Free Call Friday for June 20th
Today I had the fourth and final call in my four-part series – Free Call Fridays. I have hosted a training call at Noon Eastern every Friday for 4 weeks, all about social media marketing strategy.
Thanks so much to everyone that joined the calls live, and for all of the amazing feedback people have sent in! I’ve had so much fun talking about this topic for the past month with you all!
To recap, the first call is where we covered what a social media strategy is and why you are wasting your time online without one. The second call was where we covered Facebook strategies and case studies. The third call was all about Pinterest and Instagram and how you can have great success on these highly visual networks, regardless of your niche!
This week we’re diving into Google Plus, which I know is like the black sheep of the social media family. Everybody knows they need to be on there, but either they’re intimidated or confused or they just don’t think it’s worthwhile because it’s a ghost town, right?
Well today, I’m here to tell you that it’s not a ghost town and it can not be ignored, no matter what type of business you have! Period!
NOTE: You have TWO WAYS to consume the call content! This blog post will basically serve as a transcript for the call. If you can read faster than I can talk (which is quite possible since I'm Southern) then you may prefer to read all about it.
For others, I know it's easier to listen while you drive or what have you, so the call recording can also be found at the bottom of this post. I hope that's helpful! Now, carry on….
I've been doing some form of advertising and marketing for 14 years now, so I've seen quite a few channels come onto the scene over the years, Google Plus (G+) included.
Now, I'm not some big name on Google Plus and I don't have 1,000s of followers over there. It's not my main social network or what I've focused most on growing since I started my business last year. Just like you, I've always known the importance of Google Plus and that it can't be ignored, but I have to admit, it's taken some warming up to. It's not exactly the funnest or sexiest network, if we're being honest, right? So I'm taking a very realistic and practical approach today.
Now that being said, I'm not new to Google Plus by any means. I was an early adopter back when you had to have an invitation to join in the summer of 2011 and played around with it just for personal use, and I've managed a page for my job since late 2011.
So basically, what I am saying is, I'm not here as an “evangelist” for Google Plus and I'm not going to tell you that you just must fall in love with it and make your hub.
It's not optional
What I will say though is that, in my opinion, Google+ is NOT optional.
And it really takes a lot for me to say that, because I won't really say that about any other channel, not even Facebook, which I love. What I tell all of my clients is that you need to choose the channels that are a great fit for your ideal client and for you. If you hate a channel, don't do it!
But with Google Plus, it's more than a social network. It's Google. It's SEO. It's getting found online, and THAT is why it can't be ignored.
So Google Plus doesn't have to become your new BFF, but I do think every entrepreneur and small business owner should take the time to learn how to navigate the platform, how to optimize everything, and how to fully leverage it. Once you do, you might just grow to love it, but even if you don't, I encourage you to not ignore it any longer.
I decided that what will probably serve you best today is to give you a clear understanding of the advantages of the network, why you should be using it, and some ideas and strategies to help you get started.
We won't cover the nitty gritty details of what to optimize and what all of the buttons do – I actually have a digital training program for that which you can find by clicking here – but I do think you'll walk away with an understanding of why I don't think it can be ignored if you want to be found online.
So, let's start with why Google Plus is such powerhouse.
Looking at Google Plus by the numbers, there are over 300 Million monthly active users and a very recent Forester study revealed that for some big brands, their engagement levels on a per fan level are actually equal on Google Plus compared to Facebook and there's twice as much engagement as they get on Twitter.
Now, I don't think that holds true for everyone across the board, but I do see that engagement has been improving on my own profile this year and that more and more people seem to be jumping in these days.
Google Plus does tend to skew more towards men & tech fields, with some passionate communities around niches like photography thrown in as well, but you might be surprised who is on these days.
Now, I've already spoken to this point briefly, but the reason that Google Plus cannot be ignored, even if your ideal client is NOT on Google Plus is that Google Plus is fully integrated with Google. And Google of course rules search online as the #1 search engine in the world and they play favorites with content shared through their platforms.
Get Instantly Indexed by Google so you can be found via Search
So if you post something on Google Plus it's going to be instantly indexed by Google and you can start showing up in search results. Normally, if you post something on your site it could take days for that content to start ranking, but if you post a link on Google Plus not only will the Google Plus post itself get indexed and show up in search results, so will your website page.
