As of December 2012, Google+ has 500 million registered users, with about half of those users being active monthly. Still think Google+ is not worth your time?
While Google+ might not be the MVP of social media (Facebook has got that title on lock down — for now), it is clear that G+ is a huge player in the social media game.
So, let’s talk strategy.
While you could just set up a Google+ account and hope that it magically grows your brand, I wouldn’t recommend that. There are strategies that you can use to further your own goals for your brand.
Here are 9 of the best strategies for Google+:
1. Link Google+ to Your Website, Blog, and Social Media Accounts
Linking your blog or website to your Google+ page will drive more traffic to it from Google, of course.
Also, linking your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and other social media accounts will drive more traffic to those sites as well.
2. Set Up Google Authorship
Google Authorship is how Google validates you as a quality source of content.
It allows you to claim your content and lets you associate your Google+ account with the bylined content that you have posted on your own site, allowing search engine users to find more content written by the same writer.
Establishing authorship can you improve your SEO ranking on Google by gaining greater exposure to more content, give you higher click-through rates, and higher visibility.
3. Add a Photo
You might be thinking, “You’re kidding me. This is a strategy?”
Yes. Yes it is.
Having a photo next to your content on Google adds a human elements to your content and increases trustworthiness, causing higher rankings and click- through rates.
4. Organize Connections with Circles
Circles (think “groups” on Facebook) allow you to organize your connections into groups. You can share content with specific groups without others seeing it.
For example, you can sort people into Circles of family, friends, school, social media influencers, entertainment, news, politics, your Thursday night book club… anything your heart desires.
5. Use Google+ Hangouts
From a conference call with up to 10 people, to a one-on-one meeting, to broadcasting a webinar — Google+ Hangouts lets you do it all.
If you do a Hangout on Air, it is simultaneously broadcast on Google+ and YouTube and is recorded and sent to you in an email.
Hangouts can be used for more than just webinars, too. Use it for a variety of things — tutorials, product demonstrations, Q & As, panel discussions, or testimonial reviews.
6. Take Advantage of Ripples
Ripples are a feature of Google+ that allow you to see who has shared a public post and how large of an audience that person has.
Because of this, you have the capability of seeing who is able to spread your content to a larger audience. Add those people to your circles and engage with them.
7. Post Consistently and Optimize for SEO
You will rank higher on Google the more consistent, relevant, and content-based your posts are.
Use keywords not only throughout your post, but throughout your “about” page, that are likely to show up in search results. Your “about” page is an opportunity to give a quick overview of who you are, and also to link to your other websites, blogs, and social media accounts.
8. Use Hashtags
Like Twitter, Google+ uses hashtags to make searching for topics easier.
When you search for a term it will show all the stream updates that contain the same hashtag. As of right now, the search results for hashtags also show posts that mention the keyword — regardless of whether it has a hashtag or not.
9. Google+ Communities
Released in December 2012, Google+ Communities allow users to create ongoing conversations about particular topics.
There are three levels of communities: owners, moderators, and members. Owners and moderators are in charge of content — members can post content, but the moderator can delete and mark as spam.
Through other community pages, you may encounter people looking for your goods or services. You can also search current and established threads for relevant content.
Think of Google+ Communities as a gathering place for your passions — this is a way for you to seek out a specific group and target your marketing and interactions with your audience.
Do you have other strategies for using Google+? Comment below!