social media how toAre you using Google+ to promote your brand or content?

Do you want to find Google+ fans who love what you do and will share it with others?

When people share your stories, campaigns or products with their friends, they’re giving it their stamp of approval and their friends take notice.

This word-of-mouth marketing is invaluable, but how do you find these super-fans?

In this article, I’ll show you how to use Google+ to find the evangelists who want to tell the world about you.

How Do You Find Your Best Fans?

As a marketer, you want to find people who engage with your message and amplify it, spreading it on to others. These loyal fans, your brand evangelists, fall in love with your company and tell the world.

Google+ can help you find and engage with your evangelists, and lead you to a wider pool of potential clients. The process includes finding potential candidates, seeing which of those actually engage with your campaigns, and finally, those who share your campaigns with others (your true evangelists).

Prepare for Your Search

Before you start your search, create three empty Google+ circles to help you keep track of your evangelist candidates.

  • Potential candidates
  • People who engage
  • My 100 brand evangelists
name google+ circles

Name your circles.

Tip: Add these circles to the beginning of your Circles page so they’ll appear on your home stream navigation bar. When you add people to each circle, you can click and access their content from the bar.

google+ home stream

Change the order of your circles on the home stream navigation bar.

Now that your circles are in place, it’s time to start vetting your evangelist candidates. Below I explain how the process works.

#1: Search Google+ for Potential Candidates

To begin, you need to search for people who are talking about your brand, product, topic, etc. The first 100 people you find probably won’t all be true candidates, so you want to cast a wide net. Try to build a pool of around 200 people for your potential candidates circle.

Start by searching within Google+ for content. Use hashtags or keywords that are related to your business, brand or niche. For example, search for the hashtag #socialmedia. You can filter your search, including search options, under the More tab.

google+ hashtag search

Search to find out who’s talking about your topic or business.

The search results will show the hashtag you searched for, as well as related hashtags. You can click on the hashtag(s) to flip the card and find more related content posted by other Google+ users.

#socialmedia search results

Click on the hashtag to flip the card over to find more prospective evangelists.

After you flip the card, scroll through the results and review the level of engagement on each person’s post to get an indication of their influence.

When you find a candidate whose post has a reasonable amount of engagement, click on the arrow in the upper-right corner of the card and choose View Ripples at the bottom of the list.

find google+ ripples

Click the upper-right corner to find the menu.

Ripples are a visual representation of the public shares a user’s link has generated. The larger the circle of a sharer, the more relative influence he or she has. Browse through the ripples on other people’s content to find the influencers for your niche.

view google+ ripples

Ripples give you an idea who the influencers are for that content.

Tip: Don’t forget to look at your competitors’ pages. If they have the Who Has Them in Circles feature showing, take a look and see which of their audience members may fit into your potential candidates circle, then check them out.

Watch this quick video to discover more about Ripples.

Any time you find someone you want to add to your potential candidates circle, hover over their name to bring up your Circles menu, then choose which circle to put them in. For our purposes, put them in your potential candidates circle.

add people to google+ circle

Add people who seem to be influencing others with outward ripples.

When you add people to your potential candidates circle, don’t wait to start interacting with them. View some of the posts they’ve shared, then comment on the most relevant one. Introduce yourself and if they’ve been talking about your brand, thank them.

Another place to continue your hunt for candidates is Google+ communities. Most communities allow you to join immediately and once you click in to look around, you’ll find more people and content to review.

google+ community search

Check out relevant communities to find more people to add to your potential candidate circle.

#2: Mine Google Search for Additional Candidates

Now that you know who’s sharing or mentioning your brand on Google+, it’s time to broaden your search, literally. Go to Google search and run a few typical queries you’d expect from your customers. The results will show people who write on the subjects that align with your brand.

Tip: Make sure you open up a private/incognito window if you want non-personalized search results.

In the search results, thanks to Google authorship, you’ll find people’s Google+ information next to their content. Generally, you want to look for writers who have been circled by a large number of people.

social media marketing search on google+

Click on the author’s circles in the byline to see his or her Google+ profile.

Click through to the author’s Google+ profile to ensure that engagement levels (+1s, comments and shares) match his or her reach. If the numbers measure up, add the person to your potential candidates circle.

#3: Engage With Your Candidates

Don’t assume people will just come to you because you’re awesome. You need to proactively engage with your candidates so they’ll know you exist.

To get started, click your potential candidates circle to see members’ content, then start giving +1s, commenting and sharing. Do this often, especially when you’re starting off, to put your content on your candidates’ radar.

Once you engage with your candidates’ content, they’ll likely engage with yours and start to connect with you. As they share your content, they spread your message—otherwise known as evangelizing.

