Your association probably has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (If not, what are you waiting for?) And, we know that some associations are using LinkedIn to drive growth for their organization. For more information, download our free eBook, 4 Simple Steps for Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Membership.
Think you've got social media under control? Think again. Here's another channel you may be neglecting: Google+. More than 300 million people are actively using the site.
Google created its own hybrid of Facebook and LinkedIn with Google+ (pronounced Google Plus). Companies and associations can create their Google+ page that can help drive search engine visibility – after all, it's owned by Google! And it's a fast-growing way to engage your members.
Creating your Google+ association page
Start with a free Google or Gmail account and create your own profile on Google+. Then can create a page for your association. Set up your organization's profile, much like you've done on other sites.
Or watch this short video.
Beneficial features of Google+
Google + Circles
One of the key features of Google+ is Circles. You can create different Circles for different audiences, by location, donors, supporters, favorites, members or other groups. Then you can post content and choose which Circles will see the information. It's a great way to deliver relevant and valuable content to each of your groups. You can also share your content to the Google+ Stream so it's visible by other users.
Instead of Liking, Starring or Favorites, you share content on Google+ by clicking a +1 button. You can add the +1 button to your content on other sites - similar to Tweet buttons or Share on Facebook buttons - so it can be easily shared on Google+. This feature can create more value than other pages and content you might like because the results not only show up on Google+, but also on Google search result pages (SERPs).
Another key feature is Google Hangouts. This element of Google+ allows you communicate via instant messaging and online video conferences so you can invite members to participate in live conversations, and you can record them to watch later. It's an easy way to conduct a webinar-style interaction or a small meeting as a way to bring value to your members. Think about trying a Google Hangout for your next board meeting, committee meeting or focus group.
Business advantages of a Google+ page for your association
With a page, your association can communicate with members and potential members, industry experts, governmental agencies, as well as other associations that you can learn from or work with.
By posting valuable content and interacting with your followers, you can raise your profile in the Google+ community as well as increase visibility for your website and other social media presence. Because Google runs it, the Google+ site emphasizes Search Engine Optimization, unlike some other social sites. Google's search engine gives a lot of credence to content shared on Google+. If you're not on Google+ your content is not as visible as it could be.
Google+ and YouTube are highly integrated, so having a Google+ page will make for better distribution of your video content. With the advanced Google+ Hangouts on Air, you can even do live events and further increase the value of your association membership.
Get Started Today
If you're not on it already, sign up for Google+ to create your personal profile . Add people in your networks to your circles to start following them. Once you're familiar with it, create a Google+ page for your association. Then you can start sharing great content that your members will value.
Don't worry about jumping in all at once. Build out a plan that dedicates some time each week to learning and using Google+. Soon, you'll be including Google+ as a part of your regular social media communications.
For more information on content marketing for associations, check out these posts.
- Top Questions About Content Marketing For Associations
- Creating The Right Content For Your Association's Content Marketing Strategy
- How To Start Content Marketing For Your Association or Chamber
So, start creating and sharing great content. See you soon on Google+!