In Part I of this series, I explained how to create and measure the success of your Google+ brand page. Now we can move into the tactical discussion.
Google+ tactics of engagement
Engage if you want engagement
When people add you to circles, you may want to add them back.
Sharing other people’s content
This is often used as a tactic to build relationships. Sharing other people’s content says “I want my network to look like your network” and you will often find people “circle you” when you do this often.
I am, however, working with clients who are unable to step “off brand” and cannot share content. In which case, you are left with the other tools: +1s, comments, posts into communities, hangouts and hangouts on air, events, etc.
Whichever way you go, you will be most successful when you make it about them.
Share Page content via a Profile
This is a handy method. If you have people in your organization who are already building their network on Google+, they can share your Page’s content via their Profile. (Note: They may well want to make appropriate disclosures.)
This approach allows your Page’s content to gain more reach even when it has a low follower count. In essence, the people within your organization are becoming the influencers.
Quality, vibrant visual content will get much more engagement than drab, dark ones.
Optimize the images on your website
When you share a link from your blog on Google+ it is possible for the image associated with that blog to appear as a LARGE image.
The size I am currently using is 800×600 and it displays well, but experiment with your own sizing and see how it gets shared when you embed the link on Google+.
Social SEO and sharing links
Sharing with the embedded link above means that: +1s are accumulated on the original blog post for a) the share from the Page, and b) for ALL OTHER public shares of that post.
As such, you’ll see the +1 number really rack up.
If, however, you share a post with an image and two links in the post (instead of using the embedded link method as above), then the signals do not get attributed to the blog post on your website.
There may well be a correlation between “social signals” and search results, but that does not mean they are the reason. This is going to get geeky, so I will point you to this Social Signals and SEO article by AJ Kohn for a broader explanation.
Note: the general view for best practice on SEO is to use the embedded link; and it is not all about the +1s though, search results seem to be coming from WHO is engaging on the content more than HOW MANY.
Short version, who engages on your content is what really matters.
Use Google+ Ripples to find influencers
Building circles of people engaging people
Think about putting people in circles when they engage with you. Then look to engage with those people more; this way, you start to build a community around you and your content.
This is exactly how I achieved this web result below—the community in essence, decided this was “the best answer” to the question.
If you really want to take this up a level, then you look to have a process of engagers “moving up levels” so you filter them and in turn, find your brand evangelists.
More on that here: How to Encourage Google+ Fans to Share Your Content
Build opt-in lists so you can notify them by email
Below is an example of an instance where I built a list for a quiz about the Nexus device. A couple of hundred people opted in to receive notifications and the quiz was completed by about 500 people, many of whom were keen influencers in this niche.
There are many methods to list building using circles, but only one main thing you need to consider…
Make it about them!
People enjoy it when a brand features them, adds them to a circle, and generally relates to them as if both parties were human. Don’t forget this.
A good brand will make people feel good in the smallest of ways, and in turn, people don’t forget how you make them feel.
Sharing content with existing communities
If you go easy, you can test out dropping in your Page’s content into existing communities. More than 150,000 (with over 10 people in them) are available for you to choose from.
Assuming people visit the community, they will see your content and as a REALLY BIG bonus, if you choose a community where people have their notifications switched on, then essentially those people are notified about your post. Very cool.
BUT again, go easy and read the community guidelines to make sure it is OK to do so.
Don’t set up your own community…
…until you understand what you are doing on Google+, or have good guidance.
You will waste time, effort, energy and money if you create one too soon.
Have the Google+ Badge on your website
Now we return back to the relationship between social and your website.
Put simply, the more visible this badge is, the more likely you are to get people to follow you.
You can find the badges here: Google+ Badge
Make sure you have social sharing buttons on your blog
If you want to make it easy for people on your site to share your content, then make sure you have social sharing buttons, especially on your blog content. Many sites still have not embraced Google+, and they really are missing out.
Do a Google search for “social sharing buttons for website” and you should find what you need.
Create content worth sharing!
All in all, you will need the best content you can create, or curate, to engage your audience on Google+.
When you create exceptional content, it will naturally tend to rise to the surface; but everything in this blog post really will enable people who should know about what you do to find the content you are creating.
Put briefly, when the right people engage, they send a signal to Google that this content is rockin’ and more people should see it.
If you follow the processes I’ve laid out you will be well on the way to having a great Google+ experience that turns into solid business results.