Growing Your Business with Google Plus

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Information about Growing Your Business with Google Plus

Published on March 12, 2014

Author: cristingrogan



Wondering how to use Google Plus to market your products and services, find new potential consumers and grow your business? Google Plus is MORE than "just another social network" or "just another Facebook". Learn more about the benefits of using Google+ for SEO, brand authorship, Google search and Google business listings.

Cristin Grogan | Growing Your Business with

Hashtag: #GooglePlusDAE @cristinTag Me!

Agenda • What is Google+? • Why You Need Google+ • Using Google+ for Business • A Strategy for Starting with Google+ • Brands Doing Google+ Right! • Q&A

A look at Social... • 72% of all internet users are now active on social media • 89% of those between 18 and 29 years old are social media users • 72% of individuals aged 30 to 49 are engaged in social media • 60% of people between 50 to 60 years old are active on social media • 43% of those 65 years old and above are engaged in social media • 71% of users access social media from a mobile device

The Real Question? Do I REALLY have to sign up for ANOTHER social network?

What is

“We don’t think of Google+ in terms of what other people are doing today. Certainly, there’s that feature-race...But for us, even if there were no social service out there today, we would want to implement this strategy. “[Google+] is about transforming your relationship with Google.The number of people going to Google on a daily basis rivals virtually all other properties out there. If we can make that experience more social, interesting and personalized, that’s something we want to do no matter who else is engaged in the same space.” - Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Product

We’re under the impression that Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook... But that’s not the case...

Google+ vs. Facebook The “YOU” Network The “CONNECT” Network 1) The need to belong/connect with friends they already have (users don’t want to be connected to new people) 2) Focus: Self-Presentation 1) Connects others to NEW people who share similar interests 2) Focus: Learning & Exploring

Google+ may have as a strong social component... ...BUT it’s the biggest change in communications since the interactive website. Google+ is not ‘another’ social network. It’s a new platform that is creating and changing online communication.

Google+ is different... • Platform Structure • Each profile is similar to a website • Each post is similar to a page within a website that can be linked back and ranked for target keywords used within the post • Links posted on other social networks are not crawled by Google. Links posted with Google+ are • Google+ is not a separate platform/destination site, like Facebook and Twitter: it’s a “social layer” spread across Google’s various services & products • Not “broadcast-heavy” like Facebook & Twitter - relies on conversations to keep the momentum and activity going • Valuable content sharing with long-form comment threads that foster discussions between Google+ participants • No churning out “quick posts” like other social media platforms • SEO-optimized • Facebook & Twitter cut Google OFF from it’s data. So while using Facebook and Twitter is great for networking and social media marketing within the platform, you can’t limit your business to that for SEO benefits. Now Google+ gives you that opportunity.

The Best of Each Network Google Hangouts Networking, Groups Wall, Newsfeed, Commenting, +1, Brand pages Hashtags & Open search Video Email Mini Blog (SEO)

Why are we hedging on Google+? • Consumers: • Steep learning curve: Google+ is not as easy to use as other popular social media channels (Google hasn’t explained exactly what to do on the social platform - what’s the purpose of using it?) • Many in their network is not actively using it (as of yet...) • Consumers aren’t sure of how participating will benefit them • Aesthetic design (plain-looking vs. Twitter/Facebook, etc.) • Business Owners/Marketers: • New platform to learn; not understanding all of the benefits • Lack of consumer ‘buy-in’ on the platform • Because consumers are participating in greater numbers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc

Why Do I Need

Today, it could be argued that the most compelling reason for brands to engage on Google+ is simply because it’s brought to us by Google...

