social media how toIs Google+ working for your business?

Are you wondering how to increase engagement with your Google+ community?

Google+ is designed to focus on one thing and one thing only: engagement.

So, how can you pump up your Google+ engagement?

In this post, you’ll discover six ways to use Google+ posts to stimulate activity.

#1: Make Your Text Stand Out

You’ll first want to help your content stand out by differentiating the formatting. Instead of publishing a boring block of text, add a little formatting variety to your next Google+ post.

Unlike Facebook, it’s generally acceptable to have longer posts on Google+. If you publish a long post, remember that dense text can be a turnoff for readers. Use appropriate line spacing and paragraph breaks to make it easy for readers to scan your content.

Use bold, italic and strike-through text to highlight important headings or passages and your post will stand out in the stream.

Here are some handy tips for text formatting in Google+.

Google+ lets you format text in your posts.

#2: Choose Pictures That Pop

Don’t underestimate the importance of images. Stimulating graphics directly impact the click through rates on your posts.

When you post an image, choose one that has vibrant pictures with bright, eye-catching color contrasts as seen in this Etsy image.

engaging image on etsy post

Example of a visually engaging image on an Etsy Google+ post.

Instead of using the thumbnail images that auto-generate when you drop a link into your status update, upload a standard-size image to grab your readers’ attention.

National Geographic used this tactic to command more attention in the news feed.

full size image on national geographic post

Example of a full-size image on a National Geographic Google+ post.

And if you have great photography, use HUGE high-resolution images, which are much larger than standard-size images. Upload the original image resolution of your photo (e.g., 4288 x 2848), but remember that uploads count against your Google Drive storage quota.

Take advantage of this feature and your post will dominate the news feed like Mercedes-Benz does.

full resolution image mercedes benz

Example of a large full-resolution image on a Mercedes-Benz Google+ post.

#3: Get Personal

Make it easy for followers to engage by tapping into their interests and passions. Don’t just ask fans to +1 if they agree, manage an album of destinations or products and encourage them to indicate a preference or desire.

TripAdvisor posted ten photos of restaurants with amazing views and asked their followers to +1 the restaurant where they’d most like to dine.

trip advisor engagement strategy

Example of an engagement strategy on a Google+ post by TripAdvisor.

Whole Foods Market did more than ask for an opinion on their products. They tapped into a compelling experience (in this case, travel) that appealed to their audience’s interests and offered them an easy way to engage.

whole foods engagement strategy

Example of an engagement strategy on a Google+ post by Whole Foods Market.

An added bonus of this strategy is that you get instant feedback on what resonates with your audience. For example, if one image has ten times more engagement than the others, it might be worth creating a blog post or featuring it again in the future.

Learn what resonates with your community to inform your long-term strategy.

#4: Empower Your Followers to Act

People love to have their ideas recognized—it makes them feel important and encourages participation. Turn your community into active participants by letting them shape your content.

Find an interesting image and invite your community to come up with the caption. Great visuals are critical to making this concept work, so choose an image that’s intriguing or versatile and has broad appeal to your audience. Check out this one from the Food Network.

food network engagement strategy

Example of an engagement strategy on Google+ by Food Network.

This strategy will also help you identify the most active and vocal members in your community. These are the people you want to pay attention to and cultivate into brand evangelists.

#5: Pick a Theme

When you leverage a themed hashtag that appeals to a larger demographic, you align your Google+ activity with the broader community. There are tons of theme conversations that people regularly participate in on Google+. A couple of examples are #MotivationMonday, #TriviaTuesday or #ThankfulThursday.

You can find popular hashtags in the trending box on the Google+ profile.

When you create content around themes, you’ll accomplish two things. You strategically broaden your focus and you feed your content to a larger audience, which will increase exposure and grow your community.

star wars hashtag theme

Example of how Star Wars uses hashtag themes in their Google+ posts.

Star Wars takes stellar advantage of the #TriviaTuesday theme. Note that they keep their message on brand by developing content that’s related to Star Wars, but still relevant to the trivia theme.

If you want to see traction come out of a theme strategy, it’s important to participate consistently. Don’t be discouraged if engagement doesn’t skyrocket right away, because it takes time to build traction.

Through regular participation, your community will learn to anticipate these types of activities and become more engaged over time.

#6: Ask Questions

A timeless strategy you should incorporate into every post is to ask questions. Most people need to be encouraged to participate and when you ask them questions, you encourage your audience to interact with you.

zagat question in post

Example of how Zagat incorporates questions into their Google+ posts to improve engagement.

Zagat does an excellent job of incorporating questions into almost every post. The result is an active and engaged community that responds/contributes to almost every post.

Every Post Counts

As the number of people who add their content to Google+ grows, it’s more important than ever to optimize your social media posts for the engagement that helps keep it from getting lost in the stream. Follow the lead of larger brands and use these tips and tricks to increase the engagement activity on your own posts.

What do you think? How do you encourage engagement on Google+? What other strategies have you found to be successful? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Google+ Engagement means to interacts and get others attention by posting some cool stuff. What you share is always relevant to specific people and it could a place, people, product, things etc.,

  • Megan Conley

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for your comment.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I’m still trying to figure out if I should create a business page and delete my personal page, or keep my personal page and create a business page.

    I created a new image for my page, but I think it could be improved. A few days ago, I posted a longer post (more like a blog post) to see how people would react. I’m also testing images within posts. Believe it or not, I just discovered that I was only sharing with people in my network. Yikes! I now share with the public, too.

  • Megan Conley

    Thanks for your feedback Amanda – testing different strategies is a great way to figure out what works for your business and audience.

  • Thank you Megan for sharing this helpful article. I got 2-3 new concepts about Google+ marketing.

