In building one’s Google+ following, there are a couple key strategies that may not be unique to Google+ but are fundamental to most social media relationships. Keeping in mind two simple strategies can make building one’s G+ community more interesting and efficient. These are :
contributing to the conversation, and
giving others a good reason to follow you.
These two points are really indistinguishable in their application, but tactically, there are separate considerations. Understanding these strategies can make your social media outreach much more efficient and rewarding.
Contributing to the Conversation:
Reading other posted content, commenting by adding bits of value is contribution in its simplest form. Really focusing on adding value though, can greatly improve the response you get from your efforts.
What kinds of ‘value’ are appropriate to the social media outreach? Your experience, opinions and observations make the most compelling content. Observations or the sharing of your discoveries makes interesting reading and can help others in your niche achieve their objectives. The more you help others achieve objectives, the more others will keep you in their circles.
Much can be said for sharing useful statistics. Stats can be difficult to present, but they offer a real opportunity to prove your points. Sharing a case study that shows a specific action leading to a verifiable, measurable result can make a great bit of content that others will find useful. Research and the willingness to share results in your community will make your content valuable and will inspire others to share it within their circles.
Content creator frequently resist sharing their findings or research for fear of giving away their expertise. Sharing results doesn’t necessarily mean sharing all of the tactics or minute details about how the task was accomplished, however. A few generalized statements of objectives and process can frequently provide the value without sharing the actual inner workings of one’s processes. In the end though, being a part of the community may occasionally require sharing of a few of these success secrets. This is just part of being a niche leader.
Giving Others a Reason to Follow:
Adding value is of course the primary reason others will follow your social media sites. However, establishing relationships involves application of some standard social skills, including thanking others for following you and only following others that share good content. Establishing yourself as a thought-leader with valuable industry insight as well as being welcoming to new followers is an unbeatable combination. Followers are people, and people won’t stay around if they do not feel welcomed – even if the content is fairly good.
Just as you wish others to follow you for the value of your content, only follow others that can contribute to the pursuit of your objectives. Staying within your niche is helpful, especially when reading the history feed. If you are part of a larger organization, this is especially important. Interspersing irrelevant information with valuable content takes time to sort through and won’t help anyone find useful information. So by keeping the content in your feed meaningful, internal readers can quickly understand if the content is worth spending time reviewing. In the end, a smaller circle of relevant, followed sites make the history feed more valuable and easier to manage.
Likes and Plusses:
Adding your vote to others’ content that you find useful by liking or ‘plussing’ it by clicking on the plus sign next associated with a G+ post is actually a good way to invite others to follow you. Telling the content creator that the material was valuable is a good way to invite her/him to join your community as well.
Many Google+ posts include links to the poster’s blog. Community builders that get in a hurry frequently ‘plus’ content without actually reading it. ‘Plussing’ a G+ post though, really implies that you have read through the material. This is where the value is to you, but it is surprising how many just go through their feeds and plus content based only on the description. Of course those that receive the plus vote are happy to get it, but by skimming through or plussing posts without reading through it only shortchanges the one doing the community building.
Citing a portion of the content and then basing your comment on specific parts of the material is particularly effective in showing that you read and understood it. Adding your value to other’s content makes the entire post more valuable to the community and establishes you as a major contributor. Savvy community builders look for others willing to add value, research and opinions for inclusion into their communities.
Inspiring others to follow you requires a commitment of time and effort. Time spent reading other content as well as adding your own value points shows that you are knowledgeable and would be worth having as a member of other circles. And.. whenever someone follows you, always send a thank you note!
Matthew Stone assists clients build significant Google+ communities to help them grow their businesses. Follow him on Google+ or follow Denver SEO Consultants to join the conversation!
Matthew Stone is an accomplished SEO expert, digital marketer and is experienced in Social Media Management. Since 2008, Matthew has helped clients attract build online relationships, expand sales and increase revenues. He also works in Denver Public Relations with GroundFloor Media.
You can find him on Google+