Despite a rocky beginning, Google+ has grown significantly in the past years and now is the second largest social media network with over 500 million active monthly users. While its numbers continue to climb steadily, there are still many marketers who have yet to embrace it as an effective tool for B2B marketing. In fact, only 39 percent of B2B marketers use Google+ to reach out to interact with current and potential customers. If you are daunted by the task of learning yet another new social platform consider this: 70 percent of brands now have a presence on Google+. There's no better time to get started on Google+ than now and the following steps can help you increase your follower base.
Engage with others
Social media is all about interaction and this holds true for Google+. The difference is that Google+ focuses more on finding people who share the same passions and connecting with them. This makes it much easier for you to find people who are actually interested in your industry and start meaningful conversations. There are several ways you can do this:
Circles - Circles gives you control over how you consume content as well as who you share your content with. This targeted sharing ability can improve your engagement rate and retain your niche following.
Communities – Like Facebook Groups, Communities brings together people who share similar interests. As with all groups, you should take the time to listen more than you speak. Keep track of what others are saying and leave thoughtful comments to other people's posts. The more informative your comments, the more you will position yourself as an expert on the matter.
Influencers – It's easy to find and add people on Google+. All you need to do is search for a name and then add them to the appropriate Circle. Once you add them you then can read their updates and comment when appropriate. The more you interact with these influencers, the better your chance of capturing a portion of their and their audience's attention.
Hangouts – Hangouts is by far the most popular feature of Google+ for good reason. You can video conference up to 10 people and record these sessions to share with people who could not attend. It's a great way to connect with others and create content for your content marketing strategy.
Create quality content
Content marketing continues to be the most effective way to build an audience and this is where Google+ really shines. Unlike other social sites, Google+ gives you the ability to format your text to be bolded, italicized or striked through for additional emphasis. As well, there is no character limit to your updates, so you can use it almost like second blog platform. There are also standard features you can use to improve the reach of your content like hashtags and @mentions.
Like other social networks, your posts should provide informative or entertaining content first and promotional content second. Once you've built a large following you can level off the ratios a bit, but even then remember that your content should always provide some kind of value to your followers. The more you share the more authority you will build, but it's still best to practice some moderation. Keep it to 2-3 updates per day if possible.
Encourage easy sharing
Social shares are one of the many signals included in Google's search algorithm so it stands to reason that shares and +1s on Google+ will greatly impact your search engine ranking. And in a way it does. When people are logged into their Google+ account, they receive personalized results based not only on their previous searches but also their Circle. The best part is that the improved search ranking doesn't just apply to your followers, but also the followers of the people who +1 your content. This means that if a major influencer +1's your content, you can potentially get a lot of exposure.
If you want to take advantage of this huge boost in your search rank, the easiest thing you can do is add a +1 button for each article on your site. If you want your Google Plus followers to +1, sometimes all it takes is to ask.
It will take some time to see the fruits of your labor, but the longer you use it, the more you'll understand how you should approach your target audience. Keep track of the posts and updates that do the best and try to see why it performed so much better than others then apply this information to future posts. You'll soon see your follower count and engagement rate grow and you will most certainly boost your B2B marketing with Google+.