  • CraigHDesign

    I am interested in using Google+ with my Google Apps account for my business, but when I tried to set up my profile, it was going to migrate all of my Picasa web album photos over to Google+. Is that really the case? I use the Google Sites for my Website and I have a rss feed slide show set up for all of my design projects. If Google+ plus moves my photos my slide shows will stop working in all of my projects. Has anyone run into this before? Do you know of a source for addition information about Google+ w/ Google Apps? Thanks!

  • Hi Megan!
    Great post! I especially like the tips on formatting; I didn’t know about these little tricks before. You’ve laid out some awesome recommendations here; thanks for the G+ engagement rundown!

  • Janis Evans

    Thanks for the advice! I find Google + daunting so every bit of help is welcomed!

  • Amanda – I would seriously consider keeping a personal profile on Google+ and creating a business page.

    People like to talk to other people. On your personal profile, you can vary the content to show more of your personality and a peek inside what makes you, you.

    On your business page, you can keep it more on topic for the SEO benefits.

    That is my strategy anyway and it works very well. 🙂

  • Megan Conley

    Excellent – glad to hear it!

  • Megan Conley

    You are welcome! Glad you found them helpful 🙂

  • Megan Conley

    No problem – I’m sure you’ll be a pro in no time.

  • Megan Conley

    I’m sure very familiar with this issue but did a quick search and it looks like there are some good resources – hope these help:

  • These are really inspiring ideas, Megan. Thanks for the wrap-up! In regards to #3 though, I think TripAdvisor’s method for asking for +1’s was creative and allowed their audience to choose among 10 different photos/restaurants. However, I think Whole Foods could have been a little more creative. Asking people to share if they’d like to travel to a popular destination is just as good as flat out asking for engagement. That tactic of plainly asking for engagement definitely walks a fine line, in my opinion.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Kimberly – Thanks for the tip!

  • Nicolette Beard

    Hi Craig,
    I have a similar problem. I use Google Business Apps and it will not allow me to post from that Gmail address. I have to sign out and sign back in using an email I created a decade ago for spam. I can post to my business page, but no one has that page in their circles. At this point, the barrier is too great for me to justify posting to a handful of followers. They can find me on Twitter @nicolettebeard!

  • Liza

    I love the tip about the photos, Google+ photos look beautiful, but I read somewhere that on G+ if you have a link with a photo, it is nofollow. However, if you have a link with no photo, it is a followed link, thus helping my SEO… any insight on this

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  • Megan Conley

    Thanks Sarah. I can see your point on Whole Foods – creativity comes in different levels.

  • Every marketer should take advantage of using Google+ if they want to be more successful in their social marketing campaign.Thanks for the tips Megan!

  • Great post Megan.

  • Arron George

    Some nice points in this blog, thanks so much. I find the audience on G+ is more business or marketing minded, any advice on how to reach these people?

  • CraigHDesign

    Thanks Megan, I’m really interested in getting Google+ going for my business, but I guess I’m a little gun shy about possibly having to redo my website if my photos get moved from my web albums. Wish me luck and thanks again for the info.

  • Insightful and very helpful post. Thanks for sharing Google+ marketing strategies. I will really help me. Thank you once again.

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  • Matt Coffy

    I particularly have a special liking for item number 6. It sure is a good strategy to come up with in order to gather more attention – not just in the G+ community but in every social media platform. Thanks for this Megan and hope you keep writing more interesting and helpful stuff like this!

  • I agree Kimberly. At first, I focused more on my business page but then discovered that I could be more versatile with my topics on my personal page. So far it is working for me 🙂

  • Christina Kettman

    Great tips on Google+… I especially like the reminder to look to the themed hashtags (#5) which can both broaden your audience and expand your range of content.

  • You’re welcome Amandah. 🙂

  • Another benefit is once you have found traction with your personal profile, which is normally easier than with a business page, you can then share your business page content with your personal page.

    That cross pollination puts your brand in front of an audience that otherwise may not have found it.

  • Yes, ma’am. I am definitely working on cross pollination. Thanks for explaining it so others can benefit from this practice as well.

  • Gerri Baum

    This is all good. And I agree that dynamic images are motivators for people. However, as I understand Google+, you must use the ‘Link’ tool if you want your links to have virility within Google. Just typing the link into the copy (though it becomes a live link) is not enough. And, if you use the ‘link’ tool, you can’t also include an image. Thoughts on this?

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  • Gerri Baum

    Hi Megan, You did a great job with this article. However, with regards to point #2, this method of posting dynamic images works great for Facebook, but can hinder your reach on Google+. According to G+ guru Jesse Stay, “on Google+ you’re looking for SEO, and when you don’t use the native link format that G+ provides, it puts a “nofollow” link on your URL and your link doesn’t get the proper SEO it deserves.” If one’s goal on G+ is to drive traffic to a link and engage an audience to read the content, then it is best to use the ‘link format’ that G+ provides. It all depends on one’s goal for the post.

  • Brilliant suggestions that WORK! Sadly I see a lot of companies / professionals / brands that don’t want to take the time to creatively and actively engage social communities. Brava on your tips!

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  • Nori Lee

    Finally getting used to Google+ and kinda lovin it! Thanks for the great article. I’m trying to be more active on Google so people would get to know me and eventually know my company.

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  • Erica Bunin

    Thanks for the list. Especially the text formatting tips. I wish they were officially stated more obviously.

  • Richard Hamer

    I ditched my personal page and business one a bit ago after rebranding myself. I logged into my accounts via a business email but when I came to set up a new personal account I had to have a gmail address. Very annoying as my calendar and work email are the original address. And I can’t link my personal G+ to Hootsuite or Buffer.

  • this is a pretty useful post. Google plus engagement is now very essential to promote blogs these days.