3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work

social media reviewsHave you created a Google+ page for your business? In this article I’ll show you what three top pages are doing.

Still in its infancy, Google+ has become a very hot topic.

Amid concern that this “new kid on the block” couldn’t compete in a social media landscape owned by Facebook, some have opted to dismiss the platform entirely.

While Google+ and Google+ business pages are still in the early stages, there is growing evidence that they’re here to stay.

You Can No Longer Ignore Google+

Google+ may be the newcomer in social media, but it can no longer be dismissed. And don’t take my word for it. Chris Brogan claims Google+ “changes EVERYTHING.” In a recent article, he cites two factors as being game-changers:

“Search is probably the biggest reason it changes everything. Second, a very wealthy company (Google) is pushing Plus to be a very powerful effort to change the way we share information on the web. They’ve spent money on commercials during many mainstream events, and they’ve changed up many of their disparate applications and processes to point harder toward Google+. They’ve really quickly moved towards building a social backplane that is a lot more functional than any other social network.”

Google+ Updates Coming Fast

Over the past few weeks, there has been a slew of Google+ updates that should make marketers sit up and take notice. The platform already included several integrations with other Google offerings that, according to Jesse Stay (author of Google+ for Dummies), ensure the platform’s staying power.

google+ 360

Google+ is here to stay, with updates coming out almost weekly.

Included in the more recent updates are features such as multiple admins for business pages, “On Air” hangouts, free voice calls, integration with Google Music, face-recognition capabilities and heftier integration with Gmail and contacts. And more exciting updates are on the way, including Google+ check-in deals.

The Google+ team is actively soliciting and responding to user feedback and suggestions on their Google+ page, hinting that more updates are in the works.

How Top Business Brands Are Using Google+

So which brands are finding the most success with Google+ business pages?

I took a look at both the most popular business pages and the most engaging page posts according to Socialstatistics.com. The findings were insightful and uncovered some conflicting pieces of data.

For example, the most popular profile on Google+ belongs to Britney Spears with almost 1 million followers. However, the top 10 brand pages are all dedicated to technology and not one page could be categorized under pop culture or entertainment.

Also revealing is the fact that despite the masses flocking to celebrity Google+ profiles, it’s the smaller communities that are actively engaging.

So how do business owners use these insights to help them mount their own Google+ campaigns? Let’s take a closer look at the strategies employed by the top brands on Google+.

Unlike Facebook, Google has prohibited the use of contests or promotions on its business pages. This higher level of engagement on Google+ adds even more value.

After studying the top pages and posts on Google+, I was most impressed with the activity on these pages:

  • +Android
  • +NASA
  • +Funny Pictures and Videos.

Here’s a breakdown of their top-performing content.

#1: Android

android

Android boasts the most popular business page on Google+.

Android’s Google+ page is THE most popular business page with more than 140,000 fans. Unlike many other big brands’ business pages, Android’s audience is engaged and posts are averaging hundreds of +1′s, comments and shares.

Post frequency on the page runs the gamut from a few posts a day to more than 10. And there doesn’t appear to be any pattern as to which days the page admin is posting the most content.

The page header and many of the posts throughout December centered on their big “10 billion app” celebration. Which begs the question: Have all these promotional posts boosted sales in the Android app store? At this point, Android community managers aren’t ready to comment.

So what’s getting the Google+ Android community all hot and bothered? Here’s a look at their most engaging content:

  • 10 cent apps promotion—In celebration of reaching the milestone of 10 billion app downloads, Android discounted selected apps to only 10 cents. The discounted app promotion ran for 10 days beginning December 6. Each day, the list of discounted apps changed and was posted on the Android Google+ page. These posts were the most engaging, with the initial announcement of the promotion gaining more than 2,000 shares and more than 3,000 +1′s.
  • 10 billion Android app downloads infographic (This post had a +Android callout in the actual post copy, providing two ways friends of users who shared the post could find the page.)
  • Google Currents announcement (Also had the +Android callout in the post copy.)
  • Video content—Original video content posted on the page was also very engaging. Topics included Android game developer interviews, Google+ hangouts demo on a Galaxy Nexus smartphone, animation trumpeting the more than 200 million Android activations and an interview with Keith Richards presented by Google Music.

    google music

    Google Music is a hot topic on the +Android business page, tracking more than 2,500 interactions.

