Early adopters flocked to Google+ when it was launched last year because that is what they do. Another social network was not what they needed, but it is part of Google and worth checking out. In the past year Google+ has shown to have an effect on search results, because Google is always trying to improve their search results. Social signals has proven to be another card in that deck.
There are also active and thriving communities on Google+, but again, among small niches. Former Apple evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, has written What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us to show everyone how to build a network and community on Google+ (This book was provided by the publisher for my review). I also have a copy to give away. See the end of the post to learn how to enter.
If you are looking for an in-depth guide to using the platform and gaining expertise, you should check it out. The book is focused on effectively sharing content and maximizing its reach, and it doesn’t matter whether you are using a personal profile or a B2B company page to do this. Rather than go into the details, I have pulled out 10 power tips from the book to help you with your Google+ efforts for your B2B company.
1. Sharing Circles
Circles are the core of Google+ and let you control both your outbound and inbound posts. You can segment your audience into circles and share content with just a particular circle. You can also create circles around industries or events to filter posts that are coming in. One way to add value to your followers is to create a public circle of industry journalists, bloggers, influencers or trade show attendees and share it. This makes it easy for people to circle these profiles.
2. Search for Shared Circles
Rather than find individual people, you can find public circles that other people have shared. Search for “shared a circle with you” and this will return all the public circles recently shared. To reduce the number of results, or do a more targeted search, add a keyword, like B2B, marketing or an event name to your search.
3. Alert Someone by Email
If you want to share a post with someone, and they are not on Google+, you can + or @ their email address and Google+ will send the post to them. Use this sparingly. Do not mention all your customers this way on your Google+ posts, but it is a clever way to share off the platform.
4. How to Conduct a Poll
Instead of embedding a poll in a Google+, just ask a question and add comments below as the answers. Readers can +1 whichever comment is their answer. Disable comments on the post to make sure people vote rather than comment. This method of polling was started by Dain Binder.
5. Respond from Email
Because Google has integrated Google+ into so many aspects of its products, when you receive email notification of someone +mentioning you in a post in your Gmail, you can see the entire post and respond right from that email. This saves time and lets you engage with posts without too much disruption to your normal workflow.
6. Always Be Crediting
As you are building a following and audience on Google+, make sure you acknowledge the source of your discoveries. Curating content on Google+ and sharing it is an important part of what you should be doing, and it is a best practice to +mention the people, companies or sites that are the source of that information. It alerts them that you have shared their content and may provide a new connection for others. And it’s good karma.
Chrome Extensions to Improve Google+ Experience
Google+ has been designed for the Chrome browser. Additionally, any programmer can create an extension that adds functionality to the browsing experience, so you can get even more out of Google+. Here are some extensions mentioned in the book for particular tasks.
Roll over any profile or page name in Google+ to instantly see their follower history and the average number of +1′s, reshares and comments. This gives you a sense of someone’s activity and relevance to your company without having to click and leave your stream.
8. Replies and More
This extension makes it easy to reply to the author of post by making sure they see it. One click of the button +mentions them in the comment. The “and more” part of this extension provides more reach for your posts. It lets you easily share any Google+ post, yours or others, on Twitter and Facebook. You can build you audience and engagement on Google+ by letting people on other platforms know what you are doing on Google+.
9. Do Share
This extension lets you schedule your Google+ posts. If you have a global audience, or you just want to test posting on the platform at different hours of the day, you can schedule posts to both personal profiles and pages. Even if you schedule a post to go live in the middle night, try to check for comments as soon as you can. Most of the comments on a post occur within a few hours of it posting.
If automatically cross-posting to multiple social platforms is your thing, this extension will automatically post what you share on Google+ on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. This helps you share valuable content on the other networks, as well as drives traffic back to Google+. Streamified can also pull your blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn streams into your Google+ profile.
Are there any other power tips about Google+ that you would share with other B2B marketers?
Win a Copy of What the Plus!
I have shared this post on the SocialMediaB2B page on Google+. To enter to win a copy of What the Plus, share that Google+ post on your Google+ profile or company page (or both). Post the link to the Google+ post in the comments below. Enter by November 1, 2012 at 11:59pm ET and a winner will be selected at random on November 2, 2012. Only one entry per Google+ profile and one per page.