Editor’s note: Google began deprecating its Google+ API on January 28, 2019. You may no longer have access to Google+ either natively or through a third-party tool.
Once you’ve made a good start on Google Plus, social strategies will be about building a tribe around you who love what you do.
One thing you’ll need to keep in mind though, is this: some of these people may be your customers in time, some may be your out and out evangelists, some will be both.
Building relationships through Google Plus will provide an increasing number of opportunities too, as people start to know, like and trust your brand.
Here are 10 simple tips and action points that will enable you to get more followers on your Google Plus page.
Step 1: Private messages for your most loyal emerging followers
This is really where the fun starts. You can move from public posting to posting to a more select group of people.
As you well know, you are going to have to give up a lot of time, effort, energy and content for free as an investment to building trust.
If you rush in and ‘try to sell’ it will fail. Don’t do it. Instead, look to add value and make people feel special, like they’re a part of something, this is the secret to getting and keeping more followers on Google Plus.
Now, you may well spend a lot of time ‘trying to please people’ and getting a buzz along the way (engagement feels good!) but know that won’t be sustainable if you want to do business.
Here are a few ideas you can offer to them:
- A free and exclusive video course about ‘that thing’ they are into – asking them for their opinion and feedback
- Notification of upcoming ‘special events’ they would love to be part of
- Give them the ability to ‘join the event’ (ideal for Hangouts-on-Air) and be part of the show
- Look to interview them (this awesome, but don’t rush to contact high profile people as it is best to be established first)
Tip: How to notify people by email
Note: if you do this and you don’t get any engagement from the people you contact, it could be that you rushed into this step, or that people don’t relate to your offer.
Step 2: Be top of mind
One of the ways to ensure your advances are well received is to go back to basics – +1/comment and share other people’s content.
Every time you do this, people receive a notification from you, and see your ‘face’ or your brand’s logo. People love engagement, and when they have built up a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling around you, people will generally be happy to take a step further.
Taking it up a Level, make sure your image is making the right impression – a smiling face generally has the right psychological effect. And, if you are a brand, check and make sure your logo looks good for notifications on desktop and mobile too.
Ok, now back to ‘posts’…
Step 3: Get smart with hashtags
It is a small thing, but important to get right.
When it comes to sharing your own content, you want to choose some appropriate hashtags to add to the bottom of the post.
The main reasons are this:
- People can click on the hashtags in a post and final associated content, or they can search for the tag itself. So, if they click on someone else’s post with a tag #smallbusinesstips and you have this tag, your content may well appear.
- Also, if you ‘jump’ on daily trends you’ll be able to leverage hashtags by your content being listed in the relevant hashtag stream. Again, this can give your content more eyeballs.
Note: this is one of the best ways for your content to go much further when you don’t have a large network. And there’s another way too…
Step 4: Share your content in appropriate communities
This is a very powerful way for your content to be seeded into the right place. Look at communities that are aligned with the content you are looking to share. I’ve left this tip until this stage in the process because I believe you are better off building relationships with the community moderators than you are trying to get ‘another share’ or two on a post.
Also, you must read the community guidelines to see about their posting policy – it is very easy to step on toes and get banned from communities through the over-active trigger finger of a moderator.
Step 5: Start creating your own events
At this stage you want to think about holding people’s attention. And one great way to do this is by running your own Hangout-On-Air (HOA), and inviting your growing tribe to attend.
People get to see you, and this transparency enables you to build trust far easier and quicker than words alone can. The additional elements of visual and voice help people to connect on a deeper level.
Make sure you reply to comments, and add people into circles who have been engaging during the event.
If 100 people are giving you an hour of their attention, then make the most of continuing the conversation and make them feel special. Think of it this way – how long do people read articles? 5 or 10 mins? (You’re still reading? Good!) And how about watching television? People are channel switching all the time.
But with HOAs people really are showing their connection with you. You’ll be surprised at the power of this tool. Use it.
Step 6: Reach beyond Google Plus
If you want to get more loyal followers on Google Plus, go beyond Google Plus and do this:
Connect on every platform with the people who matter to you most. Connect on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and anywhere else they are present. This increases your connectivity with them.
Then, once you’ve done this, your job is to really get to know them like this:
What do they look like
Where are they from
What do they do for a living
Do they like cats, dogs, fishing, basketball, photography, politics, etc
Also, seeing as we are getting into more advanced territories now, you can do some cool things with Circloscope here too.
Full instructions on that here: How to import your Linkedin Contacts to Google+
Step 7: Get creative
This step is an interesting one. People love ‘new’, they love ‘different’. Let me explain how I’ve built the evangelism around Plus Your Business.
To start with, I haven’t rushed; I’ve kept on providing quality content and living this principle- everything I learn, I teach.
But that is not the main thing that’s led to a huge growth in people loving the brand, though, it was this: introducing a way for community members to do the courses we offered without having to pay.
