Sorry, but Google+ isn’t going away. In fact, some might say it’s become inescapable, as the big G busily integrates it into everything.
That’s why it’s essential to learn how to use this key network for building your brand. Here are 14 tips that not only help you “get” Google+ but also master it.
Image: Yoel Ben-Avraham
You can’t use Google+ well unless you figure out what it is all about. This first set of resources will help with this.
1. An infographic from Leverage shows how Google+ stacks up against the other social networks in terms of numbers and brand usage.
Key takeaway: With 925,000 new users every day, Google+ is worth watching.
2. What is Google Plus? A Complete User Guide by Martin Shervington is pretty comprehensive, including up-to-date guides and videos covering every aspect of the social network, both for personal and business use.
Key takeaway: Google+ is “a phenomenal tool for human communication.”
3. Mashable’s Beginner’s Guide to Google+ is less comprehensive but possibly easier to handle if you’re just getting started. It provides introductions to all the site’s key features.
Key takeaway: Google+ is now the world’s second largest social network, providing a “deeply immersive” experience.
Image: Charlie Wollborg
Using Visual Features in Google+
Google+ has a lot to offer, and some of its main impact is visual.
4. Copyblogger’s 6 New Rules for Becoming a Google+ Hangouts Hotshot in 2014 shows users how to push the boundaries of what has been a killer feature of Google+ since the start. If you want to find out more about Hangouts, check out our earlier guide, then come back to the Copyblogger article for more inspiration.
Key takeaway: Don’t just create another interview show; do something different.
5. In 2014, live video will be very important on Google+, says Biz Journals. Users in the right geographical regions can already create Hangouts on Air, simultaneously broadcasting video events and recording them to their YouTube channels. The recent launch of live video Helpouts is another sign that this is coming.
Key takeaway: Focus on live events and expect to see Google+ plus these more throughout the year.
6. If you’re using images in your marketing, then Google+ could be a key network, and it’s already popular with photographers, as Venture Beat points out. Google+ photos offers great organization, editing and the creation of animations based on still images via its Auto Awesome feature.
Key takeaway: Google plans to revolutionize storytelling through photography, so watch this space!
SEO and Social
The importance of Google+ for search engine optimization (SEO) shouldn’t be a surprise. Nor should its integration of common social network features. Here are some articles to help you with this.
Image: David Bruce Jr
7. Local SEO is essential and it’s a key aspect of Google+, especially since Google Places was folded into its Google+ Local product. Search Engine Watch has a Google+ Local Bible for SMBs which includes tips on setting up and updating your Google+ Local business page, using citations, doing keyword research, as well as ranking factors and content creation.
Key takeaway: Use Google+ Local to put your business on the map and be ready for mobile local search.
8. In 4 Reasons Why Every Marketer Needs to Try Google+ in 2014, Hubspot mentions the importance of Google+ in generating social proof. Whenever you review a product or use the +1 button to recommend a site, you are contributing to social proof, and millions of others are doing the same.
Key takeaway: Social proof generated via Google+ will help you grow your audience.
Image: Yuko Honda
9. The SAP Business Innovation blog talks of the role of hashtags in content discovery. One of the recent improvements to Google+ helps users by suggesting and adding relevant hashtags to content. Not only does this help people find what you publish but it can also help you connect with others talking about relevant topics.
Key takeaway: Using hashtags will result in more exposure for your content.
10. This may surprise you, but a recent SteamFeed article says Google+ trumps Facebook for engagement. This may well be true, especially with marketers suffering from Facebook’s pay to play stance. The article says users have more control with Google+ than with Facebook.
Key takeaway: The quality of your content and your willingness to engage will affect how you do on the network.
If you’re marketing with content, then there are two key things to take care of.
11. Social Media Today shows how to claim a custom URL in Google+. Released late last year, this feature allows you to have a Google+ URL that reflects your brand instead of an ugly string of numbers.
Key takeaway: The article gives the eligibility criteria for people, Google+ local pages and other pages.
12. Search Engine Journal advises everyone to claim authorship of their content as this is integrated with the future of SEO. Since most people want their content to rank in the Google index, this isn’t a big surprise. Authorship also helps with click-through rates, says the article.
Key takeaway: Authorship will help your content to be indexed even faster.
13. One of the most recent additions to Google+ relates to email. It allows anyone who’s connected with you on the network to email you, even without your email address. It’s not hard to see how useful this is for marketers, as they can easily email their social connections. Of course, that also means that everyone can email you—and that might not be so good. BGR has a guide on how to stop that.
Key takeaway: Some people may see this feature as a threat to privacy, but there’s an easy way to turn it off.
14. In How to Stop Google+ from Taking Over All of Your Google Apps, Lifehacker shows the different ways that Google+ is integrated into other services, pointing out that even though it’s a great network, you don’t have to go along with all the integrations.
Key takeaway: Dig into your settings to make sure you only post to Google+ when YOU want to.
Google+ is likely to get even more integrated into Google’s services in 2014. Tap into it, and you’ll be ahead of the curve. So start today: Use the resources above to help you get ready.
What about you? What are you doing to leverage Google+ in your marketing?
Read other Crazy Egg posts by Sharon Hurley Hall.