At its recent I/O conference, Google announced no fewer than 41 new features to Google+ that it hopes will attract a lot of attention. Adding features like Offers, hashtags, and more to its lineup of core functionality has people talking and taking a renewed interest in the social network.
We recently spoke with Stephan Hovnanian, owner of website design and email marketing company Shovi Websites, who suggests that the time is right for marketers and brands to take advantage of this momentum on Google+. According to Hovnanian, one the best ways to do that is to use Google+ as a curation platform to build your authority and reiterate your subject matter expertise on specific topics. Here’s why and how you can use content curation to make the most out of your Google+ marketing strategy.
Stephan says that Google+, like every other social network, is undergoing a maturity phase, in which more and more newcomers are checking out the platform to see what it has to offer. “The Google+ user base is slowly moving away from the ‘early adopter’ stage that used to be the sole domain of tech geeks, SEO professionals, and the like,” says Hovnanian.
“A wider array of individuals, brands, and marketers are interested in exploring Google+ for more than its SEO value now, so there’s a growing demand for concentrated content on topics other than SEO and Google-centric conversations.” Hovnanian says this presents a great opportunity for brands to create Google+ business Pages not only to promote themselves directly, but to act as content curation hubs on topics related to the products or services they sell.
“Take me as an example,” says Hovnanian. “Web design and email marketing is my core business but I curate a Google+ Page called A Better, Smarter Web Presence where I collect and publish resources aimed at helping small businesses make the most of their online presence. Web design and email marketing are only a couple of the topics that I talk about on this Page. It’s meant as a much broader resource for anyone looking for tips and advice in the digital marketing space.” There are links on this curated Page to Hovnanian’s design website, and to his membership-based website where digital marketing topics and content are presented in even more detail.
For an alternative to a standalone website or even a Facebook Page where a brand could talk about the same digital marketing topics, Hovnanian prefers the Google+ Page as his curation platform for a number of reasons. It can serve as an important supplement to existing Facebook and Twitter strategies. “There’s still less noise on Google+ when compared to other social networks, and the notifications feature works extremely well within in Google+. Any time there’s an update to the content I curate, whether its a comment, a ‘+1’ [the Google+ equivalent of a Like on Facebook] or a share, everyone who follows the Page gets a notification, and it’s all recorded by Google.”
Hovnanian says that he’s noticed a boost in traffic to the websites associated with his curated Google+ Page, and he claims that Google’s SEO algorithm looks favorably on all the activity generated within Google+, granting his associated profiles increased authority in Google search for topics related to digital marketing. This increased credibility and authority in the eyes of his followers, and in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) makes selling his core services of web design and email marketing that much easier, according to Hovnanian.
How to Optimize Curation Activities on Google+
“I find resources all over Google+, and on the web at large, and share those resources through my curated Page,” says Stephan. “But now, thanks to Sprout Social’s new integration with Google+ Pages, that job is a whole lot easier!” Hovnanian says that the ability to share content to Google+ from his other social media streams is extremely easy using Sprout Social’s dashboard.
He adds that the ability to draft and schedule updates to his Page using Sprout Queue is an amazing efficiency tool, particualry if he knows he’ll be away from his computer (or smartphone) during important events he’d like to comment on. “One of the Twitter chats I participate in lists its questions in advance. Knowing I was going to be away for that week’s chat, I was still able to participate and make my presence known by scheduling relevant comments in advance. And I was able to share all that content to my Google+ Page with a couple of clicks!”
Finally, Hovnanian reiterates that if you haven’t been spending a lot of time on Google+, or if you don’t have a presence there yet, don’t hang around the sidelines any longer — get active on the platform and create a Google+ Page as soon as possible. He also welcomes anyone who’d like to find relevant, curated information about digital marketing to follow his Page and join the conversation.
Have you visited Google+ recently? Are you utilizing Business Pages for branding or content curation? Let us know in the comments.