right way can help to strengthen your online presence in a number of ways.
The content you and others are sharing on Google Plus.
People can press the follow button on your Google+ page, your updates will then appear in their news feed.
People can +1 a post, or a profile, if they believe you should rank highly for what you’re doing. When you +1 something you are essentially endorsing it, and showing Google it should have a wider reach.
People can share your posts using the ‘Share’ button, just like on Facebook.
A way to group your contacts using Google+.
Google’s live instant messaging and video chat feature.
Google+ Image Setup & Implementation
Google+ profiles will often show up when searching for your website, so you need to ensure that your profile reflects your organisation in its optimum form – and that includes working on fantastic imagery that you’re proud to have representing you.
Just like Facebook, your profile image should be your most current logo, and your cover photo should present your most current news or campaigns. Alternatively, your cover photo can be a custom made image which explains more about your business – it’s about deciding what you want potential followers see.
Images shared with status updates on Google+ are likely to gain further reach too, so make sure you follow the optimum post image size shown in this guide.
Top 3 Google+ Dos
Google urges anyone who has a Gmail account to get Google+, so it’s hardly a surprise that so many people have it. There’s a serious reason that you need an account too – by having an active Google+ profile and linking it to your website, Google recognises your company as active and this can actually help to improve your website rankings. Here are some tips on how to have success.
DO Stay Active on Google+
You need to stay active on Google+ for success. This means posting your own content as well as other people’s content, circling people within your niche and putting them in custom groups, so that you can target that individual group with information they need to see. This is all part of proving to Google that you are an active organisation that needs and wants to be seen.
DO Put a +1 Button on Your Website
Give people every opportunity to discover your Google+ profile – ask your web team to put the +1 button on your website, so that your site’s users can +1 or circle you there, or head to your page to check out more of your valuable information. This is a simple step which can really boost the success of your profile, and again proves to Google that you mean business.
DO Get a Custom URL
Soon after you create your Google+ page, Google will offer you a custom URL (based on your page name) which makes your page easier to find. Google+ does not let you choose your own URL, so you need to ensure that your page name is your organisation’s name, in order to get as close a custom URL to your branding as possible.
Key Additional Google+ Tips
Make friends with Google! Getting Google+ proves to Google that your new page and your existing website are real, active businesses that need reach. Here are some other tips on how to stay active.
DO Encourage Supporters to Follow You
The more people you have following or circling you on Google+, the bigger you’re going to look to Google. Encourage exisiting contacts to support you on Google+ too.
DO Organise Your Users Into Circles
By grouping users into circles, you are able to contact specific groups with key information that applies to them, instead of sending it to everyone. E.g. Send a thank you post out to your customers, while sending a ‘look what our site achieved’ post out to media contacts.
DO Investigate Hangouts
Google+ offers Hangouts – a live chat and video chat feature which allows you to talk to multiple people at one time. This could be a great way to communicate with customers, colleagues or potential new clients.
DO Use Google+ to Find Content
There’s a huge number of people using Google+, which means there’s a lot of content on there too. Follow and circle relevant contacts to see what they have to offer – you can then share this content on your page, and across other social networks
Top 3 Google+ Don’ts
We’ve already established that Google+ is a handy tool when it comes to increasing your company’s reach, but there are factors which can slow you down on your road to success, if you’re not careful. Here are our top tips on what to avoid.
DON’T Copy Content From Another Network
All content on your Google+ page should be completely original. Google doesn’t like duplicate content anywhere, so it certainly won’t like it on your Google+ page. Customise your company description for each of your networks, to appeal to your different audiences on each platform. This is your chance to tell people what you’re truly about.
DON’T Send All of Your Posts Out at Once
The same applies here as does on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – you should never send out all of your posts at once. This will result in loss of followers, and fewer +1s, as people will lose track of what you’re really trying to say. Either visit Google+ for a few moments throughout the day/week or take a look at the scheduling tools at the end of this guide.
DON’T Send the Same Message to Everyone
You have the ability to send out targeted messages, so make the most of it! Thank your followers in a post, show the media what you’ve been up to in another and create another one to attract new staff or clients. Get the most out of your content, by sending it to the people who truly want to absorb it. Be warned you can’t do this using scheduling tools.
Additional Google+ Don’ts…
If Google+ is new to you, then all of these ‘Don’ts’ might seem a little intimidating, but don’t let a few tips put you off. Avoid the mistakes below and you’ll have Google+ up and running in no time!
DON’T Just Ignore Google+
You might find that you don’t have the highest engagement rates on Google+ but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re not achieving valuable goals. You’re increasing your reach and your website’s reputation – don’t give up because of a few ‘Don’ts’!
DON’T Leave the Page Unfinished
Google won’t recognise your page as a real business unless every part of the set up process is completed. This includes verifying your phone number, email and address – Google will walk you through this process as you set up.
DON’T Put Everyone in the Same Circle
Although, if you’re lacking on time, it may be easy to reach out to all of your contacts at once – it’s still best to group your contacts into circles. By doing this, you still have the opportunity to reach out to specific groups if you need to – and those times will occur.
DON’T Only Share Content Once
It’s more than acceptable to share content on multiple occasions over a period of time if it’s interesting to your audience. Get the most out of your content – share with people who matter!