As a marketer, it’s very important to claim your online identity before anyone else can grab it. That’s why it’s so vital to register your own name as a web domain, and to make sure that you have profiles set up on all the big social sites, such as Facebook. Prospective customers will be finding you using these mechanisms, and existing customers and friends will want the opportunity to interact with you.
The recent launch of Google+ has added a whole new dimension to the way that social media is used in marketing. With the might of Google behind it, Google+ is sure to take off. Most potential users already have a Gmail account, which can easily be converted to use the additional Google+ features. For people who don’t have a Gmail account, this is quick to register.
But, how do you take advantage of all the new features that Google+ has to offer? I’ve been exploring this new world and I’ve identified 5 ways that you can enhance your social reach using Google+.
Way #1 – Construct A Recognisable Profile Under Your Best Email Address
I don’t recommend going over the top when constructing a profile, but if nothing else, you need your name, a clear photo and a brief description. This ends up appearing all over the web as part of the overall Google strategy, so you may as well make the most of it and provide links to the main sites that you want people to visit.
Use your best email address (the one that people who know you use to contact you) as this will enable potential friends and contacts to find your Google+ profile. This may be a Gmail account, or it may be a personal address. I’d recommend linking this with a Gmail address if there is one you use regularly, as this will aid you with importing your contacts (otherwise you will likely end up having to create a Gmail account to use with Google+ anyway).
Way #2 – Maximise Your Social Reach To Your Content Using Circles
The main way in which you connect with other Google+ users is by putting contacts into circles. This is a one-way process, rather like Twitter. Once you add a user into a circle, you can usually view their posts and comments (this is occasional overruled by privacy settings). There is a good chance that the other party will add you to a circle too, which means that they get to see what you post.
I recommend importing your contacts from as many places as possible. You can import a list of email addresses in bulk using a csv file into the Gmail account connected to your Google+ account. This is helpful if you have contacts in another Gmail account, or in email account from another provider.
It is slightly challenging to import Facebook friends, but this can be done by using a temporary Yahoo! Mail account. In Yahoo! Mail you can link the account with Facebook, which will automatically draw in a list of all your friends with their email addresses. Export this as a csv file and you can then import this into Gmail for use in Google+. You could also import contacts from other locations, for instance people who have opted into your auto-responder, or who have made PayPal purchases from you in the past.
Classify everyone you have imported into a circle. I recommend one main circle for your main marketing contacts, and some more general circles for everyone else. This will enable you to keep a close eye on a connected group of users, but still reach a wider audience when you want to.
Way #3 – Post The Most Interesting And Informative Content You Can
Perhaps this goes without saying, but you need to be posting the kind of content that people want to read and comment on. Hints about Google+ are popular, as are the kinds of chatty comments that encourage interaction. You can focus who gets to read your comments by using circles to restrict content to different groups.
It is good to put together a posting schedule to keep people interested in what you are writing. A minimum of a post a day is a good idea (and more is better). These only need to be short. Try and vary the types of posts you are making. Remember to comment on your own posts, particularly where they have generated replies.
There is one really neat feature of Google+ which works when you post to a circle of contacts. People who haven’t yet signed up for the service can still receive the post by email. This feature is optional, but can be a powerful way to reach people who may not open your auto-responder messages. Since Google sends the message directly, you can get excellent deliverability from this process.
Way #4 – Syndicate Your Content From Other Sources For Great Exposure
To get the maximum return from your content, you need to syndicate content. It’s easy to do this with some social networks (for instance you can automatically post Twitter tweets to Facebook). This isn’t possible yet with Google+, although that feature is sure to appear. Instead, just copy the tweet straight into your Google+ account.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can enhance this copied content by adding pictures or more detail (you’re not tied by Twitter’s maximum character length). You can also use this tactic to resuse Facebook posts and auto-responder messages. I always like to notify as many people as possible when I write a new blog post, so this is something else you can syndicate content about.
Don’t overlook the vast quantities of old content that you have produced prior to Google+. You can reuse interesting Facebook statuses and tweets, or even old auto-responder content if you think this will facilitate discussion and get interest in your posts.
Way #5 – Comment On Popular Posts And Get Viral Levels Of Traffic
The +1 feature which is central to Google+ posts is very powerful. If you enjoy a post, you can click +1, which gives the post additional exposure. It’s always worth doing this if you find a post useful as this helps to support the wider community, but you can also piggyback on this process.
When you see popular posts, make sure that you join in the discussion and leave a comment. By their very nature, these comments will be read by a large number of people, and you can generate traffic and followers in this manner. If you can find the very popular posts that are about to go viral, you can bring tidal waves of traffic to your sites.
Open For Comments
The sheer potential behind Google+ means that the best marketing techniques will continue to change as Google+ gets more users, but this blog post should form a viable starting point for you if you’re looking for new ideas.
Feel free to add your own ideas into the comment box below. These are really useful, and enhance the overall blog. If you’ve tried something for Google+, and it works, I’d love to hear about it.
If you are already on Google+, feel free to add me to one of your circles. I get automatically notified, so I can add you back.