  • Google Music promotions—Top albums discounted to just $1 in the Android Market and free music from bands like Coldplay, which can be instantly shared with your circles on Google+.

#2: NASA

nasa

NASA's Google+ page engages followers with almost 15 posts daily.

NASA’s Google+ page is one of the most popular and engaging among all business pages. The page is updated between 5 and 15 times daily with the latest news, photos and videos from NASA.

The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands I’ve outlined in this article.

So how is NASA beating out Britney? Here’s a look at their best-performing content:

  • Invitation to send holiday greetings to the International Space Station crew.

    moon post

    This video explaining the upcoming lunar eclipse was among NASA's top-performing content on Google+.

  • Video content—Topics include NASA shout-out from an elf starring in the new film Arthur Christmas, NASA’s Mars rover’s journey to Mars, Thanksgiving greetings from the new International Space Station commander and a video outlining the upcoming lunar eclipse that garnered a whopping 1,022 shares.
  • News updates—The latest discoveries from the NASA Mars rover, the Kepler mission’s search for inhabitable planets and Voyager’s discoveries at the edge of the solar system.

#3: Funny Pictures & Videos

funny pictures

One of the most engaging pages, Funny Pictures & Videos delivers on its promise.

So I know Funny Pictures & Videos isn’t an actual brand, BUT they are getting outrageous numbers of shares, +1′s and comments on their posts. The content isn’t selling anything and stays “on message” by delivering exactly what they promise: funny pictures and videos.

The absence of any discounts, deals or promotional posts dispels the myth that consumers on social media are only interested in these types of offers.

The page averages about three to five posts daily, with each post receiving hundreds of comments and sometimes THOUSANDS of shares. The page photostrip that spans the top of the page has two simple calls to action: 1) Share This Page and 2) Add to Circles. That message seems to be resonating as the page ranks 13th among the most popular pages, with more than 60,000 followers. Here are some examples of their most engaging content:

  • Animated photos—Topics include a white blood cell chasing down bacteria, importing Facebook data to Google+, a man with his two pet lions and a dog covering himself up with a blanket.
  • Angry birds—Photos depicting the real-life version of the cartoon characters.
  • Cartoons—Good old-fashioned comic-strip style cartoons.
  • Cute animal photos—No explanation needed.

    tech cartoon

    This animated photo depicting Bart Simpson and his classmates interacting with smartphones generated more than 5,000 shares on Google+.

  • Tech-related content—Some of the most engaging content on this page revolves around technology and commentary on how it’s impacting our lives.

Key Insights

After surveying the top pages on Google+, there were several themes or practices that appeared to lead to successful engagement:

  1. The most interactive content includes rich media that offers up something unpredictable and unique.
  2. Knowing your audience and staying “on message” by giving them what they want is a sure way to boost engagement.
  3. Posts based upon recent news events, trending topics and other time-sensitive content tend to be share-worthy.
  4. Creating and promoting a GREAT deal on your products can engage your community, but watch activity carefully as these types of campaigns appear to have a shorter lifespan.
  5. Currently, the Google+ landscape is saturated with technology-themed content, with the related disciplines of science and IT among the most active.
  6. Keeping your campaign calls to action clearly visible on your Google+ page can help with campaign success.

Is the Jury Still Out?

I’m convinced that Google+ is here to stay and that it will continue to provide value to business owners. With capabilities such as video hangouts, free voice calls and slick integration with all of Google’s other tools, new users will continue to flock to the platform. There are many skeptics who completely disagree and feel Google+ will likely go the way of Google’s other failed projects such as Google Lively and Google Buzz.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel it’s time to get onboard the Google+ train? Or are you going to be left waiting on the platform? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Lisa Peyton

Lisa is a leader in the field of digital marketing. Based in Portland, Oregon, she serves as editor at ThoroughlyModernMarketing.com. Her services include content strategy & social media consulting. Other posts by »




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