When it was launched last year, Google+ set out to be part of the burgeoning social networking space already dominated by Facebook and Twitter. While admittedly it has been a slow climb for the newest social network, things appear to be changing with the introduction of brand pages. It’s the search giant’s version of Facebook Pages, allowing businesses to connect with followers or “circlers” in Google parlance. If you have a Facebook Page, now is the time for you to invest in Google+ Brand Page – and our G+ contributor Mark Traphagen has already given you great advice as to how to set up Google+ Brand Page for success.
Unsurprisingly, brand pages have proven to be quite an effective. A recent survey conducted by Socialbakers shows that G+ pages have recently been outpacing in terms of growth those on Twitter, which according to the article has been failing to engage and bring in more users to brands.
As further proof, based on a study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands use of Google+ Brand Pages, early adopters have had massive growth in size of audience and consumer engagement since December, with 15% of the brands posting over 3 times per week, up from 11% in month one. Moreover, 13% of brands have circler counts over 100,000–a marked rise as none of them had previously broken the 100,000 level. While these rankings and figures are constantly shifting, it does show that a rising number of brands are enjoying a considerable increase in circlings on G+.
Mark Traphagen also had a great post here on the power of sharing content on Google Plus. As far as what to share, the study revealed that photos continue to be the most actively posted content that drives the most engagement. For the Top 100 brands, it makes up over 65% of the engagement happening on the social network. Another key finding from the study is that G+ users tend to be more active during work hours. This comes as no surprise though because while companies often block social networks like Facebook, Google often does not suffer the same fate.
In terms of numbers, the study shows that +1?s on brand posts are increasing. A +1 is Google+’s version of Facebook’s “Like” and works much in the same way: clicking on it both shares the content to the circlers who follow you as well as implicitly approving the content behind it. With Google’s increasing focus on social, the +1 might also be key in getting the word out about your brand in actual Google search results. This might not be immediately visible right now, but in time it will increase the overall engagement with your brand.
An excellent example of a brand that’s been enjoying success in Google+ is U.K.-based apparel giant H&M. Their brand page’s daily dose of photos, YouTube videos, surveys, and articles has worked well for them, putting them as the top brand on the network with over half a million circlers. Other industries that are leading the charge in G+ are automotive, luxury, beverages and electronics and which are mostly aspirational in nature.
With all this information, there are a few important things we’ve learned about Google+:
- The most effective way to engage users is by posting photos. H&M has utilized this to great effect by posting image galleries of its best apparel on its own G+ brand page.
- The best time to post new content and attract circlers is during work hours, so make sure to include this in your daily social routine. Reply to comments as well if needed, since Google+ users often like to be part of the conversation.
- The top brands often engage in different ways. Samsung USA often shares interesting stories and asks questions to boost user interest. Pepsi posts fun images featuring their products like jewelry and art made from Pepsi cans. These brands post content that matches their identity so you should do the same.
- Google’s +1 will soon have a visible impact on search results both within G+ and across Google’s search rankings. Add +1 buttons to your brand pages outside the network for increased engagement and better search rankings later on.
- Since aspirational brands are topping the circler charts, you can ride the wave if your own brand falls in the same category. Even if your brand isn’t part of the top industries mentioned, you can still post aspirational content like upcoming products, inspiring stories and unique photos to your Google+ brand pages to attract circlers.
With all these, it’s clear that adding a Google+ page to your suite of social networking tools will boost engagement with your brand. And with Google+ brand pages being relatively new, there’s a prime opportunity for your brand to quickly rise to the top. So experiment, study, learn and see how you can use G+ to your competitive advantage.
What other Google+ Brand Page engagement tips do you recommend?