Google+ Primer Part 2: Learning from the best

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Welcome to the second and last part of our B2B primer on Google+. Last week, we took you on a short tour of the platform’s major features. We also shared a list of best practices to help you get started on engaging with your audience on this under-used platform.

Today, let’s go a step further with five short case studies. All the companies featured use their Google+ pages in different ways. And while they have strengths and weaknesses, they offer valuable lessons that you can easily apply to your own B2B page.

 

5 B2B Brands to follow and learn from

  • Google Drive

The Google Drive page is one of the most successful Google-related pages on the platform. The wall is full of tips, tutorials, announcements, photos, and videos. Each update is a mini-blog post that tells you exactly how Google Drive will help you accomplish specific tasks.

The result? A stream that resonates well with readers. For example, look at the number of comments, +1s, and shares the update below has received!

googledrive

Takeaway: Use your Google+ page to showcase your products and how they can help solve your customers’ problems. If you can answer the most important question of all (“What’s in it for me?”) through your posts, you will command more than trust.

  • HubSpot

Inbound marketing and sales platform HubSpot is a Google+ star. Why?

First stop: The Google+ page’s cover photo. The company often changes it to promote upcoming events. At the time of this article, you can see employees at work with the following message at the bottom: “Welcome to HubSpot.” It’s simple and makes you want to know more about the company.

hubspot

Second stop: the links in the About section. If you feel like following HubSpot on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, or want to check out some of its products, just browse the list and click. The company’s YouTube account is also linked to the page. Don’t overlook the opportunity to feature your social networks as often as possible.

In a nutshell, the About section works as a central hub for all the company’s social media presence.

It is also worth mentioning that many of the page’s posts start with questions. It’s a great way to encourage conversations.

Takeaway: A great Google+ business page does not just have a steady stream of content. It also has an optimized About area. Filling out yours will give people the option to follow you where it matters to them. And remember, choose a striking cover photo to give visitors the best impression of your company.

  • Dell

Dell rocks Google+ in several areas.

The social media team formats content. Each post starts with a bolded sentence, comes with a picture, and has at least one hahstag.

There is also a strong focus on transparency. For example, employees are occasionally featured and managers respond to comments. They even use their names.

dellscreenshot

Finally, Dell also understands the power of communities. The company manages three, each of them catering to a specific audience:

  • Dell Cares – “Our social media outreach team listens, engages and provides proactive information. If you need any help with Dell products at home, please reach out here.”
  • Dell TechCenter – “Read best practice posts, view how-to videos and join the conversation on various Dell IT solutions.”
  • Enterprise IT Security – “We will cover a variety of different subtopics, from training to standards, from threads and cloud security to solutions.”

Takeaways: In the first part of this primer, we mentioned the importance of post formatting for Google Search. Follow Dell’s example:

  • Bold your first sentences to turn them into headlines.
  • Include relevant hashtags as often as possible to increase post discovery.

Have a consistent posting schedule and show off your company culture. Your employees are your best assets, so spotlight them as often as you can. You may consider doing the same with your best clients, if relevant.

Keep an eye on your mentions and notifications. Missing comments, questions, and complaints from customers could negatively impact your Google+ strategy. Use your page for customer care.

Finally, remember that your audience is not uniform. Communities are a fantastic option for audience segmentation and outreach.

  • Media Temple

Web hosting company Media Temple is a smaller business worth learning from to build your Google+ presence. First of all, it is a Local Page, so it’s an inspiring example for those lesser-known businesses who have a strong community foothold.

mediatempke

The most important thing to focus on, though, is the wall. Media Temple shares a lot of third-party content. The posting schedule is consistent. The manager introduces each item succinctly and always include visuals.

While hashtags are used sparingly, the content (e.g. web design tutorials, free icons, guides, plugins…) is completely in line with the services the company provides. Relevancy is of the essence here.

So, when it is time for self-promotion, the process feels everything but pushy.

Takeaway: As a B2B brand or marketer, your role is to deliver the best customer experience possible.  Unfortunately, it will never happen if you just talk about how amazing your services and products are.

Contrary to popular belief, curation will not turn customers away. It is a key companion to creation. It allows you to show off your expertise, while continuing to serve your audience when inspiration is not around the corner.

  • Hootsuite

The Toronto company known for their social media management software is extremely active on Google+, posting several times a day on topics relevant to their audience.

Tips on social media use, blogging, content curation and driving traffic from social networks comprise most of the Page posts, bringing readers to their main blog. Thankfully, this navel-gazing pays off because the tips and commentary are intelligent and helpful, offering their digital media-heavy audience important info they can use.

Hootsuite also regularly posts social media news recaps as YouTube videos. Relevant video, in under 4 minutes, can be a slick way to attract your fans to your Page, especially if they come to expect video posts steadily at a certain frequency.

Takeaway: In this very competitive world, acknowledging your audience’s passion is one of the most efficient ways to draw attention to your business.

Give your audience advice they can bookmark later. Establish a content marketing program building one of your business pillars, and find strong writers to contribute content you can cross-post on many social networks.

Finally a quick word about using Google+ via your smartphone:

Managing your Google+ page from a mobile device

Right now, there are two ways to manage a page on the go.

With this app, you can:

  • Switch between pages (if you manage several ones);
  • Update your business information;
  • See your posts and photos;
  • Interact with your audience;
  • Post content;
  • Add managers; and
  • Access Insights.

 

However, there is no option to delete pages, change their settings, or edit some of their categories.

 

  • Google+ app
  • Browse profiles, your home stream, and circles’ streams
  • Post content and interact with your audience;
  • Find Communities of interest;
  • Create and manage circles;
  • Create events; and
  • Receive notifications

It is the app you use to manage your profile. To access your page, log out and in to your Google+ account again. Then, tap the icon for your page. You are now set.

The Google+ app lets you:

Note that Community management is very limited with the app. A desktop is mandatory for some options. More information can be found here.

 

Which B2B brands and/or marketers do you think use their Google+ pages the most efficiently? Share with us in the comment section below.

 

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Cendrine Marrouat

Cendrine Marrouat

Cendrine Marrouat is a content creator & curator, social media trainer, author, and photographer. She is also the founder of Social Media Slant, a blog helping small business owners and solo-entrepreneurs to figure out the basics of social media. "The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win", her latest social media ebook, was awarded a 2015 Small Business Book Award in the Social Media Category. Website: http://cendrinemarrouat.com
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