You’ll soon be able to see who is engaging with you the most. Move the most active candidates to your people who engage circle.

Tip: This is also a good time to do a little more candidate prospecting. After you move someone to the people who engage circle, check his or her ripples again to see if you can find someone new to add to your potential candidates circle.

#4: Send a Special Offer and Opt-In Through a Private Email

As a final vetting step, send candidates in your people who engage circle a special offer with the opportunity to opt-in. This step lets you see who is really interested in your brand and is a true evangelist candidate.

When you send an offer by email, respect the relationship you are building. Create an offer that fills the unique needs of the users in your people who engage circle.

Think beyond discounts. Maybe host a Google hangout and give your prospects early or exclusive access to new content as incentive to attend. Whatever your offer, make sure it’s special enough that your recipients don’t feel like you’re being spammy by getting in touch through email.

send a private email

By clicking the box at the bottom, candidates will receive an email notification. This is key!

In the same email, invite people to opt into your mailing list to receive notifications when you have something amazing to talk to them about.

The candidates who take advantage of the Google hangout are definitely good prospects, but those who opt into your email list are your targets. Even if only 30 people out of 100 opt in, you now know who your real evangelists are.

Move everyone who opts in over to the my 100 brand evangelists circle. From now on, when you share on Google+, notify your evangelist circle. They in turn will engage and spread the message to their own networks.

You may need to go through this process a few times until you find 100 evangelists, but it’s worth it. Word-of-mouth marketing and the partnerships it creates are an important foundation for the rest of your social marketing.

Build your list of 100 brand evangelists.

Follow these steps to find the influential people who will spread the word about what you have to share.

It takes time and effort to find your brand evangelists, but once you have, you’re well on the way to building a stronger community around your brand.

Working with people who truly love your brand and want to share it with their own friends and audience will transform your experience on Google+, and may lead to a lift in Google search.

What do you think? Have you found evangelists on Google+? How have you worked with them to leverage brand awareness? Leave your questions and comments below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 480,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • Very smart and well laid out strategy Martin! I had no idea about the Ripples feature on Google +. I will have to play around with that!!

  • MartinSherv

    Thanks Chris! Every steps needs to be done well for it to work, but for almost 2 years now I’ve been using it without any complaints.

  • Wow, this shows how POWERFUL Google+ really is! One of my favorite features is that we can send emails to people who engage with our posts; yet another way to increase our email list with those who care. Great article Martin!

  • MartinSherv

    Cheers John! Used well Google+ will transform relationships with people who are engaging.
    Hope to connect with you further in the Plus.

  • Jessica Peterson

    Great article, especially the part about your top 100. Thanks!

  • Candis Marko

    Thanks, Martin, as always, for the excellent info. You are my Google+ guru! I didn’t have the slightest idea how to use ripples – and now I do! Heading over now to give it a go! See you in the Plus. 🙂

  • MartinSherv

    Thanks! 😀

  • MartinSherv

    Awesome. And yes, you know where to find me!

  • Chris Picanzo

    Excellent post Martin. I’ve shared it throughout my spaces 🙂

  • I had heard about ripples, but hadn’t seen any information on how to use them to make connections. Also great advice on introducing yourself to potential candidates and evangelists.

  • AmandahBlackwell


    Thanks for this fantastic post on how to encourage fans to share your content on Google Plus. I have two Google Plus accounts, personal and business, and get overwhelmed. Your step-by-step guide will help me to ‘tweak’ my strategy.

  • Sean Cowen

    Taken from a marketing perspective, this is usual “spot on” advice from Martin. He truly is one of the Gold Medalists of Google+. Finding brand evangelists is never easy, and these steps may help you find your audience in a big way. Strike that – you will find your audience growing by applying these steps, and along the way, you just might discover some great new friends as well for your personal account.

    While I wouldn’t normally apply these steps to my personal account, I can see value in Martin’s ideas if you are promoting a topic as well. For instance, if I wanted to promote a social cause that I’m passionate about, I certainly would look at these steps as that is a timely post, and one I want to be shared widely, in a tight time frame. With my day-to-day posts, would I follow his steps? Probably not, to be honest. But as I have many pages with brands to consider, and as I support many causes with +Helping Others and with our small Advocates Community, Martin just gave me great ideas to amplify my messages.

    Thanks a million, Martin, and cheers to Dustin for getting me here!

  • Great to see you over here on SME Martin. … For some reason, it’s hard not to put a + in front of your name. This article is very timely due to material I’ve recently sent out via GPlus that’s received precious little traction given the nature of the subject.
    Thank you for these tips.

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: February 20, 2014()

  • MartinSherv

    Thank you 😀

  • MartinSherv

    Yep, ripples are perfect as way of gaining insight for publicly shared posts.