And no, I don’t mean for free. I mean they could attend our intermediate courses in trade of 50 hours of their time, instead of paying thousands of dollars. This has enabled people to feel part of the brand.
So once you’ve started to build your tribes, you will want to have them focus on activities.
Trust me. Google Plus is different than any other social network, and there are some super smart people waiting for you to inform and entertain them.
Here is an example of a campaign I ran for the PYB mascot, called ‘Super GPlusto’!.
Cute isn’t he?
When you have built up a list of people who you email when you have something fun to say, you are well on the way to building your tribe.
Also, look to use Google+ Polls as a way of gauging interest, and starting a conversation too. People love to be involved, and this is part of the basis of co-creating your emerging presence on Google Plus. When you combine polls with creating one or more communities, you’ll find people will really start to feel like they belong.
Step 8: Start building up a Google Plus Community
There are two main types of communities: Public and Private.
Here is a full instruction guide on How to create a Google+ Community.
Public means anyone can see the content, and content can be ‘shared out of’ the community. These are often better suited for larger communities. They can also surface in Google Plus Search too. Handy for growing your membership base. Think about what you call it, and what people may ‘put into Search’ as you may well get a boost if you get it right.
Private means that the content ‘stays in the community’ i.e. people cannot share using the usual ‘share button’ on posts. These are ideal for more private conversations and an intimate feel.
We use these for administration work within our team, for projects, and as membership area for the PYB Academy too.
Here is a guide to show you How to use Google+ Communities for Projects.
Note: once you’ve chosen the type – private or public – you cannot change it.
The main tip I will give you here (again) is don’t rush to set up a community. Wait until you have built a stable tribe around you first (i.e. using Circles). When you get to that point you will have a much better feel of how you can serve them best.
Step 9: Do your research
You are well on the way to your loyal following now, and at this stage you may well want to reach out and research the movers and shakers a lot more. People will tend to respond best once you’ve established yourself as they will ‘see’ your trajectory and want to be part of the journey.
To do this, you need tools, and three we are going to look at are, Circlecount, Circloscope and Nod3x.com
Circlecount: this site is awesome and super easy to use. It has everything from who are the ‘top’ people in each country, who are the moderators in communities, and who is getting engagement on content.
And here is a guide on 10 brilliant things you can do on Circlecount now.
Put simply, this tool will supercharge how you organize your circles.
But also, you can also:
Filter a community
Add people who’ve attended an event
Take a Google Plus post and filter based on who has engaged
Here is a complete post and video instruction guide that will get you moving in the right direction:
10 brilliant things you can do with with Circloscope.
This tool is second to none for finding engagers.
What NOD3x will begin to show you (among many other things) are the top posts within your niche. Viewing these top posts will give you a goldmine of topically relevant engagers.
The enagers you’ll probably be most interested in, are those who have reshared one of the topically relevant top posts NOD3x has identified. The action of resharing is a clear signal that a person is actively interested in your topic. Take these posts to Circloscope to filter down to those who have reshared these top posts, and you’ve discovered the core group of most relevant engagers within your niche!
Step 10: Stop looking at the numbers, look at the numbers!
Two points here:
Don’t worry about your ‘follower count’, and your ‘view count’. Ok, this is actually unlikely to happen, but let me explain.
When you get to a few thousand followers (just using this a vague target) you will have started to find the right people for you.
You only need 100 people who love what you do. Go and serve those people well. Some will buy from you, some won’t. But most will share you content, and tell everyone else how awesome you are i.e. you’ve created a sales team that spreads the message far beyond Google Plus.
You don’t need 1000’s of people engaging on your content every day. And you’re not likely to get it anyway. Instead you want to know that when you share, you have people there eagerly awaiting for it to arrive.
Start looking at the numbers!
This is mainly about one thing – people visiting your website, and people converting into signs ups, leads, sales… etc
If you don’t start measuring your strategy’s performance, you won’t know if it’s worth it.
My blogging activities have led to around 35,000 unique visitors to my blog and the Plus Your Business site every month, and many of those are finding content that has surfaced in Google Search.
Google Plus is simply incredible for Social SEO. But that’s a story for another day…
A few last tips:
I thought it may be useful to end this article with a few ‘orientation tips’.
The first is to resist asking people to add you into circles. It can seem a little desperate, and those who have been around for a while will just know you ‘don’t get it’.
Also, if you seek relationships with people who are not commenting on their threads (super famous people, or Pages who are automating) you are going to find it difficult. Instead, focus on the people who are paying attention. And don’t do a victory lap when someone ‘big’ adds you back in! This is just the start. Relax and just know you are on their radar.
Finally, meeting people in real life transforms relationships – if you really want to connect, find ways to do this.
There we have it! Loads more for you to learn.
And you know where to find me if I can help: www.plusyourbusiness.com – now with a free 14 day course, and private Google+ community support too.