Google Plus for Business: 3 Tools to Instantly Give Better Results
Are you neglecting Google plus for business and feel that you should be doing more with this platform?
Are you aware of the tools that are available that can help you become more effective on Google+?
Google is integrating more and more of its products with Google+ and it’s more important than ever before to establish a presence there. As with all social platforms, it takes some time to build a presence but, as always, there are tools that can help.
In this article we review 3 tools that will help build your presence on Google+, getting you more value for your business.
Steady Demand is an analytics tool that focuses on Google+. As well as a paid tool, it also provides a very useful – and free – brand page audit tool that will give you feedback on improvements you can make to your brand page on Google+.
Free Audit Tool
To run an assessment using the audit tool you just enter your page URL and click TEST.
The results will appear below the spot where you enter the name: lots of green ticks is a good sign
- Further down the page you’ll see an analysis of your last 10 posts. These posts are graded based on 3 criteria: post length, mentions and hashtags. If two out of these criteria are satisfied then you pass.
- Post Length – Longer posts typically do better on Google+. Don’t just put in a link and run! When you want to share a link, open up a discussion with some commentary about the content you are linking to.
- Mention – When you mention someone they get notified. This is a good way of attracting attention and kicking off some conversation.
- Hashtags – These are important in Google+ so use relevant ones.
In this example above one post has failed and one has passed.
The Pro Tool for SteadyDemand is the the paid option, which offers more detailed analytics.
- Dashboard – Overall dashboard showing analytics.
- Post Quality – Review of individual posts, assessing the quality of each one and offering recommendations for improvement.
- Engagement – Details of the engagement on each post, with the ability to view the original post on Google+.
- Alerts – You can set up alerts to be warned if there is low engagement on posts, brand page audit changes (e.g. something that passed with an audit now fails), alerts for low quality posts, comments that are not responded to, and more.
- +Count for Pages – Enter up to 25 URLs to find the +1 count for each page.
There is a 14-day trial on the Pro account which gives you all the functionality listed above. To set it up, all you need to do is enter your Google+ personal profile or business page details and you see the analytics. You can also add profiles/pages for competitors so you can compare performance and see what is working well for them.
When you login you’ll see the menus on the left-hand side, with the resulting analytics displayed on the right:
Here is a selection of useful analytics metrics that will help you to improve the performance of your Google+ profile or page.
Engagement Distribution by Post type
This shows you how engaging your content is, displayed by the type of post. For example, in the chart below, articles/links get good engagement and get more plus 1s than shares or comments do.
Something to be aware of in this chart is that, in order to get a clearer picture on the type of engagement (shares, comments and plus ones) each post type gets, you need to have a reasonable volume of each category of post. For example, in this chart you would think that video posts are not very popular and don’t get much engagement, but the truth is we just didn’t have very many of them so it’s hard to tell.
Post Quality Breakdown
The team at SteadyDemand have analyzed what works best on Google+ and assess your posts based on their recommendations. For example, they recommend the following:
- Include at least 50 characters in the text that you post.
- Include a hashtag in the post.
- Mention someone in the post.
Post by Post Engagement
This shows the engagement on each individual post. If you select ‘view’, you can see the original post on Google+ to see why the engagement you got was either good or poor.
Post Engagement by Time of Day
This feature allows you to see the time of day that gets the most engagement, as well as any times of day when you are not posting updates. It’s good to experiment with the times of your posts, as you may get high engagement during some of the times you might have been neglecting.
Connections by day
You can view the growth or decline of your followers and the number of circles you are part of, day by day.
When you click on a particular day, you can see that day’s posts so you can attempt to figure out why there was growth or decline on that day.
Steady Demand is a very useful analytics tool that will give you great ideas on how you can improve your Google+ presence. By monitoring your competitors, you can also get an insight into what is working for them so you can adopt some of these changes.
Friends+Me – Distribute content from Google+ to Other Platforms
Friends +Me allows you to automatically share content from Google+ to other social networks. It does this by checking your Google+ profile and/or page at regular intervals and, if new posts are found, it reposts them to any other social networks you have set up.
As Google+ becomes more important for your business you may want to use it as one of your main platforms and copy original content from this on to other platforms, so this tool could be ideal for that purpose.
- Schedule content – When you post content to Google+ you can automatically sync it to other social networks or schedule the reposting for a later date/time.
- Selectively publish – You may not want to publish all of your content to all of your social networks, so you can append specific hashtags to your content to indicate which ones you want to post to. Friends+Me reads and sends content to your selected social networks depending on the hashtag you use. For example, #T means to only post this update to Twitter whereas #FT means to post it to Twitter and Facebook.
- Twitter Inline Images – If you attach a picture to your Google+ update, the image will be visible when someone is browsing your Twitter stream on Twitter.com. This helps increase engagement on content shared on Twitter.
- Google+ Profile and Page – Friends+Me supports Google+ personal profiles as well as business pages.
- Supports Twitter, Facebook (profiles, groups and pages), LinkedIn (profiles, groups and pages), Tumblr (both public and private blogs).
- Bit.ly integration – You can share content using either the Friends+Me web address shortener or you can use Bit.ly, which allows you to track clicks on your links.
When you launch Friends+Me, you need to connect your Google+ personal account or your business page.
This is your source network. Content you publish will be taken from your source network and copied to your destination network(s).
The destination networks supported by Friends+Me are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr.
In this example we have selected a LinkedIn profile. It will recognise if you are already logged in.
When the profile is added, a screen similar to the following is displayed. Here, you can configure how and when your Google+ posts will be sent to this profile.
