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How to Build a Successful Google+ Brand Page, Part I

Consultant, speaker, trainer and coach on all things Google+, Martin Shervington describes how to increase followers and leverage your Google+ brand page.

Sharing on Google plus

In this two-part series, I will outline a blueprint for brand pages to build followers and make your Google+ brand page truly successful.

Introduction: Google+ is different than every other social network…

Google says that Google+ is a social experience that spans all of their products and services. In some ways, Google+ is a social platform, like Facebook or LinkedIn, but because Google owns their search engine, the content that gets placed on Google+ is quickly indexed for search queries.

You’ll soon start to see that Google+ is actually an extension of Google—the next all-encompassing generation of Google.

For many businesses, however, Google is about search and getting better search results. As such, let’s take a look at how Google+ relates to this.

The relationship between your website, social and search

social interactions
For most companies, their Google+ brand page will host the majority of their “social” interactions. Their “site,” is their Google+ site. “Search” is the keywords and phrases for which they will most likely be relevant and found in Google search.

A flow exists among these functions, and this series will help you get that flow moving by focusing on the social element—your brand page.

How to set up a Google+ brand page

google-plus-brand-category
In this video, I cover all of the steps you’ll need to take to create a Google+ brand page.

Tip: Make sure your brand page is linked to your website. You can see if it is set up correctly using the rich snippets tool.

Once you have created your page, you’ll want to make it successful, right? Let’s break that part down before we get to the tactics.

So, how will you know if your Google+ brand page is successful?

What follows is a list of metrics to consider when measuring success.

Number of people following you. This is really about “who can see your content” in their stream.

My view: This is important, but chasing numbers alone won’t get you search results (see below).

The “right people” are following AND engaging with you. These include influencers who can both share and amplify your messages.

My view: This is actually the more important factor. You can chase the numbers on Google+, but quality engagement is more likely to deliver the results you want.

Number of views your content has had. This includes the new view count number (launched March 31, 2014), which gives you an idea of reach. Note: the +1 number on the Page itself has been replaced by “views.”

google-plus-view-count
My view: Be careful though, this metric can be very misleading and I have been joking that people should join the “Acatemy,” where people can learn to get their numbers up using nothing but cat gifs! (I do entertain myself.) It is not hard to get high numbers, but what do they really mean?

Amount of engagement. This is the number of +1s, comments and shares on a post

Check out Steady Demand for a reporting tool that helps you measure engagement.

My view: This is key. Quality engagement by the right people will build your community around your content, and when that happens, they will amplify your content in Google search.

Search engine results. The site-social-search flow enables two main results to occur:

  1. Personalized search results for those who have connected with you, and
  2. Incognito results (i.e., that anyone sees); you can check on a proxy server if you really want to see unbiased results

My view: You will find increasingly that your content is getting results when you use Google+ as part of your content marketing strategy. At Plus Your Business, we are also evidencing that website product pages are experiencing an uplift in search when content is shared on your Google+ brand page and that content is engaged upon by “the right people” (this I will keep vague, but we operate on the principle that “authority rubs off”).

Traffic to your website. This can come directly from clicks on links shared on Google+ itself, or via search results.

My view: This is what really matters to a business! Google+ delivers traffic from social (i.e., people click the links), then in search when people see relevant results, and also then can share that same content back into Google+ gaining it even more reach.

Zero moment of truth (ZMOT). This is the idea that people are increasingly seeking out more information before they make a purchase.

Here is a definition: “The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) refers to the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product, often before the seller even knows that they exist. The number of consumers researching a product online prior to purchase has been on the rise in recent years as the internet and mobile continue to advance.” (Source: Pardot)

My view: Google+ is great for this as people will receive notifications for you +1ing their post, as well as comments and shares of their content. It helps you to be part of their process, building the relationship along the way.

Sales/leads. Having this as an ultimate metric is what takes social and turns it into business.

My view: If people have engaged on your content in your Google+ brand page and you’ve got good brand awareness, then they have already bought into you by the time they visit your site. Google+ enables you to build relationships and turn followers into friends and friends into customers (cue the Seth Godin music!)

Once you’ve decided on the key metrics for you, you can start to build up the page, which I will explain in Part II of this series. Stay tuned!

Image credits: Alan Levine and AJ Cann via Flickr