One great value of Google+ is that it makes a great platform for cultivating visibility. If your organization is hoping to “save a seat at the table” in between sales calls, one way to do this is to create compelling content that nurtures your business relationships by educating your community and by making them the hero in their own story. Said differently: If you want to nurture leads while they’re still at the wide end of the sales funnel, using Google+ is an effective addition to your content marketing strategies.
Using Google+ for Content Marketing
First, realize that Google+ indexes any post you submit to the “Public” sharing option, meaning that the information in such a post is searchable in Google (the search engine, not the social network) within a few hours. This means that if you wanted to write about being the “best restaurant for kids in Milwaukee,” as part of your post, it would become searchable content. So, let’s extend that.
It’s not enough to write a post that just says “AJ Bombers is the best restaurant for kids in Milwaukee.” I mean, you can say that, but it won’t be that interesting for people coming along to read it. Instead, you might consider writing a post about “7 Reasons AJ Bombers is the Best Restaurant for Kids in Milwaukee,” wherein which you talk about the features of the restaurant such that a parent would be able to recognize the value for themselves. Because you can include videos, I would do so. For instance, I’d show off the “P-Nut Delivery System”:
If you can’t see the video click here.
Why? Because any kid seeing that thing will immediately start pestering their parents that they MUST go to a place that delivers peanuts via a steel BOMB flying overhead and smashing into a target.
Mix It Up A Bit
You can post text, video, photos, links, and place information on Google+. Using a combination of those post types is probably the best way to get the most attention. For instance, in my tests, if I post only text, I get one level of response. If I add a photo to the post, I get almost 50% more engagement, every time.
You can’t post video and a photo, for instance, but if you post video, I’d include a few sentences about what the video is about, and/or maybe some useful search text. I’d also include a link to whatever might be pertinent, as well. If you do place data, be sure to include a photo, maybe something candid. This helps people engage a bit further, as well.
Build an Editorial Calendar
If you want to incorporate Google+ into your content marketing strategy, I’d consider building an editorial calendar, even if you use it just lightly. For instance, if you post something like the post above, that comes off as a bit heavy-handed in the self-promotion department, I might do an interview with a restaurant guest as my next post, or maybe something off-topic, or maybe a non-work-related video interview with a server or a chef. I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t it be a bit more interesting to know that the person who made your burger is also a competitive street luge racer?
You can build an editorial calendar in a spreadsheet, or on a Google calendar, or wherever. The point is, when you lay out the month in some kind of visual format, you’re less likely to overwhelm your audience with a specific kind of post. Would it be helpful to see a sample? Here’s something super simple:
Editorial Calendar – Sample
Monday 1: Post photo from weekend showing leaves changing.
Monday 2: Video clip from ESPN College Game Day coverage.
Monday 3: Article link to post about grass fed beef findings.
Monday 4: Re-share a community member’s post (pass it forward).
Tuesday 1: Write up new menu changes (w/photo of new fries).
Tuesday 2: Congratulate Tim on winning local “Best Of” award with link.
Tuesday 3: Video post about watching baseball at our bar.
Tuesday 4: Off-topic. Anything.
Break That Down
You’ll see that, in this example, I recommend 4 posts a day. That’s to cover a 24-hour community. Also, posts on a service like Google+ flow through the stream pretty quickly. It’s probably not overwhelming to your readers to see 4 posts from you a day, and judging by the content I mentioned above, it wouldn’t be that hard to get those kinds of posts up.
So, in my example, I’d map out at least a week worth of content, and maybe use that as a way to look at how this ties to the rest of my marketing efforts, too. For instance, if I’m trying to get more people onto my email newsletter, maybe I’d make that the “call to action” on one or two of the posts, and see if I could get more takers from my Google+ community. Also, if you’re having a seasonal event, you can spread content about that event between your email newsletter, your blog, and also your Google+.
Feel like too much? It might be, to start. But it depends on what you’re doing, your goals, and what you’re hoping to accomplish with Google+.
Does This Work for Your Industry?
Technically, yes. You can post content of whatever kind to whatever industry. If you’re selling storage to big tech companies, this works. If you’re selling legal advice, this works. If you’re selling education to students, this works.
But How Does This Get Me New Prospects?
However, what this doesn’t accomplish is that it doesn’t rustle up all kinds of new customers. This isn’t lead generation work at this point. This is community nurturing work. This is helping to cultivate visibility. However, when you have prospects, and when you have people looking around to better understand you, and wondering if they should do business with you, can you see how the above content might help the process?
Save Your Seat at the Table
In between sales activity, we have to have something to talk about. Sometimes, we use that time to seek referrals. Other times, we use that time to nurture our existing customers. Some times, we use it to help guide our prospects closer to a sale. It’s up to you what you want to do with it. But this is one way of building up that content.
Are you on Google+ yet? If not, it’s free. Swing by Google+ and claim your account.
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