There is a separate configuration for each social media account you add. This is useful as you can schedule content posted from Google+ to go to Twitter at certain times while the same content can be posted to LinkedIn at another time.
Figure 3 – Each social profile has its own set of menu options
Here is an explanation of each of the options:
- Timeline – This shows the updates you have recently posted on Google+ that were reposted to each network (e.g. LinkedIn) You can click on each update to bring you to the original post in Google+.
- Queue – Any items that are in the queue will be published at the time you set in the Scheduling section. If automatic scheduling is not enabled via the Scheduling screen, any new Google+ posts will simply be placed in the Queue. You can then either post them immediately or manually set a posting time for each individual post.
- Scheduling – This allows you to configure your reposting schedule. You can specify that posts are sent to this social network at a specific time interval after the original post (e.g. 30 minutes later) or you can set it up so they are reposted on specific days and times. For example, on the screen above you can see that content will be reposted to LinkedIn on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at various times during the day.
- Routing – This screen lists the Google+ profiles or pages you are accepting reposts from. The ones on the left show you the accounts that are not currently set up to repost to LinkedIn, whereas the column on the right lists the ones that have been set up. So if you only want posts on your personal Google+ profile to be reposted to LinkedIn, then you would specify this via the Routing screen for your Google+ personal profile.
- Link Shortening – By default, Friends+Me uses their own link shortener, so any links shared will have fplus.me as part of the link. You can change this to bit.ly if this is the link shortener you prefer to use.
- Setup – The setup options depend on the social profile you are configuring. For example, if it is Twitter, you can specify to always link back to the original Google+ article instead of including a link to the original post on the web (if it was a web post). You can also specify that you want to limit the post length to 110 characters which allows room for retweets. Whereas for LinkedIn you can just specify who will see your reposts.
Here is an example of a post on Google+ which was then reposted to Twitter. As you can see the image is retrieved and displayed and there is also a link back to the original post.
The routing option allows you to specify controls based on the hashtags you use in the content. By default, Friends+Me will post your content to all the social profiles you set up but sometimes the content is just not relevant to particular platforms. So, for example, you can include #f so that content is only republished to Facebook or #ft means content is republished to Facebook and Twitter.
If you are publishing an article on Google+ but don’t want to republish it to your destination networks, then just include either #ns or #noshare in the description you share on Google+.
If you post content and want it to republish immediately (i.e. not according to any schedule), then include #nq in the update text.
Friends+Me is a very useful tool for helping you to copy original content from Google+ to other social networks.
There are some great configuration options available, but you need to spend some time setting these up correctly. Once set up to suit your needs, it is very useful.
Google has provided the capability for tool providers to schedule content to Google+ business pages, but this does not work with personal profiles. The Chrome DoShare extension provides a solution to this problem.
This allows you to schedule content, but your browser must be open at the time you want the content delivered. This is because the DoShare plugin runs directly on your computer, and the posts you schedule are stored in your browser. When the scheduled time arrives, the posts are sent to Google+. This is why you must have your browser open at the time of publishing; if you don’t then you’ll have to reschedule the posts. It is a small inconvenience that solves a big problem.
- Schedule content to be delivered at a later time on your Google+ personal profile account.
- Schedule the content you find while browsing through posts on Google+. This is an extra option that you will see has been added to posts on Google+, so that you can schedule delivery of this content at a later stage through DoShare directly from the Google+ interface.
Search the Chrome web store and add ‘Do Share’ as an extension on your browser.
Once installed, you can access it by clicking on a button similar to the following in your browser.
Note: The number (currently at zero) indicates the number of items you have in queue to be scheduled.
Clicking this button gives you the option to create a post with a link to whichever webpage you are on. For example, if I’m on a post on the RazorSocial site and click on this button, a screen is displayed where I can create a new post that automatically has a link to the site.
To add this post to the queue, you just click on the ‘share’ option to the left of the link. This presents a snippet preview of how the post will look on Google+.
You can now additional details to the post, such as a title and description, images, people mentions and more. You can also choose to schedule the post for later or post it immediately.
- Specify a title; this appears in bold on the first line of your Google+ post.
- Enter the details of your post
- The options, in the order they are displayed, are:
- Create a poll for any post you share on Google+.
- Add an image to your post.
- Add a link to your post.
- DoShare shows you the image and the description it retrieves from the link you are sharing (if available).
- If you want to mention people in your post you can add them here. When you mention people, they get notified in Google+ that they have been mentioned, so it’s a good way of catching someone’s attention.
- You can schedule a post or add it to a ‘drafts’ section for later publication. You can also delete a post that is held in drafts, or a post that is scheduled, or you can share a post immediately.
- DoShare displays the posts that are in draft mode or scheduled.
The other option to share is directly from Google+. If you are browsing through Google+ and you come across an interesting article click on the DoShare button.
Note. This button is only visible in Google+ if you are using Google Chrome.
This copies the article to DoShare, from where you can schedule it. It doesn’t make sense to share out all the articles at the same time. It makes much more sense to spread them out, which is where DoShare comes in handy.
Using Friends+Me with DoShare
These two tools work very well together. You can share out content on DoShare and then Friends+Me will pick up that content and share it out to the social networks you have configured.
With limited options for scheduling content on Google+ to your personal profile, DoShare is a good alternative.
As Google continues to roll out more features and integrates Google+ in to all of its products, it will become increasingly important. These tools will certainly help grow your online and social presence.
Here’s your next steps!
1. Implement some of the tools. Start off by running a page audit from SteadyDemand.
2. Comment below – We would love to get feedback: is this article useful? Are there tools you really like?
3. Share – We would love it if you shared this with your audience.