The Google+ Guide for Event Professionals
Of the major social networks, Google+ is likely the most difficult to crack. With an estimated 540 million active monthly users, the social media platform certainly attracts enough users for it to warrant a unique social media strategy. But Google+ features are more complex than those offered by Twitter or Facebook, so the social media platform will require that you take some time to plan out how to specifically leverage all of the offered features.
What’s clear is that Google+ offers functionalities and an audience that most event planners should tap into. Effectively leveraging the network will help to create social media buzz, and it can help event professionals to sell more event tickets. So in an effort to help event planners improve their event registration figures, we’ve put together this guide on Google+ best practices!
Create a Google+ Profile:
The first major step here is to create a Google+ profile for yourself (you might even have one you didn’t know about!). Once this profile is created, event planners will be able to set up a separate business/event page, create communities, and interact in hangouts.
As with any other social network, be sure to upload a crisp headshot and catchy header image. You should also link your other social media accounts to your Google+ profile to encourage users to follow those accounts, too.
A distinguishing feature of the Google+ profile is the option to include links to websites you contribute to and to articles you have written. Filling this out can actually positively effect the SEO ranking of these articles. If someone who has you in one of their Google+ circles, which are segmented lists of followers, searches for something related to an article that you linked to your Google+ profile, that article will be favored by Google’s search engine. Ultimately, you become one with your network’s Google searches.
While it’s true that recent search engine updates, Panda and Hummingbird, have diminished the weight Google gives to authors who link articles to their Google+ profile, it nonetheless has a positive impact on SEO for those articles.
Build a Google+ Business Page:
Now that you’ve created a personal page, you’ll be able to create a business page. Do this if you’re a professional event planner looking to expand the social media reach of your business or if you’re planning a series of events, or one big annual conference that you want to better promote.
As with a personal Google+ page you can create “circles” of people who you follow or who follow you. Circles are handy because you can select which circles see your posts. You can create custom circles, and therefore, you have the power to segment your followers. That means that you can create a post only for past customers, or for fellow event planners and only those groups will see your message.
As with your personal Google+ page, be sure to link up your other social media accounts, and include a good looking profile and header image, after all, the quality of your Google+ page will determine how users interact with your page.
Make a Google+ Events Page:
Similar to Facebook, Google+ offers users the ability to create events pages. Unlike Facebook, Google+’s events page offers more functionality.
For example, when someone registers to your event, the event is automatically synced to their calendars. Attendees also have the ability to upload photos directly to your Google+ events page if they have the Google+ app downloaded on their Android phone.
Additionally, Google+ has a discoverability feature that can be activated to allow any Google+ user to find and sign up for your event.
Setup Google+ Interactive Posts:
With Google+ you don’t have to rely on sharing a link to your registration page to try to convert Plus followers into attendees. Instead, let current attendees do that by making it easy for them to share your event website with their Google+ circles.
To take advantage of Google’s Interactive Post feature, simply follow the link and embed the Call to Action button or CTA, you create in your event website. These embeddable CTAs have a 3X higher click through rate (CTR) than a normal post shared on social media, according to Google.
Once someone clicks on your CTA and shares your webpage, their Google+ followers will receive a notification encouraging them to check out your website. While it might sound a bit difficult, Google has provided step-by-step instructions for creating the CTA.
If you’re website is based on a Wordpress platform, you can use this plugin to help embed the Interactive Post CTA.
If you’re wondering what an Interactive Post CTA looks like, checkout the screenshot below.
Still a little lost about the Interactive Posts button, have no fear! Let’s say you want to drive people to your ticket registration webpage. You can go to Google’s development center and design a button that you can then embed in your ticket registration page. That way, if a visitor wants to share that page all they have to do is click the button and Google will automatically notify that person’s Google+ followers about your registration webpage. Followers will receive a notification in their web browser directing them to your registration page. This is a creative way to drive visits to that part of your website, and is also an effective tool to boost ticket sales.
Get Involved With Communities:
Google+ communities work similarly to LinkedIn communities. They are comprised of people with a similar interest and thus are self-segmented groups perfect for you to get involved with. Start by determining the types of communities to participate in based on who you want to attend your event. Then follow those communities, or request access to them if they’re marked as private.
As with any other social media strategy, get to know the people who comprise the communities you intend to participate with. Notice the kinds of content they share, the kinds of questions and pain points they have and then create content that is sharable and addresses community member’s interests and questions.
But before you share any of your own content, start by +1-ing, the equivalent of “liking” a post on Facebook, and comment on articles other community members share. It’s important that you establish yourself as a respected contributor to the community. In other words, make sure you are engaging with and giving back to the community instead of being a spambot that constantly promotes your own content.
Sponsor a Google Hangout "Ask Me Anything" (AMA):
We’ve talked about Ask Me Anything (AMA) events previously when we wrote about using Reddit to promote your event. Similarly, you can set up a Google+ hangout accessible to any potential attendee. Generate buzz prior to the hangout by promoting it on more established social media channels like Twitter, and send out an email blast to interested parties.
To generate even more buzz, invite your keynote speakers to participate in the Hangout, and encourage them to promote the discussion on thier social media accounts. This is a great way to give attendees a sneak peek of what’s to come and will encourage those who haven’t already registered for your event to do so. Once they hear how engaging and informative your speakers are, they’ll be more likely to register for your event.
Google+ is a social media platform that you should be active on, if you aren’t already. Given that over 80% of all online search traffic comes from Google Search, it’s worth it if only to improve the SEO of content you’ve created by linking to it.
The social media network offers a series of features designed to help businesses reach their customer base. By making use of these free tools, you’ll expand your social media reach and give yourself a better shot at increasing ticket sales.