About a year ago Google launched Google+. It was the search engines giant's first foray into the field of social media. Opinions about its success are mixed. Some say Google+ is too much like Facebook to make a large difference in user's behavior. But Google marches on with its "Plus" strategy. Recently, it closed Google Places to make room for Google+ Local. So please its tepid beginning, it looks like Google+ is here to stay.
What can a business person do to get more leads, clients, customers, and business using the Google+ platform? First, just like Facebook you need to build a following. One way to this is to remember changes Google is making through its platform. The magic word Google is trying to instill in all of its platforms is "content". Make your content compelling, useful, and informative and you've taken the first step.
So, what is good content? Content can take the form of blogs, videos, ebooks, and webinars. When optimizing your Google+ page, be sure to include the following: Attractive cover and profile images; text that is concise and informative; photos and videos of your products or services; and do not forget the links to your site.
Once you've engaged your Google+ followers with your content, you'll be able to drive them to your site so they can get the complete picture of what you offer. Once they are there, you can convert them into leads. The first thing to do is to set some goals and a way to measure your success. When setting your goal there are a three numbers to look at. The goal itself: how many conversions do you want? To get that number you need to consider the total number of visitors to your site and the percentage of them you want to convert to a lead. If your traffic is low, the solutions are either increase your following in Google+ or improve your content. If you're getting the traffic, but the conversions are low then the problem is how do you get your visitors to take action? Is there a clear Call to Action on our landing page? What inducement are you using to encourage your visitors to take action?
What features does Google+ offer that will help you generate leads? Let's review some features:
- The ability to post real-time updates. Do this by offer content that is compelling and of interest to your community. A couple ways to do this is to check your own website and see what the most popular pages are. Explore the internet on the area of interest that your business is involved in and find out what the most popular blogs are about. Read posts from your followers to find out their interests and concerns.
- Be aware of timing. If you post more than once a day, make sure to space them out. The best time to post is between 10 AM and 1 PM according to Google. When you post, invite your followers to share. You can even invite them to add to your post. Another good practice is to mention people and use hashtags in your post.
- Make your posts personal. Mention other Google+ users by name. You do this by adding the + sign in front of the name you want to mention. By doing this you will appear in the search results when people look for them on Google+. This gives you added reach.
- Share your photos and video's. Get bang for your buck by adding a link to the photo or video back to your landing page. If visitors' click on it, they may heeded your call to action once they're on your page. You can edit your photos right in Google+, and Google+ also accepts animated .gif photo's. And remember: Post compelling content in your media uploads. Do not post willy nilly. Have a plan when you post.
One significant upgrade that must be stated is your ability to segment your audience in Google+. Segmenting and nurturing specific follower's is done through Circles. Google+ Circles allows you to share different information with different groups. For instance, if you're a landscaper, you probably have residential and commercial accounts. You can segment you're audience accordingly, and provide information specific to either group, or circle, without it being seen by the other one.
Another nice feature with Google+, is your ability to email your followers about an update. To do this is real easy. After your post is created, left click on the Circle you want to share it with. Then select the check box "Notify about the post." Everyone in the Circle will receive an email notification about the post. On caveat to remember is that to prevent spam, Google will allow the email to be sent to only 100 members. So if you have a large Circle, you will not want to use this option. One last thing to consider. Members can "mute" your post, which essentially takes them off your mailing list. So once again, be mindful of providing compelling content in every post.
As Google continues to add users and updates to its Plus platform, the smart business person will get on board and take advantage of the features Google+ will offer. As Plus is integrated into the algorithms of Google's search engine, having a vibrant presence on Google+ should have a substantial impact on your business.