Google+ is becoming more important in the digital marketing landscape. Google+ is not just a Facebook redux. Instead, it has subtly moved into your emailing, browsing, article writing, creating Google+ business pages, and a variety of other social networking activities across the Web.
Hence, I believe it’s more crucial than ever before for digital marketers to embrace the potential of Google+, and take advantage of this social media platform as much as possible. Google+ at 540 million users now trails Facebook (1 billion users) as the second-largest social network, but its impact stretches out far beyond social sharing and interaction.
If you’ve been feeling skeptical about Google+, don’t worry. I’m going to share some tactics that you can do to bring your Google+ existence to a new level. Even if you’re an early adopter of social media with frequent posting habits, I think you’ll find this article helpful.
I’ll start off with a few of the basics, and then get into some more advanced tips.
1. Use a mugshot for your profile picture.
Do not use anything other than a mugshot in your profile picture. Some post their children, dog, or a cartoon image as a profile pic, but it’s not your best choice for Google+.
Google uses a circular shape to crop the image, so keep this in mind when you select your photo. Your mugshot along with basic information about you will appear all over the place in Google+.
Please note, as of June 25, 2014, Google states that they are dropping author pics from search results.
2. Add a high-res cover photo.
The cover photo on your Google+ profile is useful in many ways. I recommend that you create a custom Google+ cover photo, rather than simply load a scenic photo from your recent vacation.
Whatever the case, please don’t continue using the stock cover photo provided by default. Here are some specific tips for creating a good Google+ cover photo:
• Use keywords in your cover image filename.
• Make the image 2120 x 1192.
• Add a caption to the cover photo.
• Share the image as a photo post on Google+. When you do this, the cover photo will be directly linked to your personal profile.
3. Get a vanity URL.
A Google+ vanity URL is a short and easy-to-remember URL. Here’s the difference between a vanity URL and the standard one:
4. Add more people to your circles.
The more people you have in your circles, the more likely it is that people will follow you back.
Your number of your followers is public data. The number of people you follow is not public data (unlike Twitter). A higher follower number tends to increase your trustworthiness and reputation.
To add people to your circles, just click the “Add People” icon in the top right of your Google+ account.
5. Become more accessible.
If you’re using Google+ as a marketing tool, and not just to update your family members, then you need to improve your accessibility.
Go to your profile, then “settings.” Here, you can turn on following visibility and sharing options:
- Show your Google+ communities post on the Posts tab of your Google+ profile
- Allow people to send you a message from your profile
- Help others discover my profile in search results
- Show how many times your profile and content have been viewed
- Add related hashtags from Google to my newly created posts.
6. Completely fill out your story.
The “story” section of your profile is a rich opportunity for keywords, links, and information about you. Yes, Google indexes this content. And yes, it’s pivotal to have everything completely filled out.
The more information you fill out, the higher the chances of you being found and accessed in Google+ search and general online searches.
• Brief tagline – Nothing more than one line about who you are and what you do
• Full introduction – This is where you can add the most text. Include plenty of information about where you’ve been and what you’ve done. You should also include hyperlinked text. Add links to your company, your personal website, and other places where you are active. Use headings and other formatting features where appropriate.
• Bragging rights – A line or two about anything fantastic you’ve done. Your real accomplishments should be in your “Introduction” section.
7. Share content to get it indexed.
Google indexes shared Google+ content almost instantly. Any new URL shared on Google+ is crawled right away. When you share your new content as a post—pages, products, articles, etc.—Google will index it faster.
8. Fill out all your contributor information.
Make sure you’ve completely filled out all the websites to which you’ve contributed content.
9. Display Your +1’s.
The default setting on Google+ is that your +1’ed pages from around the web will not show up on your profile. However, you can change this to let people see what you have been liking.
Go to your profile tab, click “edit profile”, then click on the +1’s tab. You will now get the option to “Show this tab on your profile”.
10. Be active.
The best way to maintain a strong Google+ presence is to regularly post content. But beyond just content posting, it’s helpful to do the following:
• Add photos. Keeping a running photo album on Google+ increases your visibility and engagement on your profile.
• YouTube videos. One of your public profile tabs is your YouTube account. This is an excellent way to improve your personal marketing.
• +1s. Anything that you +1 on the web can be viewed by others, provided your settings have been adjusted accordingly.
• Create reviews. Any establishment that you review on Google+ can be seen by others. Consistently reviewing places shows that you are engaged and active.
11. Get noticed by others.
Anyone who is logged into Google has a notification center. They will get notifications from time to time. If you want to get noticed by other people, specifically those whom you have in your circles, you can make their notification center light up.
Cyrus Shepard shares the seventeen known ways to trigger notifications:
1. Mention them in a post
2. Share a post with them directly
3. Share a post and you’re in a circle they subscribe to
4. Comment on a post they created
5. Comment on a post after they comment on it
6. Add them to a circle
7. Suggest new people to add to their circles
8. Tag them in a photo
9. Tag one of their photos
10. Suggest a profile photo for them
11. Comment on a photo after they comment on it
12. Comment on a photo they are tagged in
13. Comment on a photo they tagged
14. Start a conversation with them
15. Send them an invitation or update an event
16. Remind them about events
17. Any activity on events they created
Google+ is a networking tool (not a stalking tool), but if you want to reach out to influencers, get on the radar of someone you respect, or simply connect with other industry experts, you can do so with a few tactful touches using notifications.
12. Look at your profile the way that other people do.
Finally, when you’ve made all the necessary tweaks, adjustments, changes, and improvements, it’s time to step back and admire your work.
But how can you see your profile the way the world does?
Just click on your Profile. Beside the profile icon, you’ll see a tab that says “View profile as”. You can toggle between “Public” and “Yourself”.
Check out your Google+ profile in all its glory, just as your friends, fans, and critics will see it.
13. View Ripples.
Google+ Ripples is a relatively unknown feature of Google+. Ripples shows an interactive graph of the public shares of posts or shares. What you see is a visual perspective on how a post is “rippling” through the Google+ community. Ripples only displays collected public data, so you’re not going to see any of the share metrics from people who have shared it among private circles.
14. Invite people to join you on Google+
Google+ makes it possible to send invitations to join the service without needing an email address. This is ideal for enticing friends and followers over from Facebook and Twitter respectively. The “Send Invitations” option on the right of your Google+ screen now generates a link to invite up to 150 people.
Google+ is a huge tool for marketing today, and I predict that it’s going to grow in importance down the road as well. Just as you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, you should maintain a steady presence on Google+ too.