Using Google+ Ripples and other free tools to connect with influencers

Influencer outreach should be a core approach in today's marketing. Google+ gives great new options for identifying and interacting with opinion leaders and industry experts who have the ability to influence others to take positive action. Those interactions may include sharing content, links or even signing up to newsletters or product demos. Google+ is a very powerful 'information network', a place where many people (100 million active according to the latest estimates) go to connect with others around their interests and passions. Whilst Google+ may not have the sheer size in numbers of Facebook (with over one billion users), those active on Google+ are enthusiastic and highly engaged. One of the benefits of seeking out influencers on Google+ is the impact Google+ content is having on natural search results. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where search engines are…

... and who isn't?

Google+ can no longer really be called "new" since it was launched over 18 months ago and is now estimated to have 400 million users of which 100 million are active. To mark the launch of the new guide to Smarter Marketing using Google+, which I have written with Liz Edwards, the end of this post shows 10 examples of brands who are active on Google+ and using it to sell through daily promotions mixed with other interactive content. But this isn't the whole story of Google+, some brands don't seem convinced or perhaps they or their agencies aren't organised enough to communicate regularly. So we thought we'd start with these...

Examples of brands who AREN'T using Google+ actively

As we were preparing the guide we noticed that many companies have been unable to sustain their commitment to Google+. Surprising when you think of their scale and the…

Tips and examples for an effective Google+ content strategy

The overall aim of brands using social networking is to create engaged communities around compelling content that educates, entertains, inspires and/or angers. The key, then, is to use content to generate interest and ultimately Likes, Retweets, +1s, comments and shares for the content that’s being published. By generating interest for specific posts, users can produce a viral effect where that interest is then multiplied as a result of others throughout someone’s social graph being exposed to and then (hopefully) interacting with that content themselves.  And so the cycle continues as their social graphs become exposed to the content.

Creating impactful content on Google+

Custom Circles One of the unique aspects of Google+ is the intuitive nature of the interface and the ability to easily filter and segment people and companies into custom Circles. By focusing in on specific Circles, users…

Are you part of the Google Authorship Program?

You may not be using Google Authorship yet, but will almost certainly have noticed photos of authors appearing more and more as you search.  You may also have read SEOs discussing the benefits of "rel=author" which is the markup contained within HTML on webpages to link the page to the users Google+ page:

<a href="[Google+_profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

We believe, the Google Authorship program is a must for any regularly updated content site, whether you run your own blog or your company has a blog with multiple contributors.  In this post I'll review why it's important to online marketing and show you how to get "enrolled".

The Authorship program allows Author information and news, webpages and blogs to be associated with authors. It will also change the look of any items you have in search results too as per the example below:

Google+ with Google Apps, a platform for business?

I've written recently about Google+ as the true social network and so it's particularly fascinating to read this announcement today about Bringing Google+ to Work - it's a very exciting step for Google considering their already significant progress into Cloud based business applications - something that we already use across Smart Insights as it turns out.

A new business specific feature set

1. Private sharing Google Apps users (people running Gmail for business email, Calendar and Docs) get more control over the content they post to Google+. Simply mark it as 'restricted'. These posts become private to your organisation and can never be re-shared with anyone outside. You still get the flexibility to share it with specific partners or colleagues outside the organisation as well if you choose.

Video meetings integrated with Google Apps Thanks…

A platform for true relationship building?

I wrote recently about what I had learned about Google+ for content marketing; Google+ remains a channel that's largely new to me, and as I delve deeper into planning my own personal (and +Smart Insights) foray into Google+ there are some very specific themes that are emerging and worth mentioning.

Google+ wins on user sentiment

First, the wider, changing picture of user satisfaction with social networks. Google+ has just entered into the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) on 78 out of a 0-100 scale, just as Facebook's score falls from 8 points to 61. It rates higher than LinkedIn or Twitter too. Not a big deal or in any sense the start of the end for Facebook with its 800 million user base, yet certainly a flavour of the ever-changing social environment and suggests that Google is getting the experience right. You can only imagine it's…

Currently for big brands only

Importance: [rating=3] Recommended link: Google employee announcement Google Plus has announced via the G+ page of employee Saurabh Sharma that brands can now use specific URLs to promote their Google+ brand or company page via offline media. About time too! Although to be fair, it took Facebook and LinkedIn a while after launch to offer this for company or brand pages. It was certainly clunky before. The vanity URL uses a "+" (what else?). For example, Toyota can now use this URL… (which redirects to rather than…   You can find out more details about this update via the post on Saurabh Sharma’s profile:

Marketing implications of this change for company Google+ pages?

Most companies will have to wait until Google announces further details to make…

Google+ best practice tips from Cadbury and H&M

Although brand adoption of Google+ is way behind other social networks, notably Facebook and Twitter, some businesses have jumped in and are making waves to stir up interest, engagement and interaction with their fans on Google+. Confectioner Cadbury UK (see Google+ case study) and clothing brand H&M (see the Smart Insights details of H&M Google+ case study) are leading the way with their Google+ pages and are utlising the network to great effect.

But what is the "secret to their success"? Here are five best practice Google+ tips from two of the network’s leading lights:

Know your audience

Before jumping into Google+ it’s important to have a good idea of your customers and audience beforehand. Every social network is different and each has its own idiosyncrasies, so ensure that you build a platform…

5 practical actions and an example you can follow

Google+ is continuing to gather momentum, with more than 170 million users or more depending on who you listen to. At the same time though, there's a lot of discussion around the number of active users and unconfirmed data that user engagement is weak. There's no question that Google+ hasn't arrived 'main-stream' yet, but we think the growth of it now warrants some attention when planning your content marketing, even if you keep the investment modest.

What's so special about Google+?

Guy Kawasaki said that Google+ is for "passions," that's what differentiates it, and though that's maybe a little vague and consumer orientated, the notion of it makes good sense. "Businesses should jump on Google+ because it’s the Wild West, so you can stake your claim, as opposed to breaking through the noise on Twitter and Facebook." Guy Kawasaki Google+ is very different to Twitter…

H&M show how to engage an audience with Google+

Google has just produced a great new case study on how H&M are using Google+. H&M are a useful example to look at to learn approaches to marketing in Google+ since it has been successful in building a relatively large audience of nearly 1 million followers. Miriam Tappert, Global Social Media Manager at H&M, explains the objectives for setting up the brand’s Google+ page were simple; “To be where our customers are, have a dialogue and share the latest fashion.” This case illustrates a couple of core digital marketing principles: 1. Ensure you track your target audience's media consumption patterns and establish a strong presence in those media 2. Tailor your content to each medium, while maintaining integration with the wider communication strategy. Following the media neutral planning rule 'play to each medium’s strengths' optimises message relevance and effectiveness.

 H&M uses Google+ to engage its audience

H&M has integrated…