17 Ways Knowing About Google Plus Will Make You a Better Marketer #Mozinar

Being a long time fan of SEOMoz (now Moz), I was honored to be invited to give a Mozinar and share my knowledge of Google Plus with the passionate Moz community. As the #1 social media traffic source for Jeffalytics, Google Plus has had a major role in putting this site on the map. You could say that much of the success achieved by Jeffalytics is due to Google+, so I was excited to lead a webinar where I could share many of the lessons that I have learned along the way.

With the quality of content normally put out by the folks who contribute to Moz, I knew that the presentation needed to deliver on many levels. We needed to go much further than “Google+ is important” and help viewers understand how they can use the network to be successful. By sharing examples of the most successful Google Plus users and mixing in my own experiences, I was able to come up with an 89 slide presentation and deliver a 90 minute webinar to 500+ Moz fans. For those of you who were not able to attend, you can learn all about Google plus with the resources below.

Watch the Mozinar and Download the Presentation

If you are an audio/visual learner, your best bet is watching a recording of my Mozinar hosted over at Moz.com. The presentation itself is around 80 minutes long and then there are 10 minutes of questions at the end.

If 90 minutes seems like too long, I have embedded the full presentation below, and you can also review it on Slideshare.

For those of you who prefer to read a summary of what was discussed, the rest of this post is for you.

17 Things You Should Know About Google Plus

1) Google Plus is the #2 Social Network

Earlier this year, Google+ surpassed Twitter to become the social network with the second most active users.

Social Network Active Users

Image courtesy of Forbes

While many people discount the Google+ user numbers based on their own personal biases, the reality is that these are real people who are using the network. As Google works to further integrate Google+ into the entire Google experience, we can only expect people to become more engaged with the network.

Have you noticed lately that when you are logged into Chrome that your Google Plus profile is highlighted?

Chrome is Google Plus

What about when you log into YouTube?

YouTube is Google Plus

Google Maps?

Google Maps Google Plus

You get the picture, Google Plus is more than just a social network, it’s the connective tissue between all Google properties. Just how big are Google properties? HUGE – reaching just short of 200 Million US web visitors a month.

Top US Web Properties

Image Courtesy of Marketing Charts

2) Google+ is Your Identity to Google

For those people who use Google Plus – hundreds of millions of people in the US alone – you have provided Google with information about you that may be used for any number of reasons. It can be positive for marketers to share where they contribute content, what they are interested in and the topics where they have expertise and authority.

Google Plus Information

On the other hand, this information may be used to fine tune the way you receive advertising, identify areas of unscrupulous behavior and simply to better understand more about the people who visit their websites.

3) Google+ is a Great Place to Make Friends

One of the biggest complaints that I see from people is that nobody they know uses Google Plus, so why should they use it themselves? To me the answer is simple: make new friends!

There are literally hundreds of thousands of people sharing interesting information on Google Plus every day. They are generally very friendly and helpful to new users, making it a great place to meet new people.

Make New Friends on Google Plus

A good way to get started is through shared circles, which I will discuss later in this post.

4) Make Sure You Post the Content You Create to Google+

This may sound obvious, but one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not sharing their great content with Google Plus. It could be because they rarely use the network themselves, or they may have simply forgotten. At Jeffalytics, what I have done is installed a plugin called SNAP that allows me to post automatically to Google+ each time I have new content.

Auto Post Your Content

5) Sharing Other Peoples Content is Important Too

One of the best ways to make new friends on Google Plus is to share the content of other people and mention them in your post. An example of someone who is doing a fantastic job at this is +Martin Shervington, who is a true pro at sharing content on Google Plus. He constantly shares videos, images, circles and posts from friends.

Martin Shervington Google Plus Sharing

6) Create a Content Strategy for Google Plus

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a network helps you become more informed with how to properly harness the power within. Google Plus excels in images, videos, circles, communities and hangouts. Tailor your content strategy to these strengths and you can drive all kinds of engagement to your profile and traffic to your website. For some in depth Google Plus Content Strategies, I recommend this post from +Copyblogger.

Google Plus Branding Strategies

7) Images Are Powerful

I posted the same article within minutes of each other using two different methods of publishing and each received drastically different results. The first image was shared as a URL and Google crawled the page to pull out an image. This post had very little reaction from my followers.

Traditional Google Plus Share

Minutes later I posted a link to the same page as an image post with a link embedded and saw significantly more engagement.

Increased Engagement Google Plus

My theory is that images take up more screen real estate and are more compelling to visitors.

