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How To Develop A Google Plus Content Strategy

Start by determining your end goal.

Before you post a particular piece of content, you need to identify the goal you are trying to achieve with that post. Every post you make on a social network needs to have a purpose, a goal – something you can measure and quantify as being part of an overall strategy.

Here are some common purposes and goals:

  • Engagement (likes, comments, shares)
  • Clickthroughs
  • Search engine marketing signals
  • Lead generation
  • Prospecting for future blog content
  • Feedback
  • Grabbing the attention of influential users

Secondly, you need to determine what type of content you will be posting. Generally speaking, there are five types of content you can post on Google+. These are:

  1. Text
  2. Link
  3. Photo
  4. Event
  5. Videos and Embedded Objects

Its worth noting that images and video are very popular on Google+. In particular, they dominate the “What’s hot and recommended” section under the Explore tab. In your Profile settings, be sure to make all your photos public, downloadable and showing geo-location to enable your content to be engaged with.

Following are the best practices of developing a Google+ engagement strategy, so you can develop a content for your brand or business on the platform:

Longer Posts Work Best on Google+

Unlike most of the other social networks, Google+ posts that get the most engagement in the form of comments and re-shares are resource-type reports, articles, how-tos and tutorials. The more relevant and content-based your Google+ posts are, the more search results you are likely to show up in. The audience on Google+ tends to be less casual than those on Facebook and Twitter, and a lot of the content shared on those platforms would not be appropriate for G+. However, the platform seems to be more receptive to promotional type content. However, it still requires a certain level of tact. You could approach promoting your business blog on G+ by creating a new discussion with a question, just as you would do on Facebook, but this time, you would use a more formal tone.

For example, you could say: “We’ve found targeting prospective customers earlier in the sales process through content marketing to be a very effective sales approach. How has content marketing helped your business?” or “Our clients have found Twitter to be a significant lead generation tool. How has Twitter helped your business, sales-wise?”

With these comments, you’ve expressed a fact-driven opinion and an interest in everyone else’s; all the while you’re promoting your own business.

Your Mission on Google+

Your mission on Google+ is to develop meaningful relationships with your target audience by showing, through your profile, page and content, that you understand your target audience, as well as the challenges and problems they face. You also want to show that you have the knowledge and expertise to solve their problems. You want to get the conversation going about you and your brand, and develop an emotional connection with your target audience. That is what you should be focused on doing.

Show Your Personality

Show your personality in your posts so that people know there’s a real person behind the posts and that you are not just interested in making a quick buck, but in building relationships. The fact is, social media works for brands that use it correctly, and cheapen, and ultimately, destroys the reputation (brands) of those who use it incorrectly. Google+, just like all social networks, requires regular interaction and engagement with your target audience.

Your audience wants to connect with you. If you don’t have conversations with your target audience, it will not work for you. Google+ allows you to jump in when conversations are going on about your industry. You need to join the conversations when they are taking place. If your messages are completely one-sided, people will tune you out and choose that competitor who is actively engaging with them.

The keyword in social media marketing is “social”. Your audience wants to connect with you as a person, not as a faceless brand hiding behind stiff corporate talk.

Use Mentions and Hashtags

@mentions and hashtags are highly effective on Google+ in tagging other users in your posts and grouping related content – just as they are on Twitter. To hyperlink someone’s name in your posts, type “+” or “@” and then his or her name. Search Google + for mentions of your name and the name of your business daily. Save these searches for quick reference; respond to mentions and re-share posts. Comment on other people’s comments, carry on conversations with interested followers and promote your followers with the +1 tool.

Add three to five hashtags at the end of your post. Do not #mix them in like you do on #Twitter. Be sure to make the hashtags relevant as well; hashtags are incredibly powerful discovery tools. Use hashtags as the keywords you want to be associated with. Add #googleplus and #googleplusbusiness trending topics and hashtags relevant to these topics. Use these features to identify which hashtags give you the best opportunity to align yourself with the topics you know the most about.

Sharing Status Updates

The quality of your posts is the most important aspect of your G+ presence. The “Share what’s new …” box is where you can share your content with your followers, whether it be articles, company blog posts, ebooks, white papers, employee information, photos, video, notes, music, etc. It is your role to keep your followers engaged with your brand, and the primary method of engaging your followers is through purposeful status updates on your business’s page. Although Google announced that their status updates have no character limit, tests carried out by industry experts revealed that posts beyond 100,000 characters would result in errors.