User Adoption Rate • Launched in September 2011 • Over one billion enabled accounts • 359 million active monthly users • Growing at a rate of 33% per year • People aged 45 to 54 years old have increased their Google+ usage by 56% since 2012 • 25 to 34 year olds are the most active demographic on Google+ • 800,000 users join per month • 70% of business brands have a presence • 1.2 monthly page visits • 6.6 million users are located in the US • 68% of users are male • 28% of millenials visit at least monthly • More than 5 billion times a day +1 is clicked • 1.5 billion photos uploaded per week “If this place is a ghost town then I see dead people. Lots and lots of very interesting, highly educated, talented, artistic and funny dead people”

#1: SEO Benefits The lines between social media and SEO are becoming blurrier by the day...because social media is increasingly impacting search engine results. Google is pursuing this with each post you make counting towards your SEO equity. According to a study by SearchMetrics, social signal recommendations account for 7 out of the 8 most highly correlated ranking factors in Google search results. Google +1’s lead...

SEO: Google Search Ranking Factors

#2: ‘Social Layering’ into Google Experience • Google+ is integrated with other vital Google service offerings like GMail, YouTube, AdWords, Google Local, etc. In order to access these you must have a Google+ account. It pervades the necessary (and inescapable) use of Google during the user’s online experience.

#3: Value of Users • The QUALITY of the conversations and members on Google+ is higher than the value of those on Facebook

#3: Impact on Search Experience • Ability to own your presence through Google Local • Testimonials and reviews possible when you list your business on Google+ • Combines information, content and context to user search and decision making process for new products & services • Ability to own your digital brand presence and identity through Google Authorship • Personal context when searching through customized results, profiles in searches, profiles and pages on Google+ as a part of returned search results

The Verdict... It’s a MUST-USE platform! Google+ impacts TOO much of the consumer’s valuable Google-based research during the decision-making phase/experience for your business NOT to be on it.

for Business

Google+ Business Page • Google+ has replaced Google Places/Local - through Google+, you can now own the way your business appears in a Google search • Integration with Google Maps which enables consumers to find pertinent contact information like your phone number, address, directions and hours of operation • Keep your page updated - If you use Google’s services, Google will limit the appearance of ‘competition’ directly below your Google business listing • Plays well with mobile - especially Google-operating devices • Increases consumer engagement where user is searching for you - instant access to customer testimonials, reviews and ratings through the Google+ Business listing • SEO benefits & SERP

Get Local Own these results!

Brand Page • If you’re not a local business, Google+ has an option for you... • Having a presence on Google+ greatly impacts your search results - your presence surfaces your content, amplifying you presence on Google Search, directly benefits any Ad campaigns you run with Google • Use Google+’s features to get the most out of connecting with your customers and amplifying your content strategy, creating conversations and interesting ways to engage with your community • Engaging your brand in different communities allows you to find more of your target consumers and start speaking with them to genuinely and authentically introduce your brand, services and products

Circles • Circles are the way you ‘group’ and follow people on Google+ (similar to an ‘email list’) • Focus on WHOM you have in your circles • Segment the content you share on Google+ by using Circles. This can be used to strategically drive traffic from a specific group you’re connected with (i.e. ‘Customer circle’, ‘Potential customer’ circle, etc.); This also allows you to make your content more relevant to the consumer, increasing the chance that it will be shared • Share what is of value to each of your circles to grow your influence on Google+ • Target specific promotions, offers, etc. to these groups • Circles also dictate what you see in your Google+ newsfeed: you can choose to see streams from each of your circles and control how much content you receive from each stream. Or you can choose to receive updates from specific people or groups.

The Ultimate Networking Tool • Yes! Even better than LinkedIn! • Anyone with a Gmail account and a Google+ account will be able to message anyone else with a Gmail and Google+ account even if they don’t know their email address. • Direct & Private Google+ messaging straight to their Gmail inbox • You can I send anyone a Google+ mail? Yes! As long as you have added them to one of your Circles. And if you prefer privacy, these settings are adjustable in your privacy settings.

