7 Steps to Using Google+ to Grow Your Company’s Community

Google Plus to Grow CommunityDo you have a business that is ready get the exposure it’s been looking for online? Have you taken the time to set up your Google +  profile?

It may not have been a top priority to create a Google + profile when there’s already Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and tons of other social networking sites; Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare popping up, but it’s safe to say that Google + is here to stay.

It’s no secret that Google is the top search engine and Google + reported at least 500 million users, with over 2/3 of them being active.  Now that’s a lot of users, and with these users comes a huge percentage of potential customers and sales. It’s no wonder that so many will undergo SEO campaigns and create strategies to rank the highest in google search results for their markets they participate in.

Did you know that the posts you share on Google + are indexed by Google’s search engine? If you’re sharing content and posts about for instance, home cleaning services in California, when someone searches home cleaning services in California, you’re more likely to show up since you’re sharing posts and content about just that.

Also, with social media links being given more weight than in the past, your ability to rank above your competitors is going to rely much heavier on social than it did in the past. For this post, I’m going to focus on leveraging Google +  to help grow your company community online and help you rank higher and be in the spotlight above your competition.

So how do you use Google + to grow your company community? I’ll outline several steps that are easy to follow and will help you use Google + to grow your community.

1) Create your company page

  • First, create your company profile and add relevant photos and information so page visitors will understand who you are and what you offer.
  • Make sure to add relevant keywords and terms so you can show up in search results.
  • Add photos that help tell your company’s story and add value to the page.

2) Utilize what you already have

  • Have your employees and business relationships/partners on Google + add you to their circles.
  • Ask them to start engaging on your page and generate some conversation and activity.
  • Your current community is a great asset to help get your company initial exposure and they’re already knowledgeable on your company, they can help recommend you to their circles as well.
  • If your company is engaging in a guest posting strategy, it’s a good idea for them to engage in Google Authorship.  By having a link to your company Google + in their own account, that can help drive traffic to the company page, as well as identify your employers as thought leaders in the industry.

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Authorship, click here.

3) Connect across platforms

  • Connect your Google + across your various platforms; website, Twitter, Facebook, ect. are all connected to your Google +. If traffic is already being driven to one, by having a link to your Google + page, you have an opportunity to drive traffic there as well.
  • If your company is engaging in social activity; forum posts, blog commenting, guest posting, be sure to include a link to your Google + page when possible.

4) Find relevant and interactive communities

  • Search for communities that are both relevant to your company’s demographics and that are interactive.
  • Interactive communities will be a good place to get ideas for content to share on your page as well as a good opportunity to listen.
  • Listen to what is driving the conversation; see who is driving the conversation, and what your audience really values and wants to be social about.
  • Listening helps you understand the type of content to share and how to drive the conversation.
  • Active and relevant communities are also great places to find content to re-share and individuals to build relationships with.

5) Content Sharing

  • The type of content you share and the schedule in which you share your content is critical to a community’s growth. By listening to and understanding the type of content your community values; as mentioned above, you’ll know the kind of content to share.
  • Create a schedule of sharing content daily to help gain a community of return visitors.
  • Share content that isn’t sales driven but helpful, engaging, and educational. No one wants to hear sales pitch after sales pitch.
  • Share content related to your communities interest, not just your own.
  • Create opportunities for interaction on your posts by asking for questions or feedback.

6) Take advantage of Google Hangouts

  • Use Google + hangouts to create hot spots for discussion and peer to peer interaction.
  • Much like webinars and tweetchats, Google + Hangouts are a great way to offer value to your audience as well as stand out in your community as a place to helpful content and information.
  • You can record the conversations to add to your YouTube channel to help boost your company’s video content.
  • Visit the Google + hangouts page to see which live hangouts are happening and see if there’s any going live that you can jump into to get to know your audience better.

7) Create a community

  • Much like sponsoring an event within your niche, creating a community is a great way to identify your company as a thought leader in the industry.
  • Creating a community is a great way to keep a close eye on what’s happening in the market.
  • Positions your company as a brand that wants to give value back to your community.
  • Make your group public but on an approval to join basis so you can cut back on spammers.

You’re next

From creating a page to taking advantage of all the social possibilities that Google + offers, these tips can do a lot to help you position your company in a way that will enable you to grow your company community. Google + helps you establish your credibility, improve your visibility and both grow/nurture your community.

Did you find these tips helpful? Have you used any of them yourself? What Google + features have you used that you found to be beneficial in helping grow your company community? Please leave a comment and let everyone know!

Bio:

Benjamin Taylor is a writer for Eloqua, an international online marketing firm that provides a unique blend of social media tools, content marketing and asset management software. His professional insights are only surpassed by his handsome looks and crippling addiction to World of Warcraft.

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Comments

  1. I’ve made it my New Year’s Resolution to be kinder about Google Plus.

    It’s true that, compared to Facebook & Twitter it feels less intuitive and immediate. However, it is inevitable that it will gain traction as Google will see to that.

    Convincing people of its SEO benefits will increase its use I think.

    This is great though, thank you.

    This is all great
    Louise Dillon recently posted..8 Social Resolutions for 2014My Profile

    • Ben Taylor
      Twitter:
      says:

      I agree that if more people involved in rankings get into it…it’s use and value will increase. Thanks for the kind words Louise!

  2. The year gone by was when I started figuring out Google Plus and the highlights were getting a customized name rather than one with all those awful numbers!

    Part of my plan for 2014 is to create an active business page. Thank you, Benjamin and Tom for the tips!

    • Ben Taylor
      Twitter:
      says:

      Of course. Happy to have helped. One of the biggest pitfalls I see happen far too often and I hope that it doesn’t happen to you is after the set up and what not…making sure to keep it active. That is the hardest part and if you can make sure to stay active and sharing content and what not, your page should be stellar. Thanks again for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Thanks for the very needed information. I haven’t had much time to set up my google+ profile since I already had facebook, twitter and Linkedin. But with the informantion Ive been getting about google+, i see it is worth it to set it up. Thanks!

  4. Some excellent tips. I have tried everything except hangouts. As far as I can see actively participating in communities is the best way to reap benefits from Google+. It’s sort of like forums but with lots more added benefits like SEO and branding.

    • Ben Taylor
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks for the kind words Nishadha. The hangsouts are great when you really want to bridge the gap between offline and online. I would say the hardest part in terms of community participation is sometimes the not-so friendly use and feel of their groups but that is something that just takes getting used to. People used to feel the same way about Twitter.

  5. Well described!
    I still haven’t used those tips you’ve talked about, but I’ definitely will. Since this is really important to keep your community growing.

    • Ben Taylor
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks Serge! Hopefully you can take them to the playing field if you will! Community growth is definitely critical. My goal for 2014 is to make it grow like a chea pet

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