8) Top Engagers Almost Exclusively Post Images

In order to test whether my image posting success was a fluke or commonplace, I looked over profiles of other Google Plus users and noticed a pattern: they use images in most of their posts! Here are posts from +Rebekah Radice and +Cyrus Shepard that illustrate the point.

Image Post Engagement

Cyrus Shepard Engagement

9) Bonus Tip: Using Images Brings Further Measurement Opportunities

One thing that I learned in the process of using images for posts is that you can learn how many people viewed your image by looking over your image information. Embedded in the image information on Google Plus is a count of how many times it was viewed. Awesome!

Total Image Views

10) Engage with Communities

There are tens of thousands of people just like you on Google Plus! The easiest way to find them is often by leveraging the communities feature and meeting people with common interests.

Google Plus Communities

I have joined many communities in the past and found that they are a great way to discover new content, meet new people and even share your content when it is relevant.  If you have an interest, chances are there is a community on G+.

11) Notifications Increase Engagement

While I find communities to be really helpful, I must admit that I have never gone back to 90% of the communities I have joined. Without some sort of proactive notification about activity in the community, I just forget to go and check out what’s new. For the communities that I want to interact with the most, I have started to turn on notifications for whenever something new is posted.

Google Plus Community Notifications

Just beware of notification overload. When you sign up for notifications, you may find that you have 10-20 extra emails a day in your inbox.

Notification Overload

12) Can’t Find a Community? Start Your Own!

One of my hobbies is travel blogging, so I wanted to share some of my awesome posts about visiting exotic destinations all over the world. The problem? I could not find a great community that shared travel stories!  Rather than wait for someone else to get this started, I created a community called Amazing Destinations and tapped some of my travel blogger friends to share their content. Within no time people were starting to engage with the community.

Amazing Destinations Google Plus Community

Now I need to do a better job of keeping up the community and getting more contributors, but it’s a good start. If you run into a similar situation, start your own community! Just make sure that you keep focused on posting good content and get others to participate as well. And if you are interested in travel, please do join amazing destinations.

13) Tag People Whenever You Post

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? If you post on Google+ and don’t tell anyone, will they ever know? The best method I have seen for getting people to notice your activity in Google+ is to tag them in posts that they would find relevant or where they are mentioned. Simply using the + sign and their name will go a long way toward engagement.

Plus Mentions

Here are some more Google+ networking strategies to try out from +Mark Traphagen, the most influential marketer I know on Google Plus.

14) Create Shared Circles

Want your friends and followers to know who you find relevant? Create a circle of influencers and then share that circle with everyone. Shared circles are the easiest way to find interesting people on Google Plus, and being included in a shared circle can deliver all kinds of new followers to you.

Shared Circle

Here is a circle of 440 of my best Google Plus friends that you should absolutely follow.

15) Understand the Benefits of Authorship

Authorship is one of the original utilities of Google Plus and is what drew me to the network in the first place. By linking your Google+ profile to websites where you publish content, you can see lend credibility to your search results.

Google Plus Authorship

To learn more about marking up your website with Authorship, here is a comprehensive article from Search Engine Land.

Authorship Mark Up

16) Google Plus Impact on Search Rankings?

I firmly believe that Google Plus impacts search rankings. While many people agree with me, there are also others who disagree. Those who disagree are not debating the utility that G+ provides to search, but rather debating the direct impact to any one factor.

Google Plus Impacts Search

Rather than trying to mediate differing opinions, I would rather share with you some of the opinions cited in the webinar:

Feel free to read along at home and form your own opinion.

17) Don’t Forget to Measure Your Activity and Set Goals

Setting goals is one of the most important things that we can do in order to ensure repeated success in our marketing campaigns. In my post called The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Google+ I cover several things that you can measure in Google+ and how to set KPIs for yourself. Much like the post you are reading right now, I provided multiple ways to learn this content, including video, slides and a PDF guide. While I covered these topics again in the Mozinar, I suggest that you read the original post to get the best understanding of what you can measure in Google Plus.

Conclusion: Google Plus is Important

Hopefully after reading these examples, viewing the slide deck and watching the webinar you can understand that Google Plus is very important. To me, it is important because it is a social network that encourages engagement between members, allows me to meet new people from all over the world and has numerous marketing benefits. Generally the hardest part about Google Plus engagement is simply getting started. I am hoping that these tips help ease the pain of getting started and get you started on the path to loving Google+! If you are waiting for Google Plus to just go away, I think you will be waiting a long time.

