7 Simple Ways to Improve Google+ Engagement

google+ tipsGoogle+ may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but the growing social network still offers significant benefits for content creators and brands—provided they’re active on the site, of course. The biggest advantage? SEO. And that’s the whole reason I’ve been unwilling to give up on G+ — at least not yet.

So it’s a given that if you know anything about great community management, you’re generating  comments and likes when you post an update on Facebook. And while these interactions show Facebook engagement, they don’t get indexed by Google and therefore are not searchable. Ah, therein lies the rub. Conversely, the content you post on Google+ is indexed by Google and may turn into highly ranked search results providing keyword- and topic-relevant search engine visibility—also known as the content marketing holy grail. Hmmm. You’re paying attention now, aren’t you?

Some of you (myself included) are still interested in hanging in there on the Google+ bandwagon and seeing how it shakes out. And whether you’ve been there since the site was founded or you’re checking it out for the first time, a key question remains: is what you’re doing there generating results?

After all, Google+ is a social network. And participating there in a meaningful way (like you would do on any other social network) matters—at least if you’re looking to generate some kind of action as a result.

Here are 7 that tips can help you boost your Google+ presence and engagement. And, by extension, you’ll boost your SEO visibility. That’s what we call a win-win.

Take time to build your profile: If you expect to increase your engagement on Google+ (or any social network, for that matter), creating an effective profile needs to be your top priority. Take the time to fill out all the pertinent information on your Google+ page and write an informative and concise bio. What do you want people to know about you? Add a well-lit and clear headshot and make sure you take advantage of the cover photo space, too. Your cover photo should complement your profile information—after all, you’re in the market to create a snapshot of who you are, as well as your brand or business. And you’d be surprised at how many people skip this step and wonder why they’re not getting optimal results on the site. This is a valuable, visible corner of the web in which you can promote yourself—use it!

Share informative and relevant content: Content is key when it comes to inviting engagement on Google+. Make a concerted effort to share quality original content, as well as carefully curated information your audience will find useful, informative and entertaining. Look at your business objectives and the types of people you want to be engaging with your brand or business and share information that is relevant to their interests and needs. Concentrate on quality versus quantity. Add variety to keep things interesting and keep Google+ users coming back for more.

Reciprocate: Take the time to +1 articles that you genuinely like and make comments on posts that are interesting to you. Commenting will also help you cultivate relationships with people in your circles. Freely share content you find informative and interesting and make sure you give credit where credit is due. The key to interaction and engagement on Google+ (as well as on any social network) is to remember that it’s a two-way street. Don’t just broadcast your message and information—make sure you’re interacting with others, too. Imagine that! A key component of success on a social network is, well, being social. Go figure.

Add relevant people to your circles: Add people you feel will be interested in what you have to offer. You can easily do this by entering relevant keywords into the search box on Google+. The great thing about Google+ search results is that you can filter them by people, pages and posts, so try using Google+ search to help you find content ideas and keep tabs on industry and other related topics that will help give you a competitive advantage in your field.

Let’s hang out: Hangouts are probably my favorite Google+ feature. Think of it as video chat (instant messaging is available, too) with all of your nearest and dearest G+ friends. Sure, they’re great for social applications. But I’ve also used them for meetings, interviews and other business functions—the possibilities are nearly endless. The Hangouts feature in the Google+ mobile app makes joining in a discussion especially convenient—you don’t have to be tied to your computer to participate. And speaking of the mobile app—it’s pretty slick, right? I love it!!! You can tell the Google+ team has been hard at work since the app was first introduced. If you’ve not yet downloaded it and taken it for a test drive, check it out.

Embrace change: Actively listen to what people are interested in and what they’re talking about. Learn to be observant and regularly check which posts you share are getting the most number of pluses or comments and share more of those types of posts. If you see that your content strategy is not working, be flexible enough to make the necessary changes. Increasing your level of engagement frequently requires you to pivot and adjust to reach your target audience. And keep in mind that what works for your audience on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn might not be as effective on Google+. Learning to monitor and respond to user activities and analytics is a key part of creating—and maintaining—a successful social strategy.

Be present: I know what you’re saying: I don’t have time for another social network! And trust me—I know. It’s tough to find the time to participate. But give it a few weeks’ solid effort and see what sort of interaction and opportunities you find. Social networks aren’t one-size-fits-all—they may not work for your particular brand or business. But it’s also worth taking a site like Google+ for a test drive. You never know—you might stumble on your next brand advocates or clients.

At its heart, Google+ isn’t all that different from other social networks. But the benefits it offers, namely increased SEO visibility, might just make it a worthwhile addition to your overall social strategy.

What’s your take on Google+? Love it? Hate it? Still waiting to make up your mind? Any tricks you’re using that I’ve missed? If so, dish!

Image by Brett L. via Creative Commons

  • http://twitter.com/rhogroupee Rosemary O’Neill

    I’m totally hanging in there too! (Running off to make sure we’re circled…)
    My most recent effective brainstorm was starting to post a big chunk of a blog post and separately upload the image, rather than just posting a link to the blog post. It seems that G+ citizens don’t like to go off-page…I get more interaction the more text I put on G+. And then I put a link to the rest of it, just in case I can lure someone back to my blog.

  • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

    I am a big fan of the hangouts. It has been a great way to meet people and to start building relationships.

  • ShellyKramer

    I am too, Josh!

  • ShellyKramer

    That’s an awesome, idea, Rosemary!!! I’m going to try that!

  • http://thomashawk.com/ Thomas Hawk

    hangouts rock!

  • ShellyKramer

    Agree!

  • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

    I have really liked G+, particularly for discussion. Twitter once was a great platform for discussion for me, but real discussion on Twitter seems to be falling out of favor with most marketers, sadly. Instead, we broadcast our advice to make social media about social and having real discussions.

    However, I’m still boggled by Google’s seeming unwillingness to make it work well across multiple accounts, and I’m concerned that yesterday’s enterprise tools announcement will just make this worse. Now I have two accounts, one for the enterprise tools, and people outside my office are already finding and circling that account as well.

    Unfortunately G+ is one of many Google services that need to be the primary account you are logged into in order to work appropriately. For my work, I have to be logged in to Google wiith a different primary account, which means I cannot +1 content, I cannot join a hangout I’m invited to and I can’t open a link to G+ post that Google emails me… I could migrate my account, but the impact on authorship is uncertain and all historical interaction and posts are lost.

    Maybe I’m an outlier when it comes to how I use Google, but at least for me, they have made it HARDER to use than FB or Twitter, they need to make it easier instead.

    Sorry for the mini-rant in your comments, the enterprise announcement yesterday got me even more worked up about this!

  • ShellyKramer

    I have the SAME rants, Eric. We are a Google Apps for Business customer and run all our corporate email through Google Apps. Yet that precludes us from participating on G+ without first logging into a separate account. Don’t even get me started on this.

    I do see your points though, feel your pain and live it right along with you. I remain hopeful that this will change. And I love the G+ interface – and the people there.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    +1 Gonna have to try it.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    I’ve been trying to use it more as, like you, been in ‘wait and see’ mode. Funny I had someone mention it off-hand the other day “Google like has this thing, sorta like FB.. did you know?!” I giggled b/c yes, I knew.

    My original plan was to use G+ ‘differently’ per my ever evolving social strategy; didn’t want to just repeat and duplicate what I have on Twitter, wanted to see who else, what else I’d find. But that’s not been the case; there’s significant cross-over of users, audience, interests. Plus it’s kinda like how I’d use FB for business if I really used FB for biz (kidding myself I can keep a ‘personal’ network, and rethink it all the time).

    Need to engage their more, just like anywhere else. Share my own stuff once in a while, as well as other content. One tool: Do Share, Chrome extension which lets you schedule. I still don’t want to duplicate everything but know I’ve got to put more in if I’m to get more out. FWIW.

  • TheTysonReport

    Thanks for these sensible points Shelly. Steven Levy’s brilliant ‘In The Plex’ has convinced me that it would be foolish NOT to be involved in G+ because that book really rams home how formidable Google is; the search engine is just the tip of the iceberg really.

    I like Twitter best and use Facebook in moderation but I’ve stepped up my previously anaemic G+ activity a little in recent weeks and I am seeing the benefit.

  • ShellyKramer

    I totally forgot about DoShare! Thanks for the reminder, Davinia. And I am with you, every step of the way :))

  • ShellyKramer

    Oh goodness, now I’ve got to read it. Good to hear you’re using/liking G+. I need to spend more time there, too! For sure.

  • TheTysonReport

    The book won’t disappoint, I promise.

  • Carra

    We’ve found that our Google Plus fan base has grown simply by being active and engaging on it. We still haven’t utilized Hangouts but we’re trying to add it to our strategy.

    Initially I thought G+ wasn’t worth investing in, but there are a few instant benefits you can see. One of which is how G+ enables you to claim authorship which then improves your ranking on Google. Overall I think the SEO juice from G+ is prime, after all Google owns the search world and I think they have big plans for the future. – Carra at Marketo

  • ShellyKramer

    I agree Carra .. and am glad to hear your success story. In fact, if you ever write to write a guest post about it, we’d love to have you.

    I’m not willing to write off G+ just yet, Google has too much to gain from its success. Thanks so much for coming by!!!

  • Carra

    Thanks Shelly! I will definitely let you know if I feel a blog post coming along :)

  • ShellyKramer

    Excellente!

  • http://theaccountantmarketer.com/ Steven Wheater

    I am just getting involved with Google+ I kept putting off but I am starting to see a real benefit of getting involved. I really need to work on building my Circles and contacts though.

  • ShellyKramer

    It’s a process, for sure, Steven. But I’ve always enjoyed G+ and it’s very, very different than other soc nets. Let me know how you like it if you continue on – I’d love to know more.

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    I’m still getting used to Google+ – find my time is spent more on Twitter and Facebook but trying to share more on G+ too. This post will really help. Thanks for sharing on Bizsugar.com

  • ShellyKramer

    You’re welcome! We love BizSugar :)

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  • http://twitter.com/gizmodesign gizmodesign

    Nicely said! I need to spend more time there, and really chat with the people I’d like to connect with.

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