Everything on Google Plus has it's own URL and is indexed (meaning it can be found in Google search) – posts, events, communities, Hangouts on Air, profiles and pages.
You can really sort of “game the system” with your followers in this way as well. So say you're showing up buried on page 5 of Google search results for a topic you write on. If someone is following you on Google Plus you could easily show up as one of the top search results on Page 1 of Google for that follower. Google search is totally customized for each user, and if someone is logged in, then who they follow on Google Plus will influence their results.
But even if someone isn't logged in or connected to you on Google Plus your content will be indexed and can show up in search results.
When you have everything optimized on Google Plus and you set up Authorship for your profile and link your Google Plus Page to your site, you're sending off some great social signals to Google and really improving your chances of getting found online, even if you don't get a ton of site traffic.
Social media in general has really changed SEO and in my opinion, has made it easier for entrepreneurs like us to take a little control over the process because you don't have to know how to code or be super techie to get everything optimized on social channels.
So, here's how I look at it. In my opinion there are two ways you can handle Google Plus and I'm not going to tell you which to choose or even that one is better than the other – just that Google Plus can't be ignored and I encourage you to pick one of these routes.
I'm a realist, and I know that realistically, while I 100% believe you should be on Google Plus and fully leverage it, I also know that your time is limited, you can't be everywhere, and G+ probably will not be your main social channel and that's OK!
So, to that end, here are the two ways that you might tackle Google Plus…
Number 1 is to do what I've done to-date with Socially Aligned, and that is to take sort of a minimalist approach. So basically, you will get your Google Plus Profile setup and get everything optimized for business use.
Put up a professional-looking profile and cover photo and be sure to add a description to each, telling people what you do and where they can find you. (Link to your website.)
You want to make sure your About section is completely filled out and optimized with your keywords. Your about section is very important!
Setup Google Authorship and link back to your site as a contributor so that you can start getting the SEO advantages and your profile pic will start showing up next to your content in Google search results, making your results more appealing.
If you do videos, link up your YouTube account and start sharing your videos over on Google Plus as well. Cross post your content from other networks! You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just be sure you format the posts to fit in over on Google Plus.
By formatting the posts, I mean using the correct terms, for example, don't ask people to “like” a post, ask them to +1 posts because that's the proper term on Google Plus. Also, you should use hashtags on Google Plus, which is not something you probably do much, if at all, on Facebook. You can even add bold, italics or strike-thrus to your copy, and I would encourage you to do so! (Here's a video on how to format Google Plus posts.)
Maybe even join some communities and ask and answer questions to network with people, though in this minimalist approach, you're probably not going to be doing a ton of that.
And of course, you want to follow people and add to your Circles so you have good stuff to read and aren't lonely there.
Note: Circles are basically just lists to organize the people you're connected with on Google Plus. You can sort your home stream by Circle so you just see the topics you want, and you can also share content just to certain circles, though most of your posts as a business should be made to Public so that it can be found in search.
And in the 1st approach, that's about it!
Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you can reply if anyone comments on your posts, and maybe do some commenting and sharing of your own, but it's totally fine to just get in and out of there.
Do be aware though, you're not going to get a ton of followers that way.
It will be slow growth. So if that's important to you, you'll want to go with the second approach. But if you just want to do the minimum and make sure you're getting the SEO benefits out of Google Plus then that is a fine way to go.
And the great thing is, you can always get started this way and if you see that you like Google Plus more than you expected and you're getting some really good interaction or a lot of traffic from the network, then you can always step up things later. But at least you will have started!
Ready to up your game on Google Plus? Go this route instead….
So what we'll cover now is the second approach and 10 things you can do to step up your game on G+ and get more involved.
1. Create a Google Plus Page in addition to your Google Plus Profile.
If you're an entrepreneur, your page can be for your business and be listed as your biz name – or it could be a niche/content curation page. Link it to your site to help send some social signals for the site. You can have admins and use tools like Hootsuite to post.
2. Do a Hangout on Air (HOA)
You can start them in Google Plus and when you do one not only does the live broadcast automatically get posted onto your YouTube channel, but it also creates a Google Plus event. You can rank really well for a HOA pretty easily because there's so much power behind them because it ties together so many different elements.
