Want to step up your customer engagement game with Google+? Good news! It's a cakewalk.
Forget the Content! Engage Strategically
Before we get into Plus specifics, let’s step back and talk a bit generally about the purpose of social media in a business context. To put it generally, one of the major goals of engaging in social spaces is to bring people back to your home base, whether it’s a website, a particular article, etc.
For a long time it was thought that throwing a ton of links into popular platforms was a great way to get the job done, but if past experience has taught us anything it’s that people want more than just links, even if those links are direct paths to really great content.
In fact, when considering engagement, Bl0gs.co Media Network founder and CEO Matthew Webber forgets the content entirely. Instead, Webber places all of his cookies in the social relationship jar, claiming that if there is a sense of personal connection, a consumer is much more likely to think that your content is important by association.
“Originality and interest only come into play once they click that link,” he said. “You have to talk to people. I know that sounds almost stupidly simple, but it’s true. When they share something, strike up a conversation with them about it. Ask them questions, and share something related. There are innumerable ways to do it, but in the end it comes down to being social.”
Be Social, Not Selfish
Now that we’ve established the fact that successful social media stories primarily involve being -- surprise, surprise! -- social, let’s get Plus-specific.
Plus is an increasingly competitive offering in this space because it combines the concepts of all our favorite platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn) into one Google-infused package. At the same time, it aims to do away with limitations-- so how do you get the best from the best? The answer, of course, is simple.
Hone those Circles
One of the greatest things about Plus is the Circles feature because it provides the ability to easily pigeon-hole your sharing. This way, even though your stream of content might look like it belongs to someone with multiple personalities on your end, the people you are connected to will only see the content that is relevant to them. This directly affects engagement/experience, making it possible to have conversations with several different people about several different topics without disrupting the flow of information for everyone that follows you.
I particularly like this feature because it means I haven’t had to open a second account for professional reasons. I can have conversations with my friends about LOLCATS and conversations with tech kids about upcoming CXM trends at the same time, and neither group is the wiser.
Facebook has become extremely personal. Long gone are the days where I’d accept a random add from someone, because access to my Facebook profile directly translates to access to my entire personal life. Plus is different in this way. Because it’s a combination of several different network concepts, it’s perfectly acceptable to go around adding people from all walks of life. Take advantage of this.
Find your Twitter followers and add them. Find the people you’re professionally connected to on LinkedIn and add them. Look up business idols with whom you’ve never actually spoken to and add them, too. Build your connections and organize them how you see fit-- this is all a part of making your presence known.
Have Rich Conversations Because You Can
I know you’ve probably gotten used to the 140 character limit when sharing breaking news or important product updates, but this is a great time to get over that. Posting a meaningful, paragraph-length blurb is more likely to inspire meaningful, paragraph-length responses. Plus, if your conversation starters are consistently rich in nature, so will be your reputation.
Plus, Plus, Plus
Clicking the Plus button is like clicking the Like button, but with less commitment. While the word ‘like’ indicates that you actually like something, ‘plussing’ content allows you to share it without necessarily agreeing. It’s a softer approach to interactions much like adding people to Circles is a softer approach to connection, and less intimidation equals more engagement. So surf through the content in your Circles and Plus away. Once you do that, the people you follow will feel more inclined to reciprocate.
Engage for Engagement
At the end of the day, if social media is not doing for you what you want it to in terms of customer experience, it's highly likely that it's operator error. The key word there being 'operator' as social media platforms need to be operated, and they need to be operated strategically.
In other words, don't sit there in a boat with a pole. Jump in and go swimming.
Any Google Plus suggestions to add to the above? Drop them in the comments section below-- I'd love to talk about it (see what I did there?).