Cheat Sheet

Google+ Marketing For Dummies

Google+ is so much more than just a social network! It is the social layer that bonds all Google products together. Because there is so much to it, here are some tips to take you to the next level.

Gaining Google+ Followers for Your Brand

One of the most-often-asked questions about Google+ is how to get more followers on a Google+ Brand Page or profile. Everyone should take these specific steps to definite results:

  • Search for like interests. The first step you should take is to search on Google+ for people who have interests similar to those of the people you think would be interested in your brand. Enter sports in the Google+ search box if your brand is a favorite of sports enthusiasts — or photography if your brand targets photographers. A list of people and brands related to the terms you search for will appear.

  • Follow (add to your circles), +1, and interact with people of similar interest. When you’ve found people to follow, follow them! Then make sure you interact with their posts — comment, +1, and participate in their conversations. Build relationships and the people you interact with will naturally want to follow you. Then you can use the audience you build on your personal profile to promote your brand profile.

  • Integrate a Google+ Badge on your website. This relates to utilizing your existing channels to promote your Google+ Brand Page. Make sure you integrate a Google+ Badge (found at google.com/+/business) so people visiting your website can find your Google+ Page. This will also help your search engine rankings on Google.com and bring more people to your brand Page through Google.com itself.

  • Post regularly to generate Google search ranking. Content is king, so they say. The more you post on plus.google.com, the more your content will show up in Google search results when people are searching for things related to your brand. They’ll naturally find your Google+ Page through Google search results! As always, measure those results — using Webmaster Tools — to determine the correct frequency for posting on Google+.

Using Google+ with Your Website

One of the greatest ways to get content on your website ranking well in Google search results is to integrate Google+ into your website. At developers.google.com/+/plugins, Google provides numerous tools and widgets you can integrate into your website to do this bit of magic. Here are some of the most useful:

  • The Google+ Page Badge. The Badge connects your website to your Google+ Page. Having it in place will help your Google+ Page show up in search results, and will make your website content more prominent. It also encourages your existing visitors to circle you on Google+.

  • The +1 Button. The +1 button should be on each individual content or product page of your website. Its consistent presence allows people to “endorse” the content or products on your website, and improves your ranking in Google.com, especially in personal results. It also allows people to share what they find to Google+.

  • The Share Button. This button is what people can use to share content on your website if you don’t want them worrying about the +1 button.

  • Author “rel” tags. Adding a simple rel=”author” to an href tag around your author’s name creates a link to the author’s Google+ profile; then Google starts showing the author’s picture and Google+ profile information alongside your content in Google.com search results. Result: Your content stands out more, and also gets it a little better rank for being more authentic. You’ll also want to list your website in the author’s profile under the Contributor section.

Increasing Google+ Value

You may wonder what Google+ can give you that Facebook or Twitter or other social networks can’t. Here are a few of the best features of Google+ your marketing strategy should embrace right now to see immediate success:

  • Trending terms. Like Twitter, Google+ has trending terms, which you can see in the upper-right of the news feed. Because (at least so far) there are fewer users on Google+ than on Twitter, it’s much easier to rank in trending terms on Google+. Take advantage of this situation while you can! When you click a trending term — or any hashtag (or just search for anything) — a stream of very rich content appears, and it updates automatically. When you update from that stream, you don’t even have to include the term for it to be added to the conversation under that particular term. This unique view provides an experience that neither Twitter or Facebook can offer.

  • Hangouts. With Hangouts, you can video-chat with up to nine other people (10 total) at a time. This provides major opportunities to meet new people, network, and open up your brand. You can also turn on “Hangouts On Air” and broadcast your Hangouts to the world, which also records your conversations to be viewed later on YouTube.

  • The +1 button. The +1 button isn’t just another version of the “Like” button on Facebook. A +1 endorses anything you see on Google+ or any website that integrates the +1 button. Your friends can then see what you endorsed, which improves their interest in that item. At the same time, your +1 also contributes to the factors that rank that content in Google.com search results. Use +1 buttons to affect Google.com search!

  • Events. Much like Facebook, Google+ provides events to which anyone you invite can RSVP. The big difference is that you can organize events around Google+ Hangouts, providing a virtual experience on top of a live experience. At the same time, your events’ attendees can visit the mobile app for Google+ on their phones and turn on what’s called “party mode”. When attendees turn on party mode, every photo or video they take during the event will be posted automatically from their phones to the event’s wall for others to view and see during and after the event. It gives posterity lots of stuff to see.

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