You could do a HOA for an event or summit. You could have a weekly series much like having a podcast. You could use them for trainings like we do webinars or teleseminars, or you could use them for product launches and demos.
A really cool story I came across in preparing for this call is about how an Indie musician is using Hangouts on Air and G+ and has grown a global audience there. Her name is Heather Fay, and it’s really cool because she did what was probably the 1st Global Open Mic night in the world on a Hangout. She’s using G+ and hangouts to connect with other musicians in this way, and also to spread her reach and connect with new fans of her music. From that 1st open mic night, she has now grown to over 1 Million followers on G+ and she even does a weekly HOA called 5 with Fay where she plays music and also shares 5 things she loves – and has sponsors for the show!
I love this for so many reasons!! She’s a mom and this allows her to be home with her kids a lot instead of on the road all the time, but she’s still sharing her music, growing an audience and with the sponsors on the HOA she’s making money on her HOA!
3. Create a Community
Don't just join them, create your own. You could do private ones for classes or events, or you can do public communities to be seen as a subject matter authority.
4. Create a G+ Event when you host a training
If you do a webinar or teleseminar, create an event and invite people to it. If they RSVP that they are attending, it will be added to their Google calendar!
People can also share photos with the group, invite others and you've basically created a forum for everyone to connect. You will have a list of attendees to connect with and could even make a new circle for them & alert them of your next event.
5. Embed Google Drive docs into posts
If you have a survey or a form that you want to share, or a presentation, you can put it right into a post on Google Plus.
6. Start analyzing your results with tools
Check out Circloscope, Circle Count, Friends + Me, Nod3x, and All My Plus to see how your posts are performing and to find influencers on Google Plus. And of course, Google analytics shouldn't be forgotten. You won't know how you're doing on ANY channel if you're not tracking things, so take the time to dig into some reports if you really want to get serious with Google Plus.
7. Be AutoAwesome
Google Plus has some really cool photo editing features including something they call AutoAwesome that allows you to created animated gifs. You can edit your photos and even add Instagram-like photo filters, right inside Google Plus.
8. Spread the Word!
Make sure people know you are on Google Plus! Put a Badge on your site.
Each post is has a unique URL so you can share it on other networks or via email and send traffic right to a post.
Claim your custom URL and share it to get more followers. You can even embed Google Plus posts on your blog or use G+ comments as your commenting plug-in on your blog. The comments will be indexed and give your site a further boost!
9. Combine Google Local and Google Plus
If you have a brick and mortar store or you represent a destination, claim your Google Local listing and merge your account with your Google Plus page to unlock a lot of features. You want the Local listing so you can get ratings and reviews and show up on Google Maps. And you need the Google Plus page to get the social interaction and to be able to share content.
10. Be a connector
So in approach 1, we're not really going out of our way to be social. We're using Google Plus mainly for SEO (search engine optimization) reasons and we're not spending a lot of time interacting. But like with anything else, we get out what we put in.
So if you really want to leverage Google Plus spend some time commenting on other people's posts in your stream and in communities.
Re-share posts to your page or profile that will serve your followers. Be sure to +Mention the person that wrote the post to credit them and let them know you shared it. Share posts directly with someone you know that could use the info.
Even if it's just 5-10 minutes per day, take the time to really be social and engaging on Google Plus.
Google Plus Check List
To make sure you are on the right track with getting everything set up, grab this FREE Google Plus Cheat Sheet that will help.
What's this all about?
OK, so hopefully you feel better about G+ now, but I want to take a quick step back now and talk to you about why I feel so strongly that you’re wasting your time online without a holistic social media strategy and why I’m devoting so much time to these free calls.
And I want to start by having you to imagine being able to get MORE done in LESS time, because you have a clear plan and systems in place.
Imagine being clear on who your ideal client is and how to serve them. And instead of posting and getting crickets, getting tons of engagement because fans love you and your content.
Imagine becoming the go-to person in your niche because your marketing messages and your content are spot-on and you're serving at the highest level.
I want you to imagine Facebook and Google Plus and all the other networks not feeling like a time suck, but like revenue-generators for your business.
Ahh, feels good right?
I want to ask you a question though – have you bought loads of digital programs, and collected a ton of information, and either you’ve not watched the the videos, or you don’t know what to do with all of that random knowledge you’ve collected – free or paid?
