Google+ has risen astronomically since it was launched in 2011. It overtook social media giant Twitter in January 2013, and is now second only to Facebook in popularity. With over 700 million registered users, companies have a lot to gain by maintaining a page on the service. However, some Google+ pages are more popular than others.
Take a look at this list of 10 brands with great Google plus pages, and get some tips, ideas and insights for your own business.
Toyota has an excellent Google+ page. They share industry news, inspirational photos and innovative concepts with their followers, and update their page regularly. However, it’s the ‘Toyota Collaborator’ feature which really stands out. Using Google+ Hangouts,
- Users can invite friends to help them design and customise their new Toyota
- Up to five people can collaborate on the project, changing paint colours and wheel rims, discussing the options, and rotating the car to view it from different angles
- The interior of the car can be viewed through eye-tracking
- The finished car can be taken for a virtual test drive on Google Maps
The layout of a Google+ page – wide and open – lends itself particularly well to visual content. Pages which recognise this tend to do better than those which rely solely on text. Cadbury has capitalised on this, ensuring that their page is full of large, bright, attractive images. Scrolling down the page reveals striking pictures of their various products, delicious-looking cakes and biscuits, and lashings of the distinctive Cadbury purple.
#3. Hugo Boss
As a high-end fashion retailer, Hugo Boss are experts in visual design. They’ve carried the clean lines and defined colours of their clothing to their Google+ page, which reads like the pages of a glossy magazine. The page isn’t an advert for the brand so much as an aspirational luxury lifestyle guide – and as a result has gained a large number of followers.
H&M, another fashion brand, take a slightly different approach to their Google+ page. They operate in a different market to Hugo Boss, targeting a younger generation in search of affordable, throwaway fashion. Along with product pictures and photography, there are also ‘behind the scenes’ posts about recent photo shoots, video interviews with famous designers, and guides to upcoming fashion trends.
The ‘80/20’ rule dictates that only 20% of a company’s posts on social media should actually be about the products it sells. Virgin has embraced this advice fully, as it fits in with the brand’s lifestyle image. Building on Richard Branson’s charismatic brand of entrepreneurialism, Virgin’s Google+ page offers followers a mix of inspirational posts, interviews and debates. Part of the page’s popularity inevitably lies with having Richard Branson as a CEO, but the 80/20 rule also plays a large role.
#6. The New York Times
The New York Times have erected a pay wall for visitors to their site – a move which many people criticised. However, to avoid alienating their readers entirely, they wisely made the decision to offer plenty of freely accessible content on their Google+ page. Some links do redirect the user to the pay wall, but free videos – watchable without migrating to the NY Times website – are posted almost every day.
One way to create a successful Google+ page is to update regularly with useful and interesting information. Some companies and industries just don’t have this kind of content available to share with followers – and can even harm their social media efforts by repeatedly posting irrelevant content. NASA, however, has plenty of shareable information. They often post real-time pictures and video clips of space flights, links to articles about technology and space exploration, and host hangouts with the scientists and astronauts.
Nasa are not the only company to use Google+ hangouts. HP has recognised the massive marketing potential unlocked by connecting with customers in real-time. Hangouts are usually interactive, allowing viewers to submit questions to the panel – and interactive experiences often help a brand to lodge itself better in the memory of consumers. Previous hangouts hosted by HP have included exclusive interviews with celebrities, along with industry-related conferences and debates.
Pepsi have mastered the art of customer interaction on their Google+ page. They don’t update their profile often, but when they do, it’s usually to bring news of a high-profile competition or giveaway. They tend to collaborate with other well-known brands and celebrities on these – previous campaigns have involved Beyonce, Hunter, and iHeartRadio. Followers have been drawn to the page by these household names, and kept there by the possibility of winning a high-quality prize.
The average user only spends 12 minutes a day on Google+, meaning that short, snappy content is the key to success. Mashable’s whole model is based on this type of content – the blend of funny and interesting photos, videos, interviews and articles from around the web have won them a large circle of followers. They also make full use of hashtags – a useful feature which allows users to effortlessly find content – but is often ignored by businesses using the service.
These successful pages share some common themes. It’s important to post clear, high-quality images on a regular basis, to make your page look inviting and attractive to the eye. Engage with your audience to keep their attention – use questions, competitions and hangouts. Don’t just post about your product or service – make sure your content is interesting to your readers (news stories, interviews and survey results tend to make popular posts). Finally, be sure to update your page on a regular basis, as followers quickly grow bored with stale profiles.