In today's #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to January 2014 to my directions on how to post to Google+. This is also a continuation of my special 2015 Holiday Run-Up series giving you the tactics you need to help boost your sales this upcoming season.
I've already given you steps and tactics for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, so now it's time to talk about....
Google+ is a completely different social network than Facebook. They might have launched it to directly compete with Facebook, but the flood of expected user migration from Facebook to Google+ didn't happen, leading it to be called a ghost town and useless.
Google has struggled with Google+ because it's viewed as a failure... A failure that only has 300 million active monthly users. It didn't (yet?) gain the 1 billion user level of Facebook, and LinkedIn is reported to have 332 million users now.
On the other hand, Google+ has more users than Pinterest and supposedly the same number of users as Instagram, and it ranks number 4 on the social media most popular list after Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The biggest benefit of using Google+ is the search results visibility you gain. Social posts to Google+ have a tendency to rank well when you follow these directions.
The original idea for Google+ was to create a place where users could tie in all the information from the various Google accounts. Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Google Places, and many others were supposed to become part of a unified strategy. They got it to work, and as a marketer, they made my life a lot easier.
Sadly, most people didn't like this forced integration, so in early 2015, Google started to decouple the different services they spent 4 years integrating. In my opinion, the worst part of this process has been the damage this does to businesses because it's more difficult to manage your information now. More difficulty means more time, which translates into costs.
Allow me to stand on a soapbox for a moment and tell you that the next time you complain to your SEO guy, your SEM guy, or your marketing agency that they charge too much money for their services, you should thank all the Google+ haters and complainers for forcing Google's hand backwards.
Who Uses Google+?
Google+ is not a ghost town. I have hundreds of jewelry designers and jewelry stores in my Google+ Circles with whom I share posts. I use these same circles to monitor adoption and activity of jewelers. Over the last 2 years, jewelers are sharing photos, ads, and website links to their followers on Google+.
Every morning, I see new creative photography from jewelers trying to push the limits of their social activity. This morning I even saw a provocative watch ad that had 121 +1's. The +1 is Google's equivalent of a FB Like.
Even though your friends and family might not be using Google+ for casual communication like they do Facebook, it doesn't mean it's a ghost town. Instead of dethroning Facebook, Google+ is just another social network. For all you Google+ haters out there, all I can say is that you have to stop thinking of it as a new Facebook and start viewing it as another viable marketing channel for your business.
I see hundreds of jewelers, retail stores, and jewelry designers using it at least once a week. There's a real benefit to this, especially when the posts include a link back to your website, a blog, or the product catalog item you are showing.
One of the most notable features that grew in the Google+ Petri dish was the merger of features from Panoramio, Picasa, and Street View. The features built into Google+ Photos are amazing, and as a photographer myself, I can tell you that it's easy to use and allows for true sharing of unaltered photos to social media.
Sometime around the beginning of September 2015, Google+ Photos were decoupled from Google+ and simply renamed as Google Photos. Everyone with a Google account has a Google Photos account. You can get to it here: https://photos.google.com.
You can upload photos directly to Google+ or you can upload them through Google Photos to then share on Google+. Through your Google Photos account you can provide a real benefit to people. You can allow all your geotagged photos to become part of Google Maps, which in turn captures the attention of users who are looking at Maps. Although this might not specifically seem impressive, you certainly could upload seasonal photos of the outside of your store and surrounding areas.
I realize it's difficult to understand why random photos of the outside of your store are worth uploading to Google Photos, and sharing to Google+, but they are worth it. I've shared hundreds of photos of random storefronts and locations through my travels. According to my own Google account these shared photos have been viewed more than 400,000 times through Google Maps. Obviously, people are looking at my random photos of city streets and buildings, so why not seed some photos of your own storefront in your favor? Share photos of your store decorated for the holidays.
Resolution of Google+ Photography
The photos you can take with today's cameras can be massive in pixel dimensions and in hard drive size. Most of the photos I take are 5184 x 3456 pixels direct from my camera and at least 3MB in file size. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, Google will allow you to upload the full resolution size of your photos. Users can then zoom in to see full filigree derails or facets on a ring.
The original size of the following photo is 5520 x 3000 pixels, but that's too big to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest:
I was able to post it to Google+ without any problem, and then embed that post here:
You'll be able to zoom in and see the grain of the cow horn if you click on the above photo to jump to Google+. The other popular networks don't allow this level of photo detail, and this goes right back to my previous Run-Up product photography tips where I stressed the importance of taking clear, in-focus photos.
Those high resolution photos are needed for your print ads, and for posting to Google+ like this.
Google+ is not a ghost town; it just didn't turn into the behemoth competitor that might dethrone Facebook as the social media leader.
If you spend time using Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, then there's no reason, other than spiting yourself, for not using Google+.