Social media networks are a great way to boost your global B2B efforts and supplement your online marketing campaigns. With the variety now available, there’s no excuse for a lack of international business-to-business communication.
Leaving out the small timers, think about the major players: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Using just these five, you have several tools to promote your content, grow that ever-important authority, and share your business acumen. Today, we’re going to focus on just one – Google Plus-, which seems to have escaped many businesses’ notice as a venue despite the fact that it has much to offer the B2B community.
Boosting Your Google Plus Effectiveness
Google Plus (aka G+) has grown a lot since its infancy and, although the social network hasn’t yet reached its full potential, it’s headed in the right direction. For instance, although G+ still lacks something in the stickiness element, the addition of the Communities feature is a huge advantage from a business sense.
Google Search vs. Google Social
Before we get any deeper, let’s cover this topic quickly. Although the lines are blurring, there’s still a difference between Google (the search engine) and Google Plus (the social engine). True, consistent use has shown to have a positive effect on search results, and we all know the search engine will always rank Google pages before anything else. However, targeting G+ and targeting Google should be treated as different business strategies in an overall international marketing campaign and NOT as a single strategy.
Enough soap box. On to the seven tips!
Tip #1: Use it or… okay, just use it already!
The hand writing couldn’t be any more on the wall than it already is. When you search for a brand on Google and its Plus page comes up on the right hand side of the search results, any smart marketer should see an entire house full of light bulbs go off. That box occupies a prominent position on the page, shows the brand’s latest posts, and includes the “add to circle” function.
Now, we’re quick to say, “Don’t use a social network unless your target market is on it.” However, G+ brand pages have a prominent position in the search engine and are easy to set up. Why would you leave out something that could be considered as free advertising? This can be a great way to promote your business, generate buzz and encourage people to follow your brand’s page globally (which, in turn, gives you a wider audience!).
Tip#2: Be creative and PRO active.
There’s “active” and then there’s “pro active”, which we choose to translate as “professionally active”. Circles are fine, but the concept has a bit of “elementary school” flavor. “You get to go to the Cook Kids circle. YOU, on the other hand, just didn’t’ make the grade. You go to the ‘Maybe’.”
By all means, use Circles to control inbound and outbound post. Tailor your messages by sharing to different circles based on content relevant to a circle’s audience. After all, these sound strategies make sense.
After you’re done with that, get on with the real business stuff. For example, use the chat feature to offer Q&A sessions for potential clients. Use Hangouts to provide brainstorming sessions with current clients. Be creative in offering your particular brand of professional, personal touch. G+ has enough potential that you can do wonders by thinking outside the box.
Tip #3: Give credit where credit is due.
It seems like every time a new social media platform comes out, people have to be told to watch for acts of content theft. Look, we all want our posts shared and our brands followed. –And we appreciate when this happens, but not when we’re left out of the loop.
If you want your readers to share your posts and interact with you on Google Plus, give appropriate credit to the original brand or person whose content you’re re-sharing on your page. Make it a point to acknowledge the source of your discoveries by adding a “+” and the name of the company or person who originally shared it. Not only does this notify them that you shared their post, it also helps you build relationships and grow your business.
Tip #4: Use social reports to analyze your activities.
Remove the guesswork from measuring your social activity on G+ and use the Social Reports analytics tool available to all business pages. This report will help you:
- Measure the impact of social media on metrics you care about
- Learn which social sources refer engaged visitors
- Discover what your visitors are sharing and where they’re sharing it
Tip #5: Schedule your posts.
This is a particularly effective strategy to help your business grow a global audience. Some people frown upon using scheduling tools, but if you want to reach people in different time zones, a scheduling tool is the best way to accomplish it.
One tool you can use is Do Share. Do Share is a Google Chrome extension to help you schedule posts for either your personal or brand pages. Be sure to set up notifications for any comments when you schedule your posts so you can reply quickly as they come in.
Tip #6: Place a Google Plus “Add to Circle” button on your website.
Does it make sense to put a lot of effort into building a physical business, but never tell people where it is? Of course not. Nor does it make sense to create a Google Plus page and not give a way for people to connect. While +1 buttons seemed to flood the Internet overnight, “Add to Circles” buttons appear to be ignored.
We also recommend a Google Plus “Add to Circles” button on your website or, at the very least, a link to your page. This will help you grow your community. You can also add a button or badge on your site by following the steps here.
Tip #7: Share relevant information and engage.
Above all, engage! How?
- Share useful information.
- Share photos, videos, or create polls that are relevant to your audience.
- Make sure to respond promptly to any comments from your community.
- When people acknowledge you, reciprocate.
Remember to always humanize your brand. People like interacting with real people – they quickly ignore faceless automatons.
There you go, there are seven tips to will help you get the most out of your B2B efforts on Google Plus. Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear any other ideas you might have to offer.