Third of four parts
We’ve reviewed the details of setting up a Google Plus profile. But, what about engagement? Who should you be adding to circles and, more importantly, what kinds of content should you be sharing? Let’s look at how you can build a strong Google Plus following through content sharing and relationship building.
Google Plus uses circles the same way that other social networks use followers, connections or friends. Once you add someone to your circles it’s an invitation for him or her to add you back. Google Plus allows you to have up to 5,000 people or brands in your circles at a time. This means it’s important for you to start adding people strategically, adding first those who you especially want to take notice of you.
I recommend compiling a list (if you haven’t done so already) of influencers, prospective clients, media and other important affiliations. Start adding them to your circles. Notice there are different types of circles to add contacts such as Friends, Family and Colleagues. You also have an option to create other circles. For instance, I created a circle named Brands.
You don’t need to know the person outside of the social platform to add them to your circles. You should add anyone you would like to be in contact with. Search the name of the person you’d like to add, and place them in the circle that best suits your needs. You may also add circles (or groups) at a time, this way you’re adding multiple contacts at a time.
Share Visual Content on Google Plus
Context is always a consideration when posting to social media. Copy that’s effective on Twitter may not be on LinkedIn or Facebook. The same goes for Google Plus. You’re not changing the message, just the way you’re communicating it.
1. Images. Google Plus users love images. Sign in to Google Plus and you’ll find an assortment of photos, videos and other visual content. Before you begin to post content to your profile, consider ways you can spruce up the update with an image. If you’re sharing a quote, maybe there’s a photo you can share with it. Images found on platforms such as Flickr, StumbleUpon or Pinterest should always include credit to the artist.
If you’re sharing an article from a website, more than likely it has a featured image. Hopefully this image is intriguing and will prompt Plussers to click the link.
2. Relevant articles. People enjoy reading articles specific to their interests. Post articles that are relevant to your audience and they’ll consider you a go-to source for information. Yes, you should share your own content. But that can seem like self-promotion. Share articles from multiple, yet credible, sources to show people you’re up to date on the latest developments in the area of interest.
3. Video. Video is an integral part of Google Plus content. Why? Google Plus owns the video communication platform Google Hangout, which allows users to add multiple people to a video call at once. Google Hangouts can also be aired live and immediately uploaded to YouTube.
Sharing Content with Different Audiences
As we know, matching content to the audience’s interests is vital for engagement. One way to help guarantee content is tailored to the right audience is by sharing to specific circles. You may have circles for colleagues, business partners and clients. Some content may be best suited for business partners, but not clients. When you share content on Google Plus, you are provided the option to choose which circle(s) content is shared with. Content that is specific to a particular group, or circle, is most effective when shared only to that circle. While there may be times it’s most effective to share content to all your circles, think twice before posting. It may receive a higher engagement rate to share only to particular circles.
Strategic content sharing will help improve shares, comments and +1s. (A +1 is the equivalent to a like on Facebook or favorite on Twitter. It’s your virtual stamp of approval.) It shows you’re attentive to people’s content interests and demands. Think of sharing content to particular circles as Google Plus’ way of list segmentation. Of course, be careful to not spam circles with irrelevant content.
Engaging with Fellow Plussers
There are a number of ways to initiate engagement on Google Plus. There are three things I recommend to get that conversation started.
1. Share, comment and +1. People love it when you share, comment on or +1 their posts. If you like something an influencer, client or other contact has posted, let them know! Start a conversation and see where it goes.
2. Be active. Keep a consistent posting schedule. Plussers are very active. Google Plus isn’t a network you can post to for a few days and then stop for a month. Keep your updates consistent and relevant, and engagement will come.
3. Ask questions. A lot of your posts may be images, statements and links to relevant articles. But what people really love is to give their opinions. Ask questions and let others share their thoughts. Not only will this start conversations, it will help you learn what your audiences want.