Google+ Authorship • Google Authorship helps searchers connect your personal brand with the content they’re looking for (‘putting a face to their search’, identifying YOU as the key influencer on a topic - incredibly powerful!) • Google allows you to enable a connection between your brand’s site and your official Google+ page - this produces a “verified site” notation that shows up on a brand’s Google+ page • Use it to gain exposure and build a personal brand in the niche that YOU want • Especially powerful if you’re in a local business owner and/or in an industry that makes you the face of your business (entrepreneur, business owner, doctor, lawyer, realtor, photographer, etc.) • Your most recent posts then also show in Gmail correspondences and

Google+ Authorship

Search Engine Optimization • Optimize your Google+ Profile to be found for keywords in your niche • Complete required fields, website URL, business details and description, including keywords in your niche • Have your Google+ profile page verified by Google (set up a custom URL) • Link your Google+ profile page to your home website and social extensions • Consistently share high-quality content with your Circles and Communities that directly relates to those topics, and include appropriate keywords and hashtags when you post

+1 Badge • +1 buttons can be embedded onto websites and connect with your Google+ page; it’s the only social button with a trackback to a social website that also directly affects SEO • If someone clicks that +1 button your website, it’s a personal endorsement and recommendation that your site provides high quality, educational content. • As more of those clicks gather, Google takes those into account, along with the most common keywords of your site and factors it into it’s SERP when the appropriate keyword is searched • The +1 button is the fastest growing social recommendation widget in history and is on over 1 million websites, receiving well over 5 billion impressions a day • It’s ALSO Google’s way of tracking other individuals who are recommending and interacting with your brand across the web (the greater influence they have on Google+, the more it impacts your SERP)

Unique URL • When you post something new on Google+, whether it’s to a Community, a specific Circle or Public, Google+ gives that post a unique URL • This is indexable by Google and therefore can potentially rank in search results • This content ranks when a relevant keyword in the post is searched. It’s affected by two things: • The amount of people who like the content: The people that re- share and +1 your post within Google+, the more link equity that post builds (share QUALITY content) • The amount of content you share: The more relevant content you share on Google+, the more likely it is that your material will display when those keywords are searched

Unique URL

Breakdown: How Google+ works with Google Search • When you share a link on Google+, the anchor text - first 70 characters - becomes the title of the page you are sharing • Only shared links (the links that are uploaded via Google+’s Link Share option) are followed and pass authority/equity into SEO; links in the post body are “nofollow” • Most links in your Google+ “About” page are followed and DO pass link equity • Uploaded images don’t pass external link equity. Good images may increase a posts’ popularity and click-through rates on the platform only, however, they do not pass link equity on the search engine

Google+ Communities • Google+ Communities are similar - comparatively speaking - to Facebook groups, but remember, people join groups and like brands on Facebook to outwardly express who they are to their network; people join Google+ Communities for the connection, information and the community • Join communities: Listen First! • Join Communities where your target market may be: identify interest areas and challenges within your target market • Join communities that you are interested in that may benefit your business. (Interested in learning more about social media marketing? There are hundreds of communities to involve yourself in). • Position yourself as an industry authority with valuable inputs by posting questions and answers to other’s comments

Hangouts • Google+ Hangouts are Google’s answer to making YouTube more sociable and taking Google Chat/Talk one step further • Through Google Chat on the Google+ platform you can talk to anyone instantly - not just those you are connected to within the Gmail platform • Simplifying the method for creating and producing YouTube videos for brands, individuals and small businesses • Ability to ‘Visual Message’ with anyone in your connected Google+ network (Skype privacy settings limit this) • Up to 15 people converse at once - and you can open that up with the On Air option • Take your consumer behind the scenes and/or expand your content marketing with a ‘visual’ and ‘how-to’ edge

Use for Hangouts • Product Demonstration Sessions • New Product Launches • Customer Support • Webinars • “Hangouts On Air” - Live streamed on YouTube! • Consultations • Give your current consumers something special/behind the scenes • Host a hangout with other business owners that potential clients can watch live • Press Conferences • Host Question & Answer sessions • Have current customers come on and share their experiences with your products

