When it comes to social media, it seems like Google Plus falls a little behind… or at least that’s what some believe.
In reality, according to a study made by the Global Web Index it turns out that Google Plus is actually the second largest social network with over 359 million monthly active users.
But if that’s true, why are so many marketers and bloggers hesitant about giving Google Plus a try? Why are there so many rumors about Google’s network being a ghost town?
One of the reasons might just be that people are not as well informed about how “things work”. Or it might be that some folks aren’t sure how much of a ROI can Google Plus bring to the table and whether investing time and effort is actually worth it…
Well today’s post is all about educating you on some of the more important things you need to know about Google Plus!
In the below paragraphs I have shared my views and personal experience in the form of answers to four important questions about creating a successful Google Plus presence in terms of traffic and engagement.
1. How Does Google+ Compare to Facebook?
If you haven’t yet given Google Plus a shot, it might be worth comparing the platform to something familiar, something you are most probably using.
And what better for that purpose than Facebook!
Now let’s take a look at some of the more important metrics when it comes to determining the quality of the traffic for both Facebook and Google Plus.
For the results I am using Google Analytics and am looking at a two-month period for more consistent results:
- Average visit duration – That has to be the metric where Google Plus really shines in comparison with Facebook. Whereas visitors from Facebook spend 3 minutes and 53 seconds on average when they land on Reviewz N Tips, Google Plus users stay 6 minutes and 20 seconds on average. Now that’s an almost three minutes of difference – quite a number!
- New visits – Facebook wins that one with a value of 59.34%. The new visits from Google Plus on the other hand are lower with almost 14% and come at 45.65%. You might look at this from a positive angle as well though. Although Google’s platform seems to deliver less new visitors, it might be an indicator of more loyal visitors, who don’t just come and go.
- Bounce rate – Lower bounce rate means that visitors engage with your blog and don’t leave from the same page they landed on. And that is another win for Google Plus – 67.63 compared to Facebook’s relatively high value of 77.64%.
So what it turns out?
Based on the above observations, it seems like Google Plus is actually a pretty good place to get proper engagement and quality traffic that doesn’t simply flow from one side to only leave from the other without any interaction.
2. How Can I Get More Followers?
So now that I’ve given you two good reasons to start using Google Plus, let’s focus on how building a following works!
Compared to Twitter, Google Plus’ “code” is definitely not as easy to crack. Getting people to follow you takes more time and effort, but then again that effort is worth it.
Anyway back to the point…
Below you can see four of the best ways to bring exposure to your profile and thus end up being circled by more folks:
Know who to circle – The most obvious reason to circle someone is because you are interested in what they have to say. When you circle people however, they get notified you followed them and there’s a good chance to get followed back. My technique for getting more followbacks is the following:
1. Find the influencers in your niche on Google Plus
2. Create a circle with those, whose content gets the most shares
3. Follow the ones sharing and liking the influencers’ content
4. Follow 20-30 users everyday
- Uncircle the inactives – That one is a direct consequence of the above technique. Over time you will follow a lot of people and it might turn out not everyone is active. You don’t really need the inactives. You can uncircle them with this cool Google Chrome plugin. That will improve your following to followers ratio as well. I’d advise you to use the tool once every two or three weeks.
- Use your guest blogging bio – Guest blogging is a great way to get exposure to your blog, build links and improve your SEO. Guest bloggin is also a great way to get more Google Plus followers. The simplest thing you could do is include a link to your Google Plus profile with your name in your bio that goes at the end of the post. As I sometimes do - “<a href=”Google_Plus_URL”>Daniel Sharkov</a> is a blogger and marketer bla bla…”
- Tweet your Google Plus stories – Every now and then instead of tweeting a blog post of yours, you could share it on Google Plus and tweet the link to the Google Plus story for that post. You can do this by clicking the arrow-like button on the right of each Google Plus story and then clicking on “Link to Post”.
3. What Content Gets the Most Shares?
Okay, now that we have an idea of a few ways to get followers, it’s time to put those followers into action so to say. After all why would you need anyone following you if you don’t post anything?
And when it comes to sharing updates on the social networks, there are specific types of content that tend to generate more likes and exposure than others.
It turns out that those types of content are similar to the ones that work with Facebook with some variations.
Here is my experience on the results different type of content delivers:
- Standard description and image preview(3/5) – That’s the basic type of post where you paste a URL and a meta description along with a blog post image are generated. Whereas on Facebook those types of stories don’t get much exposure and interaction, on Google Plus they might. It all comes down to the custom description that you write to persuade people to check out the post you are sharing. A call to action like “Please take a minute to read and share your feedback” always helps.
- Asking questions (2/5) – While this is a somewhat effective way to generate buzz around your Facebook page, on Google Plus it seems like people aren’t as keen on answering questions. When I share the same question on both Facebook and Google Plus, the latter generates twice as less engagement in the form of both comments and likes.
- Sharing relevant quotes (4/5) – Quotes (relevant ones though) seem to perform great. Similarly to Facebook, on Google Plus you can expect a lot of sharing if you post a good citation that your followers can relate to. If you add a call to action in your description you could expect even better results.
- Sharing funny pictures (5/5) – As good as quotes perform, it seems like humorous images are the best way create a connection with your followers. Those kinds of stories tend to receive the most likes and shares (they do get comments as well) compared to any other type of post.
- Image with description and URL (3/5) – As an alternative to simply using a preview when sharing a link, you could instead upload a relevant image and write a custom description along with a link. You can expect similar sharing pattern as to the preview type of posts, but it’s good to mix things up a bit every now and then.
4. How Often Should I Post on Google Plus?
And a last, but definitely not least important question concerns the posting frequency.
As with all other social networks, on Google Plus you also have to find that fine line between posting enough to get people to engage, but not too much so taht you don’t irritate your followers and start receiving complaints.
As far as generating traffic goes, more is definitely better. A month ago I had more time to post on Google Plus and the results are clear. Here is a comparison between the traffic I got when I was more active (in orange) and the traffic I get when I am less active (in blue). The result from that infrequent schedule is 59% less traffic:
But then again how much is too much?
Of course there can’t really be a precise answer to that question. It really depends on your niche and on what you share. You should remember however that the key to interesting content is diversity – humour, quotes, tips, blog posts. If you go with self-promotion only, things won’t work as you expect.
And then again I’d say three-four daily updates is a good starting point. You should be prepared for some experimenting on your own from that point on.
That’s pretty much it guys, I hope you found a thing or two useful in the above answers! All in all it turns out the bad rumors surrounding Google Plus aren’t quite the truth. In reality Google Plus is a great place to get some traffic and exposure.
Now I’d like to hear your comments!
What are your thoughts on Google Plus, is it one of your favorite platforms? Also what are your ways to get more followers and to get your message seen by more people? I appreciate every comments, so please leave yours!