Google+ Part III: If Content is King, on G+ it’s God.

In part II of the Google+ series, we illustrated the effects of certain engagement tactics on our follower and +1 count. More specifically, we:

  • Posted quality content to communities related to social media (~2-3/day).
  • Re-shared posts from other users (3-5/day).
  • Constructed quality comments on discussion topics within communities (~5/day).

We found that using these tactics did, in fact, increase engagement on our content and in addition to overall +1 and follower count.

For this week, we tried taking a couple more tactics suggested by G+ power users and testing their efficacy. Once again, using SumAll to record stats, this was the result:

Google+ Sumall graph

Follower count: 55 -> 68

+1 count: 188 -> 301

The blue line indicates our followers, the purple line indicates our publishing activity which is all the content we share and reshare, and the orange line indicates our advocacy activity which is the +1’s, comments, and shares we get on our content.

The first thing you’ll notice about the graph is that our advocacy activity was consistently higher than our publishing activity on most days.  Basically, this means that we received more engagement (+1, share, comments), while posting less. In the second part of the series, we actually posted more, but received much less engagement (more on this in the conclusion).

The other thing to note here is that our +1 count grew at a much quicker rate than the previous week, and our follower count grew at about the same rate.

How We Did It

We were able to maintain steady growth of our follower and +1 count by employing these additional tactics:

  • Taking all posts and turning them into a longer form post:

 

Google+ post

 

  • Utilized “Ripples” to track spread of content and engage with influencers.

Google+ Ripples

Conclusions & Key Takeaways

  • We received higher engagement per post due to the content we were posting. The post linked above was shared (posted on 2 communities) over 12 times and +1’d 20 times while other posts with significantly less copy and a colorful image got zero shares and +1’sSimply put, quantity does not equal engagement. Some tips on creating engaging content on Google+:
    • Take all posts and turn them into longer format posts. This means actually reading the articles you’re posting and summarizing them or drawing unique conclusions (click here for an example).
    • When creating a post, remember that the first 160 characters are the ones that show after creation. If the reader wants to read on, they must click the “read more” option on the post. So make sure you use a catchy title and tell readers what the post is about in the beginning.
    • Make sure you’re teaching your audience something or showing them something unique. This is how you share less, but get more engagement.
  • The “Ripples” feature found on each individual post’s options is a powerful tool to measure the spread of a piece of content and to find influencers within your field.  We used it to circle those who consistently reshared content and to thank those who reshared. Doing this led to direct “follow-backs.”
  • Communities are places to learn and share content with others in your field. Posting basic tips that everyone already knows will get your post removed, as in the case of this Pinterest tips post: https://plus.google.com/116778956448925804652/posts/2uFDkEE8FYE
  • We are getting a lot more engagement on communities than our actual G+ page. This tells us that communities are where people are spending most of their time, not the “stream” (similar to Facebook’s news feed).

In short, we proved that content is key to increased engagement, and that Google+ operates on a different plane than the other social platforms.  If you follow the tips here and that in Part II, we can guarantee that you’ll see a significant increase in engagement like we have.

In Part IV, we’ll test the effect of using images in our posts. Remember, you can track our progress by following us on Google+!


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