Google+ Ripples • As a part of the Google+ product offering, Google+ has released Ripples to give you insight into your Google+ usage • Ripples creates an interactive graph of the public shares of any public post or URL on Google+ to show you how it has ‘rippled’ through the Google+ network and help you discover new and interesting people to follow and to measure how your content is being used • You can use Ripples to see: • Who has publicly shared a post or URL from your page and the comments they’ve posted along with it • How a post or URL was shared over time • Statistics on how a post or URL was shared from your page • Use Ripples to find your influencers to maintain and continue building that relationship

Photos • Google+ hopes to become the place to go for photo storage, editing and sharing by implementing photo and video services • Auto-Backup on Google-based phones allows all mobile pictures to be auto-backed up to Google+ profile (you can also upload from computer, iPhone, etc.) • Auto Highlight helps you find the best photos of those photos through a streamlined, easy to manage Photo Selector • Auto Enhance includes 18 features (including Photo Booth, Instagram-like filters and borders, Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome turning related photos into .GIFs - turns albums interactive and more of an ‘experience’ to review) • Photos can also be tagged and are keyword searchable within your profile • Decide exactly who you want to share your photos with through Circles (instead of entire network on FB & Twitter) • Google+ offers automatic back-up and free, unlimited storage for lower-res photos taken on Android and Apple phones

Hashtags • Hashtag help people find and join new conversations on a particular topic • More strategic than a Twitter hashtag - in fact, Google+ suggests them for you to help you join appropriate conversations based on the content you’re about to post • Hashtags are a great way to connect the dots between your content and the Circles & Communities that are talking about the same topics • Hashtags also help other users to find you when they search the keyword used in the hashtag as your content will display in their search • Using consistent hashtags (same 5 or 6, rotating consistently), also helps you rank SEO-wise by building keyword association & equity

Google+ Post Timing • Google+ Timing calculates the optimal time to share your posts on Google+ It analyzes engagement on your posts and determines what time is best for you to post.

Formatting Your Posts • You can format your posts in Google+ (YAY!) • Headline: Use keywords & make it engaging (remember - this is picked up by Google searches!) • Use asterisks around a word to bold it (*) and keep your headline under 60 characters (or to the first line) • Italics: Use underscores around the word/s you want to italicize • Strikeout: Put hyphens around the word or sentence you want to strike through • Bullets: Hit your spacebar, enter a hyphen, and then hit your space bar again • Google+ will only post the first few lines with a “read more” option

Google+ Helpouts • Find Help, Get Help (and get paid for helping!) • With Google Helpouts you can get help anytime from people with expertise across a range of topics • As a business, you can take advantage by listing your products and services on this platform and assisting people who are looking for their help. If you select to have a cost associated with it, individuals can pay using Google Wallet • Conduct classes, information sessions, private lessons, etc. • Individuals can also leave you reviews on your business, expertise, etc. which again, gives you more leverage in search results • You can only take advantage of it with a Google+ account!

Google+ & Adwords • When you have a Google+ Brand or Business page and you use Google AdWords, Google sources information from Google+, including endorsements, in the ad (prioritizing them) • These are called annotations, also referred to as ‘shared endorsements’ when shown with a Google+ user’s name or photo • Your ads can show social annotations with no setup or management needed

Google+ Do’s • DO choose your cover photo with responsive design in mind • DO use hashtags when you’re talking about your niche/service/product area • DO encourage reviews from your customers on Google+ • DO fill out your Google+ profile, upload your profile image, etc. • DO add people from your industry into your Circles and continue to connect with them • DO segment your content based on the individuals that are in each of your Circles • DO add +1 to your website • DO network by sending private messages via Gmail once you’ve established a relationship with someone on Google+ • DO join Communities that you’re interested in...and start talking! • DO spend the time learning HOW to participate and understand how the users and platform are different from Facebook or Twitter users

Google+ Don’ts • DON’T overdo the hashtags! • DON’T use Google+ like Facebook • DON’T log into a community full of your potential customers and immediately try to sell your products or talk about your offerings. Give first and focus on making connections (Don’t spam!) • DON’T “keyword stuff” your profile to take unfair advantage of the SEO benefits • DON’T only post about your product • DON’T post without a comment (no links or pictures, etc.)