  • MartinSherv

    Perfect. And yes, often people are running multiples accounts, which can be confusing until you have a plan for posting and ‘who you want to be’ e.g. a Profile (you) or a Brand Page. Glad to be of assistance.

  • MartinSherv

    Very welcome Sean! And great to see you here.
    I also believe that niche, opt in campaign circles are very powerful too…

    p.s. Thanks to Dustin too 😀

  • MartinSherv

    I know +Scott Snowcroft! 😛

  • Jeeven Jayanathan

    Great step-by-step guide. It takes work but very simple to implement. Thanks for sharing your strategy Martin

  • MartinSherv

    Cool. I wish you well with the implementation. See you in the Plus!

  • This is probably the most useful – and simple – guide to Google+ I’ve seen in a while. Thank you for such great content. Google+ is my pending subject, and has been on my list of things to do for quite sometime now… but this article has given me a push!

  • Does Google allow you to have more than one profile? Or are you referring to having a Google+ company page on top of your personal profile?

  • Very interesting insights too Sean, so thank you…

  • Ferris Monge

    Martin, such a great post! Made it very easy to follow and understand. Now I have some work to do…

  • Wow, this is powerful stuff.

  • Shilpi

    Thanks…but I am not able to find the ripples option in the post.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Right. Personal page and business page.

  • Candace Chira

    I love these tips. Thank you so much. It makes great sense and I can see how it would make a big difference. Can’t wait to put this into action.

  • Great Post, Martin! This truly is a perfect strategy when it comes to Google+. Never thought of the private message you mentioned in the post. There are enough active people on Google+ to make this smart idea work.

  • MartinSherv

    Glad to hear it! Thank you.

  • MartinSherv

    It takes a little discipline once the system is set up, but it is worth it Ferris.

  • MartinSherv

    Glad you liked it!

  • MartinSherv

    The post needs to be ‘public’ and have at least one share.
    (you click in the upper right to see the option in the drop down)

  • MartinSherv

    Great Candace! 😀

  • MartinSherv

    Thank you Dave. It is all about testing and see what works for the people who are around you. Think of it all like surfing, learn from people who have been around, and then you get out there and give things a go yourself. Enjoy!

  • Thanks, Martin. Great post!

  • Lena A

    Hi Martin, thanks so much for this really helpful and informative guide to building a following on Google+. I have been totally baffled by Google+ until I read your article and am now following your tips step by step! I have a quick question though, as I am struggling to find the ‘ripples’ you mentioned. When I click on that particular arrow, I can only see a much shorter list of options, which does not include ‘View Ripples’. Could this be because I am using my business page rather than my personal page? Also, having created the 3 circles you suggested, people won’t see that I have put them in there, will they? Finally an article that actually helps a novice like me!! Thank you!!

  • Good tips but would never recommend emailing people out of the blue, that’s spam IMHO. Likely not to get a good response at all. Better to build a relationship first and then invite.

  • MartinSherv

    Hi Scott! You are right, it is really delicate. If you are building relationships through +1, commenting and sharing their content AND offering something special then I’ve found this to work well. It is all about relationships, and they have to be two way. Nice comment. Thanks.

  • MartinSherv

    There will need to be at least one ‘share’ publicly for the ripples to appear, and you can check on anyone else’s posts too 🙂

  • Pingback: Getting your Social Media Audience to Share in this Weeks Social Media Discussion | PRIMAL Test()

  • Well,A nice catch up.I was also thinking about this from few days.You really helped me.But it’s a little bit complicated.Don’t you think?

  • Awesome Article Martin – I am glad I stumbled upon you – very informative and insightful – keep rocking it!

  • Candy Donovan

    I really enjoyed reading that post Martin! I’ve a new found fondness for Google+ now. Muito obrigada!

  • Amazing article, so much information or should I say transformation, this is going to do so much for our business. Thank You

  • MartinSherv

    Great! 😀

  • MartinSherv

    You are very welcome Candy 🙂

  • MartinSherv

    You keep rockin’ too!

  • MartinSherv

    Hey Muhammad! I know what you mean, but if it was easy then everyone who be doing it. Those who put more effort in get more rewards…

  • Pingback: Social Media Marketing and the Power of Google Plus - Plus Your Business()

  • Pete Purchon

    Thanks for the info Martin, i have been looking for more info on google+

  • Pingback: My Top Five Resources For Successful Marketers()

  • Tema Frank

    Thanks for the great content. Google+ would be spreading a lot faster if it were easier for newbies to understand!

  • Thanks, Martin, as always, for the excellent info.

  • Riaz Nassurally

    I have checked several posts but have not seen the ripples…