6 Things to Consider Before Marketing on Google+
How can a resource-limited nonprofit possibly keep up with the ever-growing pile of social media platforms out there? Not so long ago, an organizational website would suffice. Now it’s almost required to carve out a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. HootSuite lists have never looked more daunting. And they’re only getting longer.
So does it make sense to add another platform to that list? Should nonprofits add Google+ to their oversaturated social media diet?
We at the AdCouncil asked ourselves the same questions. And here are the six things about Google+ we had to consider:
1. Is anyone else marketing on Google+?
The answer is: well, sorta. Last year Google+ hit the 400 million member mark, including 100 million active users, giving it the second largest user base across social media platforms. But Facebook and Twitter boast many more active users at one billion and over 200 million, respectively. The average Facebook visitor spends nearly seven hours per visit compared to a paltry seven minutes on Google+. And if it’s virality you’re after, take note that only 2 percent of all social sharing happens over Google+. Even Pinterest and LinkedIn account for bigger shares (pun intended).
2. Don’t forget Google means “search”
As Google continues to experiment with new product after product like the Wonka factory, it’s easy to overlook that its bread and butter remains the all-powerful search engine. Google incentivizes Google+ activation by populating a search for your organization with a special call-out box. This prominent piece of web real estate contains your profile pic, your most recent post, your number of followers and a quick link to “follow.” This feature makes sure your branding is front and center on the most widely used search engine in the world.
3. Boost your Authorship Rank
Bloggers, journalists and writers give their content a boost in search results by linking their bylines to their Google+ profiles. You can see an example with a search for my last AdLibbing post.
Beneath the article link is my profile pic, byline and a link to my Google+ profile. It helps the content stand out. It helps verify the source (in this case, me), and it leads readers to my other content. Plus (another pun) it means that the more content I write, the more Google recognizes me as a legitimate author. Then, my content starts rising to the top of search results.
So perhaps you want to make experts at your nonprofit experts on the web. You want your CEO to become an influencer. Connecting his or her content to a Google+ profile can only help.
4. GIFs everywhere!
If you’re like us, you love animated GIFs. They convey simple messages in a fun and immediate way that traditional video can’t. But where do you house those carefully crafted GIFs of puppies being cute and organization mascots being awesome? No longer do you have to limit your GIFs to Tumblr, they can live natively on Google+.
And as an added bonus, videos uploaded directly to the platform automatically are given the GIF treatment. This essentially gives your followers an instant preview of a video without even hitting play.
5. Google owns everything
Chances are your organization is already enmeshed in other Google products. You have your own YouTube channel. You track your website with Google Analytics. You house holiday party photos on Picasa. Linking these existing services to a single Google+ profile keeps everything housed in one place and ensures consistent branding across platforms. Followers can then access your video content, your photos, your posts and more, all in a single environment.
And if you were already using Google video chats with colleagues, Google+ gives you access to group video conferencing through Hangouts. And you can decide to broadcast these chats — Hangouts On Air — over Google+ giving you yet another tool to produce good content. This opens the doors to interesting roundtables, Q&As, event live streams or anything else you can dream up.
6. Get ahead of the game
Google+’s reputation as a ghost town is not unfounded. But its user base continues to grow as Google’s other products (Search, YouTube, Hangouts) become more and more integrated with the service. With Google slowly changing its rules, like requiring Google+ for YouTube commenting, Google+ may very well become necessary. It might even someday surpass its competitors. That’s why it’s helpful to prepare for that possibility now.
The Ad Council ultimately decided to jump into Google+. Join us! Follow Ad Council on Google+.