Among the goals to keep top of mind when creating content to post is that they should elicit a response, ultimately likes or comments, from those that read them. As you create content to post on your page, bear the following tips in mind:

  1. Statistics show that posts gain the most visibility during non-traditional waking hours- 8 p.m.-7 a.m.
  2. Create posts that are concise and to the point, as they are more frequently read than longer stories
  3. Ask questions that will elicit a response from followers
  4. Post promotional content sparingly as it can turn off many followers if viewed as excessive.
  5. If you will be promoting external content, events or other businesses, you should always include the direct website link – the full URL.
  6. Include images and video content when possible to create visual interest to your page
  7. Ask for comments directly in occasional posts.
  8. Although G+ updates can be up to 100,000 characters before they start displaying errors, studies show that the most popular posts are those that are concise and to the point, as they are more frequently read than longer stories.
  9. Post regularly- daily, if not several times throughout the day
  10. Sharing links through status updates on your Page can be an effective and powerful way to boost the SEO ranking of the page. G+ allows you to share links by entering the raw URL into the “Write something…” box. By including the raw URL in the text of the status update itself, G+ auto-links the text directly to the URL. Note that clicking on the raw links will take you directly to the URL’s destination page.
  11. Industry news makes for a great update. If you offer informative articles on your website add those in along with a quick summary plus the link to the webpage. Useful, relevant and meaningful information, links to how-tos, tutorial and other types of helpful information is the type of content that will help build trust with your target market. Instead of just trying to sell your product or service, you’re helping people by providing them with valuable content related to your industry.
  12. Identify your most influential followers and follow their accounts on Twitter. This will enable you to get meaningful information and insights into the topics that are most relevant to them. Segment those key influencers into specific Circles, so that you can address targeted and more relevant updates at them.

Content Presentation and Formatting

Google gives you a lot that you can use, but you’ll need to format the content in order to make it attractive. Fortunately, Google+ provides a lot of features that allow you to make your posts look engaging and attractive.

Note that Google+ allows you to edit existing posts. So if you notice a mistake, or the there has been a change of some sort in the subject matter, you can edit the post within Google+. To edit a post on Google +, click on the arrow in the top-right hand corner of the content in question and choose Edit Post from the drop-down menu.

  • To embolden a word, add asterisks on both sides. E.g. *Web analytics*.
  • To italicize a word, place an underscore on both sides of it. For example: _I am italicized_.
  • To strikethrough a word, surround it like hyphens. For example: –Web analytics-.
  • You can use bullets to break up the text. Press Alt + 7 to create these bullet points. Any of the special ALT codes on this list can be used when you create your Google+ updates.

Among the goals to keep top of mind when creating content to post is that they should elicit a response, ultimately likes or comments, from those that read them. Bear that in mind when you craft your updates.

Best Practices for Post Formatting

Bold Titles
Each Google+ post is a unique URL. This means it is a web page, and has a <title> tag.

The title of that web page usually includes the following:

  1. your name
  2. the word Google+, and
  3. the first few words of the post itself.

Putting a bold title at the beginning of your Google+ post does three things:

  1. It tells people what the post is about as they scan their feed.
  2. It serves as a title for any social shares.
  3. By being bold, it ensures that any keywords used will be emphasized.

The 60/30/10 rule

A successful Google+ brand marketing strategy is one that is based on the 60/30/10 rule. Your aim is to leverage the platform to develop relationships with prospects, forge bonds with thought leaders in your industry and strengthen your relationships with existing clients through online engagement. You can do this effectively by incorporating this rule in your social media marketing strategy.

Approximately 60% of your posts should be focused on the needs of your targe audience: 

As much as 60 percent of the content you produce should be focused on the requirements of your target audience. This can include industry news, fresh, late breaking news, how-to guides, videos, courses, FAQ answers, and external links. In order to post helpful information, it’s necessary to curate relevant and high quality content from reliable sources such as industry professionals, thought leaders and experts in your field, whitepapers and governing bodies to provide constant stream of information flowing in the correct channels.

This is typically “OPC” (other people’s content). Put yourself in the position of your target audience and ask yourself: “if someone tweeted this to me, would this content be valuable?” If the answer is yes, then it’s likely that others will too.

Approximately 30 percent of the content should be company information.

Posts about company information are posts that do not have anything to do with selling a product or offering a service. It is information about the company in general, and should form approximately a third of your tweets.

The aim of these type of posts is to humanize your brand and help people get to know more about the company you work for. Remember your goal is to build relationships on the platform. You want to show enough of yourself and your brand to encourage people want to build relationships with you.

Less than 10 percent of the content you share can be promotional.

As long as you’re providing value to your audience, there’s nothing wrong in posting some promotional content.

If you want your brand to be a success on Google+, developing a strong relationship with your target audience on the platform is absolutely essential. Social engagement should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. If you are not prepared to engage with your target audience, then you are missing the very essence of social media.

Post a link to a Google + post.

Every Google+ post is a web page, which means you can share a link to a Google+ post instead of resharing the post itself. Linking directly to the Google+ post instead of sharing it has the intent of driving traffic to that post. You can do this with your own posts too.

when you share a Google + link, you typically get the profile image of the user whose post you are sharing. If there are other images associated with that post, like a photo, or the thumbnail of a link that was shared, you can scroll through the thumbnail images and select it (on desktop only).

Use a Conversation Calendar

In order to build an effective G+ community, you need to be able to engage your page’s followers regularly through relevant and useful content that your target audience finds valuable. Using a conversation calender is an extremely efficient way for your business to control and refine its conversations and deliver on-going and compelling communications. A conversation calendar helps to keep your posts updated regularly and maintain an organized and structured delivery of the content you’ll be sharing on your Facebook page over a period of time.

Click here to learn how to develop a Conversation Calendar.

About Andre Hospidales

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