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Tips for Using Google+

posted Aug 3, 2013, 5:25 PM by Jaybird Farrow
I’ve started using Google+ since the beginning, and watched it grow substantially over the years – and although many people are still reticent when it comes to Google+, I have to say it’s actually become one of my favorite social networks. As Facebook became increasingly harder to use for many businesses, Google+ has been slowly becoming a better and better source of engagement and traffic. And recently, in the past few weeks, it actually became one of my top sources of social media traffic, surpassing Facebook and LinkedIn. Google+ is also one my top sources of social media engagement, right after Twitter.

Getting results on Google+ is much easier than on Facebook, its main competitor. While Facebook is becoming harder to manage without spending money on advertising and promoted posts, Google+ seems to be moving in a different direction and makes it easier for businesses to get their messages across and raise their engagement levels and traffic.

Here are some of the ‘techniques’ I’ve been using to get more engagement and more traffic from Google+:

1. Complete and optimize your profile

A complete and optimized Google+ profile can make a world of difference. It’s very important to complete all the fields in the about section, but also to optimize them. Try to do a little keyword research beforehand, and use the best keywords to describe yourself. Google+ is a part of Google after all, so the more you optimize your profile, the better your chances of getting in peoples’ search results. Make sure you also include links to your websites and blogs, as well as all your other social media profiles.

Another important aspect when it comes to Google+ profiles is the cover image, which can be a bit tricky. With the latest update, Google+ made cover photos very large, occupying almost the entire profile page. Make sure you choose a beautiful image that represents you/your business, and is at least 480 pixels wide and 270 pixels tall.

2. Post regularly

Social media requires a lot of constant work, and on Google+, like on other networks, it’s very important to post regularly and change things up as often as possible. Try posting at least daily and try different types of posts: your blog posts or other post with links, text only updates, and visual updates (images and videos). By posting regularly and varying you will keep your audience interested and raise your engagement and traffic back.

You can also share your own blog posts, but make sure you also add a short introduction that will make people want to read your post. On social media, the keyword is value – the more value you provide, the better your chances at standing out.

3. Engage regularly

Google+, like all other social networks, requires lots of engagement. Many people overlook this aspect and rarely respond to comments and shares. In my experience over the years, I have found that the more I engage with people, the more they engage with me in return. I always take the time to respond to all comments and mentions, and to thank all the people that have shared my posts. I also try to take part in conversations often and get involved in discussions with others – this way I meet more people and grow my lists of connections, as well as raise my engagement levels. Another trick is to ask lots of questions, in order to encourage conversations.

4. Use the mentions feature

The mentions feature is an amazing conversation starter. Try to use it every time you respond to someone or when you simply want to start a conversation with a particular person. All you need to do is type a + and then start writing the name that you want to mention. They will then get notified of that mention so the chances that they will actually respond are sure to grow.

5. Start a community

Communities are extremely useful tools – once they announced this feature, I was quick to start my own community and have made sure to moderate it daily. I got to meet lots of new people and have made some valuable connections.

Once you start your community, start inviting as many people as possible to join it, as the more people you have in your community, the better the outcome. Since it is your own community, you can feel free to share as many links to your website/blog as you like – within reason, of course.

It is also very important to closely moderate your community every day, so that you can make a respectable community, where people feel free to share their thoughts and ideas and trust it to be a great source of information. Check every day for spammy posts and remove them from your community.

Make sure you also engage regularly within your community. Try to be a part of all the conversations that are happening, +1 posts and ask and answer questions.

Remember to keep inviting people to your community as you connect with them, in order to help it grow.

6. Join communities and engage

Google+ is filled with countless communities for different niches. Try to join as many as possible and be as active as you can. Check out the “recommended for you” tab in your Communities home page to find more communities that you might be interested in.

The great thing about communities is that you can use them to make more connections, with people that are interested in what you offer. However, it’s not enough to just join a community, but also to engage regularly with other users. You can also post your own links, but make sure they provide lots of value and that they don’t appear spammy as you can get reported and have your account suspended.

Just like in your own community, try to provide lots of value, and engage with other members as often as possible by commenting, giving +1’s and sharing their posts.

Whenever you meet someone in a community, consider also adding them to your circles and inviting them to join your own community.

7. Use Hashtags and optimize your posts

Slowly but surely all social networks are adopting hashtags, and Google+ is no stranger to the phenomenon. Try to use relevant hashtags in your posts, but I would recommend keeping it at no more than two per post.

Whenever you post a new update on Google+, try to also include as many keywords as possible, so that your updates have better chances of appearing in search results.