The one thing the world is not short on these days is information. But where has all of that random information gotten you? Tired & more confused maybe? Here’s the thing…
You don't just need more information.
What you really need is someone with experience to lead the way and point you in the right direction. You also want a group of likeminded women to act as both a sounding board and cheerleaders while you work it all out.
It’s no fun feeling stuck, not knowing how to market your business and get the word out. I don't want anyone to feel alone or to have to struggle through all of this.
Don't get bogged down by social media. Just know that it's a little like travel. If you know you need to get from New York to LA, you don't just WISH yourself there. You know you need a plan to get there and you need a mode of transportation. And first class with perks would be nice too, right? High touch, high value, no waiting around.
I want you to know that I am here to help. I can get rid of all this social media overwhelm and help you start growing your business with social before the summer is over.
Social Media Strategy Workshop
July 1st is the start of my brand-new 6-week Social Media Strategy Workshop that will walk you step by step through creating your social media strategy. We're going to meet weekly and break down the components of the strategy 1 by 1. I’m going to cover everything from getting clear on your client avatar & how you can best serve them, to creating your content & image strategies so that you'll never be at a loss for what to post again.
I’m going to teach you how to manage it all so that it's not a time suck anymore and you can focus on what you love most in your business instead!
You’ll get a chance to talk every week on the call so that you can start working out your ideas right then and there and get feedback not only from me, but from the group as well. I want people to feel like they are part of a brilliant mastermind group, so I am only accepting women that are fully committed to doing the work and really taking massive action this summer!
You will also be put into my private Facebook group for clients where you can get ongoing support even after the 6 weeks is over. You won't be left on your own to figure things out at any step!
I feel so passionately that this new program is going to make a huge impact on the businesses of everyone signed up, that I am actually extending the sign up window by 1 week.
The doors were set to close today, but now you have an additional week to get in, which means I am also extending my awesome bonuses through this weekend only!
Get the VIP Bonuses for FREE this Weekend!
In addition to the workshop, I also have a special VIP option that you can upgrade to that will include a private 1-on-1 session after the workshop is over so that we can work on a specific strategy or launch that you need help with. PLUS, you will receive access to my Power Editor Master Class to learn how to master Facebook ads – or another training if you already have my Power Editor Master Class.
And the GREAT news is – if you sign up for the workshop by Sunday, June 22 at Midnight ET, you will be upgraded to the VIP option for FREE which is a $300 savings!
The Social Media Strategy Workshop will be $1500, which is a great discount off of the cost of having me develop a done-for-you strategy. And to make things a little easier, you can make 2 payments of $750 so that only half is due today and the rest will be due in mid-July.
Free Decision Making Call
If you're interested in joining, be sure to email me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a free 15 min consult by clicking here. There are a limited number of spots available, so be sure to sign up now!
P.S. and a Chance to WIN a Social Media Audit
Thanks so much for taking part in the Free Friday Call series, I hope you learned a lot! I had so much fun doing these, I've actually decided to do at least one Google Hangout next week to give you even more insights into what you need in a social media strategy and to answer your questions, which was something I didn't have time for on the Friday calls. Be on the lookout for an email about that next week!
Also, on the Hangout, I plan to do live social media audits for a few lucky winners! If you would like me to check out your Facebook page and website and give my feedback live on next week's Hangout, comment on this post and tell me why you'd like to win and post links to your site and Facebook business page. Good luck!
Getting Started with Google Plus digital training AND Google Hangouts On Air training as a Free Bonus! Only $97 <CLICK HERE TO BUY>
Want to listen to this material instead? Catch the audio version below!
Don't forget, doors close on your chance to join us in the Social Media Strategy Workshop June 30th. If you sign up THIS WEEKEND by Midnight Eastern on June 22, then you can get upgraded for FREE into the VIP program! Schedule a call to see if the program is right for you by clicking here.
If you'd like to catch the audio version of this post and missed Friday's call, you can listen to the replay on your phone using the call back numbers below, or use the embedded player at the bottom of the page.
To listen to the playback on your phone:
Dial: (605) 562-3132
Enter Access Code: 563650#
Reference Number: 8
NOTE: There's a 5 second delay at the beginning of the recording before it gets started.
Author: Julie Lowe