How to Test and Refine Your Google+ Strategy
To make the most out of any social media platform, you have to have a strategy, and Google+ is no different. In fact, the depth of the platform, with so many features and options for relationship building and content marketing, can make finding a tool to help test and refine your strategy quite difficult.
There are several excellent tools out there for Google+, most of them free, but none quite as refined and comprehensive as Steady Demand Pro. When used daily, this tool can help you:
- spot-check spikes and dips in activity on your Google+ posts
- learn the best combinations of post types and times to post
- develop deeper relationships with your top engagers
- monitor the effect on social signals as you conduct tests and experiments
Oh, and one other neat feature: you can monitor, anonymously, up to five Google+ profiles and/or pages with the Business Plan (up to two profiles are included with the Personal Plan). So, everything you are tracking for your personal brand or your business, you can also track for your competitors and influencers as well.
In fact, let's go through some real-life strategies that you can deploy with Steady Demand Pro. For the purposes of this example, we are going to assume you are tracking two competitors, two influencers, and your personal brand using Steady Demand Pro:
Strategy 1: Get to know Top Engagers
If you are tracking business pages (not available for profiles), Steady Demand Pro has a report called Top Engagers that displays the top +1'ers, commenters, and sharers for a rolling seven-day period.
What to do: Pick a day every week, and add each of these Top Engagers to a circle for each competitor or influencer that you're monitoring. Then, make it a point to interact with relevant posts throughout the week. In other words, make their top engagers your top engagers.
For your own business page, use this report to place your top engagers into a "Brand Advocates" circle that you visit and interact with. Be sure to leave comments on their posts, maybe even share one of their posts to show that you value the relationship they are building with you.
Strategy 2: Look for spikes and dips
Once you start tracking a profile in Steady Demand Pro, the Connections report will update daily with any changes in +1's, followers, and people you are following.
What to do: Use this info to watch for spikes and dips. If you spot one, click on it, and check to see if the posts from that day had atypical amounts of activity, such as multiple reshares. Then, you can head to the Ripples page for that Google+ post right from Steady Demand Pro to follow up with all those new people who are interested in what you had to say. Leaving comments on shares of your content is one of the best things you can do to build influence and grow your visibility on the platform.
Of course, you can monitor your competitor and influencer profiles to do the same thing. Add the people who shared or commented on a competitor's post to a circle that you monitor closely, to see if you'll have an opportunity to connect with them and build a deeper relationship. In the case of the influencer, leave comments on their popular posts to get your name in front of more people, or leave comments on posts that have very little engagement to get the attention of the influencer.
Strategy 3: Create a promotional post
When the time comes to share something self-promotional, you want to do so at the optimal time, right? The Engagement by Time of Day report will give you a good guideline of when your audience responds to your posts, using a Signal to Post Ratio that helps even out any major differences in frequency throughout the day.
What to do: The report also shows the types of engagement you can expect, so look for the time of day that gives you the highest number of shares per post (since this is promotional, I'm assuming you want to get the word out).
Next, go to the Engagement by Post Type report, and identify which type of post (photo, video, plain text, link, etc.) gives you the most shares per post.
Now, all you need to do is share your promotional post at the right time in the right format, and hopefully you will get a fantastic response.
Strategy 4: Stalk the influencer
We can use the same Engagement by Time of Day report to track when influencers are most likely online.
What to do: If you want to impress an influencer, start by looking at the Engagement by Post Type report for the influencer to learn what types of posts do best on their profile (for example, a link or a photo). Then, share that type of content, at the time when they're most likely to be online, with the hope that they'll see it and share your post to their own profile. Remember, of course, to +mention them in your post.
Strategy 5: Run and monitor tests
The Connections reports can show you, at a glance, how well your tests are doing at generating social signals. What you will be looking for as you conduct your tests are the changes to the curves in each of the reports. If the graphs grow more sharply, then your tests are having a positive effect. If they level off, or dip downward, that means you are losing followers.
What to do: You could test different types of posts, post frequency, and times of day; the Connections reports will be able to help you watch the impact of your efforts so you can refine your strategy.
Remember, analytics tools like Steady Demand Pro are meant to help you monitor and make sense of your strategy. Which means you have to have a strategy in the first place, otherwise the reports are meaningless to you, nor are they actionable. Hopefully, this tutorial gave you some ideas to implement when using Steady Demand Pro to track your Google+ strategy. What else would you add? Let me know in the comments.
Steady Demand Pro has a free 14-day trial. If you use the code brandmanager when setting up your account, you can save 20% on your plan for the life of the account.
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By Stephan Hovnanian
Stephan Hovnanian owns Shovi Websites, a website design and email marketing firm based outside of Boston. He is also the author of the Google+ Pro Tips ebooks series, and host of the weekly show, Google+ Business Spotlight. Stephan strives to distill the experiences and expertise in web design and online marketing trends, and present it in a way that works more appropriately for your particular situation, your goals, and yes, your limitations.