5 Ways to Kill It on Google+

Over the past few years, new information and analytics have determined that creating a presence on Google+ is a smart move for any business wanting to grow and engage with fans online. Whether you already play in this space or not, here are the top 5 ways to be successful on Google+:

1. Try embedding Google+ posts directly onto a site. 

Everyone is familiar with embedding a tweet or Facebook post onto a website, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can also link your content from Google+. Although it’s a tad more difficult to do than other social platforms, click the arrow button in the right hand corner of a post and click “Embed post” from the drop down. The code comes in two parts — one that is added within a HTML template, the other that can be used anywhere!

How to Embed a Google+ Post

2. Use a catchy headliner.

What’s great about Google+ posts, is that each one is similar to a blog post. There is ample room to write copy, editing options to make your content count — and the ability to add a captivating headline. Because the headline is pulled into the title tag of the Google+ post and because this is what shows up in Google search results, having a good headline is very important for SEO purposes.

3. Know what and when to post.

Thanks to a lot of great research by the folks at Quick Sprout, there are five types of content that are inherently preferred by Google+ users including, questions, quotes, video, animated GIFs and of course, images. Animated GIFs often garner the most +1s, while questions get the most comments from users.

Top 5 Pieces of Content on Google+

4. Use Google+ hashtags in every post.

Thankfully, Google+ makes it super simple to add hashtags to your posts — and even goes so far as to recommend which ones to use. Put 2-5 appropriate hashtags directly in the copy or include it at the end of a post. Either way, keep an eye out for trending hashtags in order for your business to stay relevant and to create more engagement with conversations that are already taking place online.

How to use hashtags within Google+5. Know how to use Google+ circles effectively.

Google+ circles gives businesses the chance to interact with a targeted group of users or on a larger scale, community groups. Because circles are manually created, your business is can market to a list of top followers or to an entire group, depending on your strategy. Continue to build relationships with your circles to increase engagement and better determine what content is sticking and what is not.

Google+ Circles

Is your biz on Google+? If so, what do you do on the platform to be successful?

— Samantha

 

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Social Commerce Growth with Hashtags

Social Commerce and Hashtags

Over the past few years, many social platforms have tried their hand at social commerce: the act of purchasing goods via social media. Although social commerce (a $14.25 billion industry) has seen its ups and downs, it’s becoming increasingly more popular — thanks in part to the hashtag.

Hashtags first began on Twitter, then grew to be included on other social sites like Instagram, Facebook and Google+, etc. They’re essentially labels that help aggregate content and are very helpful for those who are interested in the same topic.

When it comes to searching online, businesses are using hashtags as connecting links between social networks. No longer is it simply social marketing, but it has truly become social commerce with a component of virality that includes discounts, coupons and more. When a friend buys something online via social, it is assumed that their friends will see the purchase and be prone to buy something as well. When you tie in hashtags, whether targeted or more general, a brand is automatically reaching a larger audience across multiple platforms.

As many researchers have found, the majority of the population go on social media to shop, read reviews (from strangers or friends) and more. Although those specific social platforms in use may vary, hashtags tie particular topics together while maintaining streamlined and simple programs for the user.

Hashtag Mania

Today, companies like American Express have teamed up with Twitter to create a way to instantly shop with the use of an “actiontag.” A user would simply tweet/post the distinctly branded “actiontag” which would automatically purchase the product. Additionally, hashtags are being used across a multitude of websites (to better filter content for fans), contests (to spark creativity) and even to help distribute discounts online, which in turn have proved to go viral with fans.

Although there’s a lot more to witness as the relationship between social commerce and hashtags blossoms, we hope businesses will use the hashtag more creatively and effectively to promote sales in the future.

Tell us: Does your small business use hashtags in current marketing programs?

— Samantha

How to Use a #Hashtag, for Beginners

Hashtag

Hashtags (links with the pound sign — # — in front) are everywhere. From Twitter to Google+, to Instagram and most recently Facebook, the proper use of hashtags can be somewhat confusing! Having said this, they’re an important part of social media and should not be taken lightly when applying them to your brand’s digital strategy.

To start, a # will make any word or phrase directly behind it into a completely searchable link. In essence, hashtags help aggregate content across many platforms and allows for better organization around a topic or conversation.

  • Text following a hashtag should not (and cannot) include spaces, periods, commas, question marks, apostrophes, exclamation points or any special characters.
  • Numbers are allowed.
  • There are no limits to hashtags, so feel free to make up your own — or better yet, enter in on a current conversation to stay extra relevant!

Twitter Hashtag

As mentioned above, hashtags can be used on a number of social platforms.

  • Twitter: This is where hashtags first started. Be sure to check out the Trends section on the side of your Twitter feed to see the current list of hashtags that you may find interesting, typically based on your tweets.
  • Instagram: Hashtags on this image-focused platform help you obtain new followers and also provide great sources of finding new users and interesting content.
  • Tumblr: On here, there is a specific Tag area where you can input certain terms, which basically act as hashtags and organizes content around conversations.
  • Google+: Similar to a Google search, clicking on a hashtag will show results relating to the topic at hand and will also give you the option of searching the # on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Facebook: Although only introduced a few months ago, hashtags on this popular site have not done as well as originally expected. Although hashtags on Facebook serve a similar function as Twitter or Instagram, many digital marketers question the actual benefits of including hashtags in posts.

Facebook Hashtag Example

In addition to helping your company create or join a conversation online, hashtags often better help define a brand’s personality. With a tone that may include sarcasm or humor, etc. hashtags can create a unique brand voice, which will ultimately keep your company top of mind for users. Note that you should not add too many hashtags to your posts/tweets, as more than 3-4 can often be seen as spam.

Lastly, creating a hashtag that your company or brand can own is crucial. Whether or not you decide to create your own or simply take over an existing one is up to you, as both have great benefits. Keep in mind the following:

  • Creating a #: Be sure to do research before you choose. If you decide to join a conversation, make sure you pick a hashtag that has many users already using it. If you decide to make up your own, make sure that it’s unique by checking to see if anyone has used it previously.
  • Be consistent: After you decide on a hashtag(s), be sure to use them consistently across all of your brand’s social platforms and marketing materials. Teaching your audience to expect certain messaging that will (hopefully) get them to tweet or post with your hashtag in the future!
  • Make it short & to the point: Keep your hashtags short so they are clear to users and are easy to use by others. Also, be sure that the hashtag isn’t too generic to keep it as effective as possible.
  • Stay relevant: Be sure to follow current trending hashtags and be sure to use hashtags that relate to your business. If they’re not relevant to you, don’t use them as it’ll end up looking like spam.
  • Utilize your hashtag: A great way to kick off a new hashtag is by introducing it via a contest or promotion which will get the attention of your fan base. Do so in a creative way that will immediately make your fans think of your brand when they see it!

Comments, questions? Feel free to add them below and we’ll get back to you!

— Samantha