2) Expand Your Circles
As with any social network, you need to start making connections. Google+ is similar to Twitter, where you can follow anyone you like and it doesn’t require a reciprocal relationship like with Facebook or LinkedIn. This makes it so you can find new people without having an established relationship with them. On Google+ you can organize people you follow into circles. You can create circles on whatever topic you like and organize accordingly. For example you could create circles for real estate colleagues, local businesses or existing clients. This is a great way to keep your contacts nice and organized as well as to be able to target certain niches with specific content you might want to share.
3) Share Content
Post content to your page. You can share blog posts you’ve written or great articles you’ve read. You can also write long form content specifically for Google+ in the same way you can write content for your sites. This is one of the great thing about the platform, it’s a lot more open to creating a dialog and conversation than maybe Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter might be. Share photos or YouTube videos that have been created for your listings. Re-share interesting content from people you follow to your own circles. This is a great way to show someone you like their content while offering fresh content to those connected with you. When it comes to sharing listing content use the 80/20 rule. You’ll want to fill your feed with 80% non-selling related content, while sharing 20% related to stuff like your listings or generating new leads. People on social media don’t want the hard sell, so make sure to mix it up when sharing your real estate listings.
One of the biggest advantages Google+ offers over other social networks is the ability to link your social profile to search results. Have you ever wondered how people get their head shots to show up beside their content in a Google Search? That’s where Authorship comes in. Follow these step-by-step instructions and you can get Authorship working for you. The benefit of this is Authorship has shown to improve click through rates on search results, and since Google shows how many people have you in their circles it adds incentive to build out your Google+ network.
5) Get A Custom URL
Google has recently started offering custom URLs to your profile. This allows you to get a URL that is google.com/+YourName if you’re so lucky as to have a unique name. If you’re like me and don’t, you’ll be offered the opportunity to add a few extra characters to make your URL unique. While this isn’t the ideal of being able to choose your own preferred URL, at very least it’s an improvement over a random 21 number ID like they currently offer. To get a custom URL you need to meet these 3 criteria, you have 10 or more followers, your account is over 30 days old and you have a profile picture.
6) Engage With People
You don’t want to just broadcast content, you need to engage. Comment on other people’s posts and join the conversation. Engaging with people is the easiest way to grow your network on a place like Google+. Hitting +1 on someone’s content is the Google+ equivalent of Liking something on Facebook. It shows that person that you appreciate their content.
Communities on Google+ are similar to forums. Here are some real estate communities I found that have an active membership base and loads of great content and interaction.
You’ll also want to see about joining local community pages as well. Get involved in those to meet new people and potential new leads for your real estate business.
8) Start A Hangout
Hangouts are the messaging platform built into Google+. This product has replaced the popular GTalk application and has been built into Gmail, so there are loads of users for this service. One of the cool aspects of Hangouts are the video chats. You can host up to 9 people in a video chat. This is a great video conferencing solution and the best part is that it’s free. It’s quite handy to do stuff like screen sharing so everyone can discuss your presentation or changes to the website while in remote locations.
9) Use Hashtags
Consider using hashtags, but make sure not to abuse them. If you’re a user of Twitter you’re surely well acquainted with hashtags and they can be used in the same fashion on Google+. Hashtags make it so your content is more findable and categorized with similar content by other users. So if you use a hashtags like #realestate or #homeforsale when you share your content it’s much easier to find and makes it easier for people to connect and engage with you. Find out what popular local hashtags are for your area and connect your local content with other users in your area.
10) Start Searching
As you might expect with a product from Google, the search is quite handy when using Google+. With results broken down by a wide variety of criteria you’d want to search within the site. It’ll make finding people, hashtags, communities and photos a snap. If you’ve ever tried to make sense of the terrible search results Facebook delivers to you on their site, you’ll definitely appreciate what a breath of fresh air the Google+ search is.
11) Go Mobile
There are great Google+ apps for both Android and iOS. If you’re not running either of those platforms there is the mobile version of the website that can be browsed from any mobile OS platform. Being able to share updates, take pictures and keep up with what’s happening on Google+ is quite valuable.
12) Don’t Forget About It
Make sure to add Google+ to your regular social media schedule. Don’t just setup your account then forget about it. Like anything, you get what you put into it and social networks are no exception. Put in the effort and you will be able to grow your network and see valuable returns from using Google+.
Bonus Tip For Advanced Users
Check out SteadyDemand’s great Google+ Brand Audit Tool to check what you could be doing better with your brand profile.