The underlying goal for businesses behind incorporating Google Plus into their marketing mix is to teach Google more about their company and subject matter, and to build targeted relationships that can amplify their visibility across other Google products.
One way to achieve this goal is to build strong, engaging relationships directly on Google Plus with their active user base of over 540 million, but with all those people, how do you find the ones who are going to find your content interesting?
The answer: effectively managing your Google Plus circles.
Circle management can be a daunting task, especially without a strategy. Circle the wrong people, your stream becomes garbage and your experience on Google Plus is bad. Circle the right people, though, and you will increase the engagement on your posts, and those strengthening relationships will help amplify your visibility across the entire platform.
So, how do you find the right people? We are fortunate to have on our team one of the best-known users on Google Plus when it comes to circle management, Christine DeGraff, and she is going to share with us some of her secrets to quickly building an engaged follower count on your Google Plus page.
Christine, you are a co-founder of the popular circle management tool, Circloscope. Why is Circloscope so important to growing your Google Plus followers?
There is really only one reason that I recommend using Circloscope and that is to save time. I believe that time is one of the scarcest resources available and Circloscope can help businesses save time with its bulk add/remove features and, more importantly, the filtering process saves them from wasting time by ensuring that only active, engaged users are added to their circles.
How should a business page get started? Are there any good places to find users who might want to engage with it on Google Plus?
Just as it is important that your website is able to convert its existing traffic before trying to drive more, it is important to make sure that your Google Plus page is ready for followers. Make sure that your page is well-branded; that you have a profile photo or logo, a cover photo, that you have fully completed and optimized your about page and that you have content (posts) ready for your new followers to read once they land on your page.
You should also have clear goals as to what you are trying to achieve and know what audience you are trying to attract. Once you know what you are looking for (your ideal client for example), you can begin the process of finding the communities, posts and pages they are engaging with and send the URL’s to Circloscope to filter them and add them to your circles. If you have targeted correctly, you should start to see your following grow as people add you back and begin engaging with your content.
Once you find these users, how do you keep track of who is engaging on your content?
Just as there are many ways to set up your circles, there are many ways to keep track of your engagers. The important thing is to find a system that works for you. You can use Circloscope to create a circle of your most recent engagers each week or month.
So you move people through different circles based on engagement, what happens to the people who you circle but don’t follow back?
What you are describing, moving people through different circles based on engagement, is referred to on G+ as an “interaction ladder”. Again, this is one way of managing circles, but not the only way and it is important that you find a way that works best for you. It makes sense that if you have targeted correctly and those people are engaging with you and are interested in your content, it makes sense that you may want to move them into a more permanent circle.
With brand pages, there are basically two types of circles that I use: 1) circles that feed into the stream; and 2) circles that do not feed into the stream. For example, if I am managing a page for a hosting company, I will add people and pages that post industry related news or other content that I may want to read or share to the page. I think of it as a reading and/or content curation stream. These people will not be removed even if they do not follow back.
Everyone else goes into circles that do not feed into the stream. These are people and pages that I have added to circles because I believe they might be interested in the topic I am posting about. If they are not, they will likely not follow back or engage and will eventually be removed.
Is your approach strictly a follow/follow-back method? Or will a page’s follower count grow faster if you do other things with the people you circle?
My approach is a proactive approach to targeting the people and pages that I want following my page. I go find them and if they are interested, they will follow back and begin engaging. While it is a follow/follow-back method, I do not advocate gaming it. People who game it will eventually drop you – even if you are following back AND engaging – just so they can continue growing their follower count by playing “the game”. My goal has absolutely nothing to do with follower count and everything to do with growing an active engaged following that is interested in the brands products or services.
What about these shared circles that are around Google Plus? They seem to be aimed at growing followers, isn’t that easier?
If your goal is simply to increase your follower count, then shared circles will do it. Add them, share them, ask to be included. Play the game and your follower count will increase.
Yes, it is absolutely easier but it is a complete waste of time if you are trying to attract a targeted following. If you want a targeted following (people who are likely to engage with you, share your posts, visit your website, join your mailing list, buy your products, etc.) then you need to find them – and you won’t find them in a shared circle.
Last question, how long should circle management take per day? Is it even necessary to do it daily to grow your Google Plus followers?
When you first get started, I recommend adding to your circles daily or at least regularly. Usually for the first month I spend about 10 or 15 minutes a day – and the majority of that time is finding the right communities, posts or pages to send to Circloscope. After that, adding some new people on a weekly or even monthly basis should keep your engagement high.
Slow and steady wins the race. I rarely add more than 50 or 100 people on any given day.
So to recap, you can get more engagement and more targeted followers on your Google Plus page if you:
- Fill out your profile and write down a few different types of people you want to target.
- Get Circloscope so you have an easy tool for managing your Google Plus circles.
- Find communities, users, Google Plus posts, and events where people are engaging on the type of content you are sharing, then add them to your circles.
- Monitor the engagement of the people you are circling, and move those who are engaging (or are publishing great content you want to consume) into more permanent circles.
- Clean up your circles on a regular basis.
If you have any questions about follower growth or Google Plus engagement, get in touch with us and we will help!
PS. Get our FREE Brand Page Managers fundamental tips on managing a Google Plus for Business Page.