This article reveals five categories of tools and apps you can employ to greatly enhance your Google+ experience.
Check this out: Thirty-six percent of brands on Google+ have seen a 100% increase in circle size in less than 3 months, according to a recent study by Simply Measured.
This is a stunning metric when one considers that there’s no Google+ advertising platform to fuel campaigns. Brands are forced to use great content to engage and can’t “pay to play” by using sponsored stories or other advertising gimmicks.
A Bad Workman Blames His Tools
With this spike in activity, developers are scrambling to create tools to help businesses of all sizes manage, integrate and promote their Google+ communities. Below I’ve outlined some great tools to help businesses manage Google+. I’m sure this list is just the start of many innovative tools that will be created to help communities thrive on Google’s social network.
This new frontier is a bit rocky as the needs driving Google+ management are still taking shape. It’s important to remember that tools and tactics do not equate to strategy. Taking the time to research, listen and discover your community’s needs and strategizing to meet those needs is TOP priority.
You can learn how three of the top Google+ pages engage their audiences by reading my last post on Social Media Examiner, 3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work.
Once you’ve got your roadmap, I hope a few of the tools below will help you on your journey.
#1: Google+ Widgets
These allow you to promote your Google+ business page on your company website.
A great little widget from widgetsplus.com displays your latest Google+ posts and +1s on your website and links back directly to your Google+ profile or page.
A second website widget, gplusapi.appspot.com, will allow you to choose the number of posts to display along with several other customization options.
#2: Google+ Statistics
With these you can research your competitors’ Google+ pages and measure the results of your own campaigns.
Social Statistics is dedicated to Google+ data and includes the top 100 people on Google+, the top pages and even the top posts. Posts can be sorted by the most +1s, comments or shares.
This is a great way to discover what or who is trending on Google+ by the hour, day or week.
Social Statistics has also developed a Chrome extension that allows you to see a graph of Google+ page or profile followers without leaving Google+. It works well for larger brands, but pages with a small base of circlers may not display any data.
A free site, Allmyplus, aggregates Google+ stats for any profile or page. The platform records the number of posts, comments and shares displayed by day going back for several months. The tool also offers interactive charts displaying posting behavior by weekday and by the hour. Nice way to quickly calculate the most active days and times for your Google+ business page.
The report features data on the:
- Engagement rate by post type
- Page activity for the last 2 weeks
- Overall page engagement
- Comment keyword analysis
- List of the top users commenting on your page
The cool thing about this report is that it can be easily exported to Excel or PowerPoint. This feature makes it a snap to create a competitive analysis report on your competitors’ pages.
They have also published an in-depth Google+ brand page study that outlines Google+ brand page adoption, top 10 brands by number of circlers and the top industries on Google+. This is valuable information when attempting to determine if your target audience is spending time on the platform.
CircleCount is an awesome site that tracks the most popular profiles and pages on Google+. Quickly discover the most popular brand pages and gain insight into their follower history, growth rate and average reshares and comments per post.
CircleCount also offers some interesting Google+ demographic information, including gender distribution, top 10 pages, country distribution, job distribution and company distribution.
#3: Google+ Directories
Now you can quickly target Google+ users who are influential in your industry.
PlusClout is a site that assigns Google+ users a PlusClout score based upon influence. Here’s how the tool calculates influence:
- The PlusClout score is based on numerous public variables like number of followers, frequency and volume of information-sharing, etc. Mix in some mathematics and you have a PlusClout score.
You can sort through the most influential Google+ users by country, city, profession, employer and EVEN college they attended. Very cool!
FindPeopleonPlus, a sister site to plusclout.com, is a great directory of people active on Google+.
This platform offers the AWESOME feature of detecting your Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections who are on Google+, displaying their PlusClout score and allowing you to quickly add them to your circles. LOVE IT!
FindPeopleonPlus.com also will provide a recommended list of Google+ users to follow based upon several factors like where you live, where you went to college, companies you worked for and those with a similar profession.
Recommended Users is a directory that lists recommendations by topics such as women in tech, journalists, photographers, foodies, scientists, bloggers, LGBT, etc. This is a great site to help brands target Google+ influencers within their specific industry.
#4: Browser Extensions
With these you can streamline social communications and make workflow more efficient.
Extended Share for Google+ is a Google Chrome extension that will allow you to quickly share ANY Google+ post on a variety of different networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr. The extension adds a “Share On” link below every post. One downside of this tool is that it links to the Google+ update and not the original content source.
G++ for Chrome and Firefox adds both Facebook and Twitter streams inside your Google+ stream with full functionality. You can see incoming news items and Like, tweet or reply to comments from inside Google+.
SGPlus is my FAVE Google+ extender tool as it allows you to post links on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all from Google+. The posts look great and link directly to your content, NOT the post on Google+.
In order to get the LinkedIn feature, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro version for only $8 bucks per month. The downside is that the tool is currently NOT functioning in the latest version of Firefox but it works just fine in Chrome. Another drawback is that the posts look great in Facebook but for some reason won’t import an image for a post on LinkedIn.
Google+ Notifications app will allow you to view your Google+ updates from any webpage AND respond directly without having to leave the current page you’re browsing.
Publish Sync WAS my favorite Chrome extension until it disappeared from the Chrome web store. If you were lucky enough to install it, you know that it allowed you to share posts to your Facebook profile AND Facebook business page. I LOVED this feature and haven’t been able to find another tool that allows for this functionality. Publish Sync also allowed a user to post to Twitter, LinkedIn and several other platforms all from Google+. If anyone has news on the future of this app or knows the developer, please share with readers in the comments section below.
#5: Management Platforms
Now you can integrate Google+ campaign and page management with other social media channels.
Vitrue is also a beta Google+ partner. Vitrue publisher integrates with Google+ and can publish posts to multiple Google+ pages. The tool also offers real-time data on your Google+ community including impressions, recent posts, +1s and engagement. You can sign up for a demo of this platform to learn more.
HootSuite has also been admitted to the small club currently working with Google+ to offer page management services. This blog post outlines the features that are currently available for HootSuite enterprise clients. Features include targeted publishing to circles, the ability to manage circles in-dash with add/remove and edit functionality and campaign measurement with Google+ analytic modules.
The other enterprise management platforms that currently have partnered with Google+ include Buddy Media, Context Optional and Hearsay Social. Contact them directly to learn more about their Google+ services and pricing.
So that’s a down-and-dirty roundup of some of my favorite Google+ tools. Hopefully you got a tip or two that will make managing and growing your Google+ page a bit easier. With new tools and apps being created daily, I’m sure there are some that I missed.
What do you think? What tools do you use to streamline and integrate Google+ with your other social media efforts? Be sure to comment on your tools, tips and tricks in the box below.