So our first Tutorial Tuesday post, isn’t so much a step-by-step guide, as it is a general strategy for getting your content seen.
I am a great advocate of Google+, as I think the potential for content discovery is boundless, the user interface is fluid and engaging, and its features are highly functional and developed.
In terms of content marketing, it’s a great place for your business to be, not just for Google SEO, but generally for brand proliferation and content engagement. But it’s not a one way social network, you need to give in order to get. It has been designed to encourage inter-user interaction and socialising, not just sitting on the outside looking in. Nor is it a place to simply shout about your own personal endeavours…*cough*Facebook*cough*. It is aimed at discovery and development, enhancing users’ online experience though network building. Not only is it a great place to showcase your existing content, but the platform also allows for native content creation.
If you haven’t got a Google+ set up, then you really should. I know, I know, it’s a hassle breaking the habit of Facebook, and yes I know that none of your friends are on there, but if you stick with it, then I am pretty confident that it’ll pay off.
So now assuming you have a Google+ page set up, personal or business, how do you go about using Google+ to get your stuff seen?
The use of Hashtags is the most obvious and basic method that requires little effort and, as such, is far less likely to yield significant results when it comes to engagement. Google+ will even automatically assign hashtags to your post based on the content within it. Personally, I would only recommend the use of already established hashtags to insert your post into an existing flow of conversations, such as can be seen with daily photography themes. This is not to say however that you should try and hijack trends with unrelated content, i.e. a post about the state of Britain’s economic recovery #ILoveBieber.
This is the way to do it. The advent of communities to Google+ demonstrates Google’s goal for its social network; to encourage social interaction between individuals with common interests. This allows us to discover great content that we would not necessarily have encountered, and grow our interests and even skills. The Communities platform allows this perfectly, and is by far the best way to get your content seen by new and relevant leads and introduce yourself. But there are some caveats:
Read and OBSERVE the Community guidelines
Some communities are very strict on branded posts, and will react fiercely to overt sales posts. So don’t over sell yourself, let your content speak for itself.
Don’t over post
Once you’ve joined the Community, spend some time getting to know it; how often people post, what the general reaction to different content types is, how long posts are etc. That way you are more likely to “fit in”.
Play well with others
Get to know people who are active in the Community by engaging with them. Comment on their posts and try to start conversations. Start networking before you share any content yourself. I’m sure you’re eager to show your stuff to the world, but patience is a virtue, and it will pay off. By building relationships early on, and by becoming engaging with the Community, other members are more likely to engage with you, and this is ultimately the goal.
When you do start sharing your content, make sure it’s relevant to the Community. It should go without saying really. But once you’ve established relationships and networked, it’s tempting to share unrelated content because you are sure it will get clicked on and people know you in that Community. But don’t do it. Image you’re a member of a book group, you all know eachother and get on well at the book group because of your common interest. Then imagine one guy interrupts the conversation saying “Can I just show you this amazing model train I built?”…it’s weird right? You wouldn’t do it real life, so don’t do it on Google+.
Once you have established relationships, and put effort into successfully networking with others from Communities, you can bring these connections out of the Communities platform. Add people to your Circles and start engaging normally, outside of the safety of the Community. This would be like going for a drink with people you met in the Book Group, but now you can talk about other things more freely. These people are now almost certain to engage with your content.
When you’re networking, ensure that you a trying to develop bonds with those who are already considered authorities on your subject matter, that way, when they (hopefully) share your content, it is more likely to drive engagement. But, again, be normal. So don’t go bounding up to the most active member of the community going “Ahhh! Look at my stuff! It’s so awesome! Be my friend!!” If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on Google+!
Reciprocate and Don’t be Conceited.
While the goal is to get YOUR content seen, no one likes the guy who just talks about himself the whole time. It’s important to give more than just your own stuff, otherwise you become one sided and dull. People will lose interest. Instead make sure to share related content from other sources, and from other members on Google+. This way you’re more personable, more human and therefore more appealing as a content provider and as an authority on your subject.
Keep Your Goals in Mind
With all this talk of making friends, and developing bonds it’s easy to forget that there is an ultimate goal behind driving engagement of your content. Your goals may differ from others’, maybe you are looking to boost organic rankings through high quality, authoritative content; or perhaps to drive conversion rates by targeting social leads; just remember to keep them in mind and think before you do anything “Why am I doing this?” if there’s no good reason, don’t do it, your time is better spent elsewhere. There is also no point flogging a dead horse. If you consistently aren’t seeing results, then try a different tack.
So, to sum up:
- Network and engage to become authoritative in your niche.
- Maintain focus on your goals and KPIs
- Be real and open, don’t hide behind your brand
- Reciprocate and expand
- Most importantly: ENGAGE with others
Follow these ideas and you should find that your CTR increases nicely as your content gets viewed and shared across the Google+ network.