Let’s face it, Google+ is not going to go away like Google Buzz or MySpace. More and more users are becoming familiar with Google+ and using it every day to connect and communicate. Equally as important is the fact that Google+ is more deeply integrated with Google’s other products and services than any other service we’ve every used before. Having a successful Google+ Business Page is no longer an option for businesses who wish to succeed online. However, starting a new social media presence is a pain! Once you take the time to create your account and begin to become familiar with the network tools, you’re left with a profile that doesn’t yet have any interaction with your target customers. In the case of Google+, you need followers! Fortunately, growing your follower base is not as difficult as it may seem. Run through the following suggestions and do what you can, and your shiny new business page will have a nice set of followers soon enough. Google+ will then be an active participant in your social media presence and internet marketing.
1. First Things, First
Before you make an effort to attract more followers, you first must do everything you can to optimize your profile. This includes:
– Posting great content
– Making sure your Bio is complete
– Include links to your professional website, your major products and services, and your other social networks. Your Bio and the links area can have direct links to specific pages and sections of your site, so use that to your advantage.
2. Get Social
You probably already have a presence on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so use them! If you’re posting great content there, many of your followers will be interested in connecting with you on Google+. Ask to be followed and talk about what you will be doing on Google+ and share that on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.
3. Get Verified
Google believes it important to know for sure that you are in fact representing a real business when you create your Google+ page. The easiest way to achieve this verification is to put the Google+ verification code on your site,either through the use of a widget or a meta tag. This will help make sure that your Google+ content shows up in organic searches and helps your website’s SEO.
4. Blog About It
Use your blog to talk about your new Google+ page! Invite your readers to visit your new page and follow you, and be sure to explain to them how you intend to use Google+ as an additional communication tool.
5. Use the G+ Button / Widget
Google offers a number of buttons and widgets that you can place on your website to help website visitors connect with you on G+. Your website platform may also offer plugins and options. Talk to your web developer to ensure that your widget implementation is professional and effective.
6. Follow others
The “Follow First” method works just as well for Google+ as it does for Twitter. However, it’s not a technique that should be used randomly. Following the maximum number of users a day just hoping that a fraction will follow you back will result in untargeted followers, and you’ll have circles filled with people you’re not interested in.
Instead, start with the Google+ Recommended Circles and users and look for people or Pages who are in your niche or talking about topics of real interest to you, either professionally or personally. Since this is your Business Page, the focus should be on professional interests and topics related to your business. Then, begin to check out who those people and Pages are talking about and have circled, and continue to follow more and more people.
The point is to be selective and deliberate in who you follow. Put them in very specific circles so that when you log into Google+ and look at your Home stream or specific circles, you’ll see truly valuable posts and information that it will be easy for you to +1, comment on and share. Following and engaging people in this manner isn’t going to explode your followers, but the results will be far more rewarding in the long-run.
7. Be Different
Being different doesn’t refer so much to how you or your business appears in relation to other pages, so much as how your Google+ Business Page appears in relation to your other social media accounts. It will take time to figure out, but it’s important to understand that your followers are not interested in seeing the same content and interaction (or lack thereof) on all your social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google+ all have their strengths and weaknesses. How can you leverage them to better communicate your message, while not duplicating everything you say?
An example would be imagery. Facebook is OK with images, but Google+ has become great with images, particularly with the mobile app implementation. When you’re looking through your stream of updates from those you follow, it’s the images that stand out and get noticed. Understand that and use that to your advantage.
8. Encourage Sharing
Just as with Twitter, you need to ask your followers to share your content. Some will be moved to do so even if you don’t ask, but research has shown that if you say “Please RT” in a tweet, it’s more likely to be re-tweeted. The same is true for sharing Google+ posts. Google went to great lengths to make it easy to share great content, so just “make the big ask” and see what happens.
Here’s a fun summary graphic put together by The Blog Cheerleader:
And, of course, you need to make sure that you’re regularly sharing great, interesting content. Combine shares of your own content with articles you find elsewhere, and use a tool like Friends+Me to schedule out those shares. Friends+Me can also help you maximize coverage by mirroring key shares to your Page, Communities and Collections.
For more great tips and advice on how to better utilize your Google+ page, please be sure to circle us on Google+! Please be sure to share this post with others, and we’d love to hear your comments or questions on how you’ve gotten more followers on Google+.