Your turn – go and get your learn on! Make sure to follow me at +Jeff Sauer for more tips and sharing.

About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.

  • Margaret Siemers

    +Jeff Sauer, I can honestly say that everything you say here is true. I read everything I can on SEO and Google+ how to, and while I am not very good at it I have improved the traffic to my shop by at least half if not more per day. It does take time to build, but it does work.
    I have a small antiques and collectibles shop in a respected on line mall. When they told us last year to add Google+ to our postings I listened. So glad I did because I got the shock of my life the other day when I Google’d myself and different items in my shop with common terms people use. I showed up on Page One more often than not!
    You can’t buy that kind of advertisement for a lower price. Time and a bit of earnest hard work doing what I love.
    Will be following you from now on. You have a good honest face, and you speak plain truth. I like that. 🙂

    • Margaret – couldn’t agree more and I’m really happy to hear about your success using G+! It’s great that you’re rewarded for being an early adopter and I think that will help set you up for continued success into the future as well.

      • jer kar

        early adopter ? in Nov 13 ?
        Plussers since Jul 11 won’t agree, dear Jeff ;p

        On a more serious level, this testimonial (not a thinker, not an self pretending expert, thinker, visionnary or else unsing a luxury vocabulary : a plain normal person using clear simple own words ) bringing his own concrete tangible experiment results and impacts for a local little business in google search results appearance is definitely the missing link for the mainstream explanation of how far google + is just the best tool to use in order to be rewarded by big G in the serp.

        • jer kar

          scuse me Jeff : you built the commenters name backlinking to your article ?
          That may be efficient, but not very fair ….
          If you do’nt want the profile links to direct towards profile address (for example mine to my gplus profile, as I logged in through G+ ), just don’t make them direct anywhere !
          Having them backlinking does not respect the netetiquette, does it ?

          • I do not understand what you are trying to say.

          • jer kar

            put your mouse over Jeffsauer name, or jer kar name, or margaret siemers name. it points out towards https://www.jeffalytics.com/google-plus-mozinar/#.

          • This is not a conspiracy or my doing. It’s just how Disqus works. Disqus is on 3 million websites, so it’s not exclusive to here. http://disqus.com/audience/. The link to the page is not an actual link but rather a JavaScript function being called. I believe one of the reasons why Disqus is successful in eliminating SPAM is people don’t leave comments just to gain backlinks. Again, this is not something I have control of.

          • jer kar

            yes you’re absolutely right. I just never noticed it . Mea Culpa.

            But as you can see, I only wrote 2 urls in my comments : one on this page and another one on a same subject page.
            both are linking to you: your jeffalytic page here, and on the other comment, your Jeff Sauer google plus profile page.

            So at least, if I admit I was wrong, I am not trying to backling myself .

            2013/11/12 Disqus

          • I am totally fine with backlinks that are relevant. At the same time, most comments are no-followed so I just stopped paying attention to their value. If you have a relevant link to share, feel free!

          • jer kar

            😉 at the moment, I’m quite a https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MartinShervington/ evangelist.
            he explains google plus so smoothly …

        • I would consider Google+ to still be in the early adoption phase. I was personally one of the first people to sign up for Google+ after receiving an invite directly from a Googler in 2011.

          I can’t understand the rest of your post.

          • jer kar

            early : I can easily imagine you were among the lucky June/30 invited
            I was July/2nd only (and not by a googler ;p ).
            I know google + is far away from its future adoption as none of my friends use it, and still joke on me about my telling them : how can you be blind enough to not being able to see that google is just BOUND TO success ???

            the rest of my post : sorry, English is not my native language, and I never lived in an english speaking country, so that’s just a language from school times remembering skills.
            What I mean is : you can read many advanced techsavvy people explaining things, but when mr john doe tells the same in his john doe’s average words, and clearly based on a real average life by real average person’s experiment, that comes stronger in your mind.

            and this experiment is about : how do I appear on google’s search results pages ? How do I rank ?

          • I agree that Margaret’s story above is very compelling and can have a very powerful effect on people looking to use Google+ for the benefit of their business. It would be great to see Margaret share her story in a blog post or elsewhere so others can learn from her.

            On my end, I am a small business owner who is using Google+ to build my brand as a consultant and digital marketer. I always try to use my own examples whenever possible, but they are usually at a more advanced level.

          • jer kar

            why don’t you invite her to post on your blog, or advise her to google plus post her story, and share it through your g+ account ?
            And notify me : I will do my (little power though) sharing job on it as well.

          • Great idea!