Google+ has been considered somewhat the awkward cousin of social media platforms. Though millions users of other social networks have reportedly signed up, it has been suggested by some social media commentators that few have taken to the platform with the same gusto reserved for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For some reason, many of us just don’t get Google+. A number of businesses seem to be using it half-heartedly – even haphazardly – giving the impression they feel they should at least have some presence across it because, well, it’s run by Google. And it would be stupid not to be across something run by Google… right?
As it turns out, there are some pretty significant benefits marketing experts suggest are associated with engaging customers and prospects on Google+, including:
- Google Hangouts, which allow users to create and participate in online meetings of up to 10 people, which can also be streamed to unlimited viewers via YouTube.
- Google doesn’t need to make money from Google+, so you don’t have to put up with ads and revenue generation like you might via other social platforms. No distractions or interruptions – just content and connections.
- Human votes via the Google+ button are now considered by Google’s magical search algorithms in a bid to stay relevant and user focused. Essentially, being well-connected on Google+, and getting high numbers of Google+ votes on the content you share, might just lead to better search results rankings.
- Greater search visibility. When people search for your brand, your business’ Google+ page is likely to top the rankings, making it an ideal place to capture their interest and lead them to more information about your business.
- It is the second-largest social network after Facebook, and with active users reported to have grown by 33 percent over the past year or so.
So, which businesses are currently using Google+ awesomely? Which brands are stepping up to the plate and making the most of Google’s social platform, and leading the way for businesses looking to see how it’s done right?
Among the most-followed brands are Android and Angry Birds with more than four million followers each; Hello Kitty, Barack Obama, TIME magazine and ESPN with more than three million followers each; PlayStation, MTV and Marvel Entertainment with more than two million followers each; and Red Bull, Starbucks Coffee and Virgin with more than one million followers each (according to SocialStatistics.com).
To get a feel for how a business page can effectively build a presence and following using Google+, check out the pages of these five major brands.
According to SocialStatistics.com, Google’s Android currently has more than four million followers on Google+, making it one of the most popular brand pages on the world’s second-largest social platform.
The Android community is known to be very active online, so it’s little surprise that Google’s Android page is well followed. Though posting can be sporadic, Android is engaging followers with links to Android updates and tech news, as well as giveaways. You only need to look at the number of comments and shares on each post to see that the Android community is actively engaged on Google+.
MTV has more than two million followers on Google+, and offers effective engagement via posts on interesting entertainment news, short videos and gifs, live updates from events such as Comic-Con, and pre-announcements to encourage audiences to vote for award nominees. The overall vibe and tone of the MTV presence on Google+ very closely matches that of this company’s overall branding.
Marvel Entertainment has more than two million followers on Google+, and creates engagement via a range of post types, including videos, concept art previews, news updates, merchandise updates, live event updates, and questions to followers. Marvel Entertainment also posts multiple times each day, ensuring there is always a steady stream of content to engage followers.
Starbucks Coffee has more than one million followers on Google+, and creates a high level of engagement with regular posts focusing largely on customer-generated imagery, shared via Instagram. This kind of cross sharing and engagement across two different popular platforms can work extremely well, and utilising customer-created images makes followers and customers feel involved and invested in the brand. Other effective posts include new drink announcements and invitations to view Hangout meetings.
Virgin has more than one million followers on Google+, and like all of this brand giant’s cross-promotional marketing, draws on the celebrity status of CEO Richard Branson and messages of innovation and high energy to engage audiences.
Posting multiple times each day, Virgin focuses on ticket giveaways, links to articles of interest, direct promotional posts and posts about Virgin careers (which are interesting, and under-utilised by some other businesses), business and entrepreneurial infographics, videos featuring Richard Branson, behind the scenes videos, and questions directed to readers.
Are you using Google+? Do you feel like this platform is becoming an integral part of your content marketing and social media engagement strategies?