Getting Started with A Strategy...

Step 1: Set up your Brand/Business Page • Pick the appropriate category: • Local Business or Place • Product or Brand • Company, Institution or Organization • Arts, Entertainment or Sports • Other • Complete your profile • Verify your page and claim your vanity URL • Add the Google+ badge to drive followers from your website • Link your YouTube channel to your page

Step 2: Add to Circles & Groups • Join communities and add brands and individuals to your circles that are relevant to your business • They could be brands in the same industries, your competitors, businesses in the same location, contacts that you’ve made at networking events, etc. • These brands should have the same audience as you and look for pages that have bigger followings

Step 3: Watch • Take a few days to watch them closely. • Learn what type of content works for them, i.e. what resonates with their audience? What draws the most +1‘s or re-shares. Learn what topics people interact with. • Pay close attention to the people that are interacting with the brand and who are active commenters and participants. • (Realize that these influencers can help grow your brand and will most likely be interested in your products, if they are interested in your competition.)

Step 4: Engage • Follow those active users and get on their radar. • Comment on their posts, engage with what they’re sharing • When you add value to their posts and engage with them in a meaningful way, reciprocity will occur within the Google+ community, resulting in engagement on your page. • Through this, you’ll grow a targeted audience of people interested in you, your business and your services/products • Continue the conversation via Gmail only after the relationship is built

Step 5: Repeat! • Repeat with new Communities. • Learn more about your influencers by using Ripples

Brands Doing Right...

Al Jazeera America • GOAL: Al Jazeera America aimed to create a more interactive newsroom, involving the public in the editorial process, at their news channels’ launch • STRATEGY: Promote Open Dialogue with Hangouts on Air: Use a Google+ Hangout on air (live) to tap into communities and set a tone for the network of “human-voiced” storytelling: stories as told by those who are experiencing them instead of by outside observers • METHOD: Before their first broadcast, they invited their audience to pitch story ideas in a Hangout On Air that were not receiving adequate coverage by the national news media. They promoted the hashtag #OpenEditorial to solicit responses and invited the best commenters into the Hangout On Air, including some of the stories during their first broadcast.

TOPSHOP • GOAL: Set the trend through innovative creative digital executions to create excitement around it’s London Fashion Week activities • STRATEGY: Bring excitement and energy of TopShop brand to customers all over the world by partnering with the world’s largest digital company, Google • METHOD: TopShop unleashed a series of innovative online happenings that allowed consumers unique, individual, interactive communication with the brand • Backstage and Red Carpet Google Hangouts • Be the Model - Top models guided their G+ followers through London Fashion Week with exclusive content on their G+ streams. They were HD micro cameras “model cams” so online viewers could see and feel what models experience as they stride down the runway • Be Part of the Team - An exclusive hangout on air was created so users could get a unique behind the scenes look at TopShop’s headquarters, featuring a host of fashion insiders just before the start of the TopShop show • Be the Front Row Fashionista - An exclusive red carpet hangout on air the day of the show with a perspective from the front row, witnessing the arrival of leading editors and celebrities • Be the Buyer - Implemented a hangout app enabling users to pick and choose their favorite items and share them with friends on Google+ - an online contest was run to pick the most stylish user.

Dr. Isaac Porter • WHO: Dr. Isaac Porter is a the owner and practicing physician at Lowry Porter Opthalmology in Raleigh, NC • GOAL: Build his personal brand, the practice’s reputation and it’s SEO through content marketing; use online resources to help build consumer trust and encourage new patients to make appointments • STRATEGY: Use Google+ as his business and brand development headquarters • METHOD: Use Google+ features that help to enhance each part of his business • Uses Google+ Communities to discuss challenges and new procedures with other eye doctors and learn about health care changes and marketing • Uses Authorship + Business/Local to link his face with his business results on a Google Search • Uses Hangouts to make informational videos, interview patients and talk to other experts across the U.S.


Q & A Thank you! m Twitter: @cristin LinkedIn:

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