This is a guest post by Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO.
Just recently, Google announced the released of Google+ Pages, allowing people to create a Page about their brand, company, or blog. Because we all know the impact Google+ and +1’s have in Google’s search results, you should get a head start on building a community around your page and leave your competitors in the dust.
(Note from Caleb: I’ve also included a four-minute video I put together to quickly show you how to create a Google+ page. If you are reading this in an email or via RSS, you can find the full video here. Also, be sure to check out the brand spanking new Google+ pages for Think Traffic and Expert Enough.)
Here are 11 ways to build an awesome, engaged community around your Google+ Page.
1. Leverage your other social media accounts
Although it sounds pretty obvious, send a shout out from Twitter & Facebook to your followers to add you to their circles. It wouldn’t even hurt to write a blog post about Google’s new update (like this one) and why your readers should add you to their circles.
2. Get the badge
When you create your page, make sure you get the badge and add it to your website. The #1 reason people don’t engage with you on social media is because you don’t give them the opportunity to. By adding the badge, you make it easy for them to find you on Google+. This is the same concept you should use in link building by creating HTML ready links so people can link to your website easily.
3. Ask friends & family through Google+
By using your personal account to ask your friends & followers to add your page to their circles, this not only builds your community, but it helps with social proof. Because most of your friends on G+ are more willing to add your Page to their circles, the number of followers you have to your G+ Page increases, which makes it much more likely that people will add your Page when they stumble across it (this is known as social proof). Pat Flynn from SPI talks about the power of social proof on this episode of his podcast.
4. Guest Blog
Guest blogging helps you get in front of new communities on other blogs, and by adding a link to your G+ Page in the post (most likely in your bio), you can reach a new audience.
5. Leverage your existing relationships
If you’ve been doing what has been pounded into your head from the moment you got into the online world, you should have built up some relationships in your niche. Tell the bloggers you know to create a G+ Page and then have them tell their community about your Pages. Then reciprocate by doing the same for them.
6. Interact with other Pages
Because Pages are so new, most other G+ Pages by blogs & brands don’t have the community they have on other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, so by interacting with them they’ll take notice. For example, every time they post about something make sure you’re one of the first to comment. After they take notice, contact them and ask if they’ll add you to their circles, and do the same back. Think of it like reciprocal linking, but with social media. Because you’re in their circles, they’ll see all of your updates, making it easy for them to share your content, just like twitter.
7. Give people a reason
You know why people buy products, attend webinars, share your content, and follow you on twitter? You gave them a reason to. What I’m saying is that if you’re posting the same content that you are on twitter & Facebook, you won’t be giving any reason for people to find you on Google+. Therefore, do something different with your G+ Page so people want to engage with you on this new platform. Here are a few ideas.
SEOmoz created a new series of videos called “Whiteboard+” that’s exclusive to their G+ Page. They also did an awesome series called “what do you have on your desk?” where they took pictures of what all of their different employees have on their desks. By providing this exclusive content, people want to go find SEOmoz on G+, even if it means signing up for an account for only this reason!
I’ve been thinking lately that once I create a decent community around my Page, I’m going to try a Question & Answer format for a lot of my posts. I know people want answers to some of the questions they have, and sometimes the best ways to get answers is by personally asking me. This is something easy that you could do with your Page too – all you have to do is dedicate an hour or two for each session to answer questions. This gets people interacting with you and your G+ Page, making it more likely that they share your content in the future.
8. Identify & Tag Influencers
One of the coolest features on Google+ is a thing called Ripples. Ripples is a feature that allows you to see how your content was shared and in what timeline. For example, here’s a post Mashable shared:
As you can see, Mashable can reach a huge audience by itself, but once Michael Klems and GTGUG Buenos Aires shared it, it reached a whole new audience. By seeing this, you can see who you need to interact with because when they share your content, it gets shared even more.
The best ways to find influencers in your niche is to look through posts that got a lot of shares. Once you find those posts, look at the top right corner of the post for the small arrow. Click the arrow and select “Ripples”. You will then see an image close to what you see above. Look for people like Michael Klems that reach a whole new audience.
Once you’ve found a few of them, either add them to your Page’s Circles (which can only be done if they already added you) or add them to your personal account’s Circles. Keep updated on what they’re sharing so you can figure out what interests them, and drop comments & +1’s on those shares. What you’re doing is building a relationship so they are familiar with you, so when you want them to share your content, they’re more willing to. You should also find them on Twitter & other social media websites to interact with them as much as possible.
Once you’ve built those relationships, it’s time to get them to share your content. When you post content on G+ that you think will interest them, tag them in the post by adding a “+” before they’re name. It’s the same idea as the “@” sign on Twitter.
9. Add people that add you
When people add you to their circles, add them back. It’s something small that you can do to show your followers you’re keeping updated with their interests too. Create different circles based on what their interests are so you know what kind of content they like & share. Once you do this, you have the ability to post about different topics to different circles.
For example, my blog is about link building, but I love to talk about the science of blogging, building traffic to your website, social media, and the technical side of SEO. Because certain people add my Page to their circles for different reasons, I will be able to separate my followers into different circles, so when I want to post something about building your audience on Twitter, I can post it only to my followers that follow me for social media content & updates. Posting to a more targeted audience might yield greater results in terms of shares & +1’s. Currently I’m thinking about ways to make this the most beneficial, such as promoting specific circles for my Page & not just my Page in general.
10. If you only have a small number of followers, don’t display your follower count
This comes back to the idea of social proof I mentioned above. By simply not showing your follower account if it’s small, people are more likely to add you to their circles. For example, if you see a Page that has 3 followers, would you rather follow it over a Page that has 3,000 followers?
11. Be Different
Although this is very general and not specific, applying the idea of Uniqueness to your Google+ Page will benefit you highly because of how new G+ Pages are. If you do something truly awesome with your Page, you have a higher chance at being shared by others not just on Google+, but also on blogs & other social media websites. You’ve seen me mention SEOmoz above because they’re pioneering Google+ Pages like none other.
Other quick notes about Google+ Pages:
- Pages can’t +1 other pages or stuff on the Web
- Pages can run hangouts to meet face to face with their followers
- Google+ Direct Connect allows people to find your Page automatically from Google search
- If you don’t log out of your G+ Account before your register your Page, your Page is forever registered under your account. Because you can’t add administrators at this time, you can now only post to your page from your account.
- You can’t run contests or promotions (but you can link to one!)
- Mobile integration with Android is coming in the future, so make sure you’re constantly checking social media news websites to keep updated.
- Google has recently acquired a startup known as Katango to improve Google Circles
- To get the most visibility, share as often as possible seeing that few do.
- Add images to get creative like in the picture below. Because these pictures are a large portion of your content above the fold, optimize these photos as much as possible.
Bonus: Manage Twitter & Facebook from the Google+ dashboard
Luckily for you guys, I managed to find two awesome Google Chrome extensions that integrate with Google+ so you can post to twitter and facebook right from your Google+ account. Now you can update your 3 main social media accounts from one place! Here’s the one for Facebook and here’s the one for Twitter. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading! If you have any other ideas on how to build a bigger community around your Page, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below!