google+No social network invokes the fear, confusion, and outrage that arises when someone mentions Google+. It’s the most controversial platform out there these days, in part because so many business owners can’t seem to quantify if it’s worth the time and effort. Most concur that businesses need to have a presence on the flailing social space, for no other reason than Google wants you to, and Google owns the search stratosphere. SEO value aside, it’s a tough space to unravel.

Rest assured, however, that if you’re crafty, committed, and well-prepared, Google+ can indeed be a marketing boon for your business. There are metrics available now that help decipher what was once an intensely mysterious space. You no longer have to “trust it’s working.” Google+ experts ‘CircleCount’ recently released an interesting and highly valuable infographic and report that helps marketers capitalize in a space that few have truly mastered. Heed their advice, and you’re light years ahead of the pack.

Want More Engagement? Let Pictures Do the Talking

We all know engagement is the name of the game in any social network, and Google+ is arguably the hardest.

For starters, the CircleCount crew took a dataset of 8,961,415 posts, pulled together from almost 10,000 profiles. So now you know this wasn’t a small collection of data; they really did their homework.

From this data pool, some very clear indicators of what is considered engaging in the G+ emerged. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Photos reign supreme on Google+, even more than other social networks. 57% of posts that got the coveted +1 included, or were exclusively, images. Links garnered 27% of the engagement, video 8%, and text-only updates saw just 8% of the +1 clicks.
  2. Comments, considered an even deeper level of engagement, showed similar but not identical metrics. Photos once again are absolutely crucial – but only by a 30% margin. Text fell just 2% below photos, at 28%, proving that thoughtful marketing messages still generate comment-worthy reactions. Events and Hangouts elicited their fair share of comments, at 14% and 10% respectively, while video and links closed out the category.
  3. Reshares are the money shot in social engagement, as they significantly help to grow your reach. On Google+, photos once again receive the most reshares, at 55%; this blows away all the other forms of media. Video claims 12%, video 11%, and text just 8%.

The moral of the story here is simple: If you’re on Google+, you better integrate relevant images into nearly everything you post.

Size Matters: How the Length of Your Posts Measure Up

Google+ is not Twitter; stats around how people respond to the size of posts are hugely insightful regarding the audience that gathers loyally on the social platform. According to the study:

“Overall, posts more than 100 characters had a better engagement rate in comparison to all other posts with less than 100 characters.”

In other words, with Google+, bigger is better.

This is across the board true for all the media formats, but once again, photos were the most popular posts. Posts with photos and text that exceeded 100 characters were almost 3 times as likely to receive a +1 approval. Text only posts only showed a mild increase with wordier options. They did, however, prove to be surprisingly popular when over 100 characters in length – specifically for +1s and comments, but not so much for reshares, which is arguably the most valuable engagement. Other than pure text posts, stats were very similar for both comments and reshares as well for all content categories.

Key Takeaways and Strategies for Google+ Marketing

In a nutshell, here’s what small businesses need to keep in mind with all Google+ marketing campaigns:

  • Loyal and prolific Google+ users don’t honor brevity. The practice of link-dropping, which is essentially a small post with a link attached, has one of the lowest engagements across the network. Less is definitely not more here.
  • The winning formula is crystal clear: Posts that include photos and relevant, engaging text that is over 100 characters has the highest level of engagement by a significant margin.
  • Text-only posts can certainly be a windfall, but they need to exceed 100 characters, and they’re only successful if +1s and comments are your primary goals. If reshares are your focus, stick to images, and lots of them.

Do these metrics convince us that Google+ is worthy of your time and attention? Not necessarily. The final piece of the puzzle that is essential in determining if it works for your business is all about the demographic. Not all industries are heavy Google+ users. If you’re looking to leverage a presence here, make sure the people you are most attempting to reach are not only present on Google+, but truly active. Since many still use their Google+ profiles for SEO validity, you’re wise to make sure your efforts will be received by your customers. If they’re on Google’s network, now you have the secret sauce to get their attention.

Have you had any success using Google+ as a marketing platform? If so, please share your story!


(original article)