4 Warning Signs Your Google+ Account Needs Work

Not getting the results you hoped for from Google+? Here's what you're probably doing wrong.
Co-founder, KISSmetrics
January 05, 2012

Are you cranking out content on Google+ and adding people to your Circles? Are you getting the results you had hoped for? If nobody is sharing your posts, new followers are coming in at a trickle and your comments section is like a ghost town, look to your behavior.

Maybe you’re thinking Google+ is not a great social media site. I hate to break the news to you, but Google+ is not your problem. It’s you and your content.

So how do you know if your content is inferior? There aren’t any rules, but there are lots of warnings signs. The following are the four most common.

Lame content

When you go days without hearing anything from your Google+ audience, you have to wonder if the content you’re sharing is lame? Maybe it’s not, but you’ll never know unless you ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your audience? The instinct when it comes to a new social media site like Google+ is to follow everybody. Unfortunately, all those people have separate reasons for following you, and their interests may not be lined up with yours. Figure out who you want your audience to be, then get rid of the people who don’t fit that profile. Add people who do.

  • Is your content relevant for your audience? Perhaps you have the right audience. You all share the same interests and you followed each other for the same reasons. Is what you’re sharing what they want to hear? If not, they won’t respond.

  • Are you sharing enough content? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of frequency. We know timing on Facebook is important and there are ideal times to post on Twitter. So pay attention to when you post on Google+ and when people respond. Share a lot of content and measure when you get the best response. Then start sharing more relevant content at those times and less at others.

Low comment engagement

You might figure out the optimal time of day and week to share content on Google+ and still have nobody commenting. If that’s the case, then you need a different content strategy. Stir up more comments.

  • Ask questions. Questions get people to comment. Make your questions relevant and thoughtful.

  • Share provocative or inspirational quotes. The trick to making this strategy work is to ask a question relevant to the quote. It can be something as simple as “agree or disagree?”

  • Post large photos. Because of its intuitive photo-sharing platform, Google+ is perfect for large photos. Viewers can quickly scan all of your photos and even zoom in on them.

  • Leave comments with other people. The same commenting strategy that works with blogging works effectively on Google+. Spend some time every day looking at Google+ posts and leave thoughtful comments. Do this enough and people will eventually return the favor.

Nobody +1 shares

It’s likely that you’re sharing junk when people see your content and don’t act on it. But how do you know? Google Analytics can help. Google breaks the +1 reporting down into three reports.

  • Activity Report – This shows you how many times your posts have been +1’d, not just in Google+, but outside in Google Search or on your own blog.

  • Search Impact Report – Want to know how +1’s impact your search traffic? Look at this report, comparing clicks and impressions on your search results. You can even compare them with or without the +1 annotation.

  • Audience Report – Want to know what the people who +1’d your pages are like? This report gives you demographic and geographic information, helping you to create more relevant content.

You're not in anybody's circle

It’s surely discouraging when you have few people adding you to their own circles. You probably added lots of people to Circles, hoping they would add you back. Sorry, it’s not that easy.

  • Are you inviting people from your other social media sites? Not everyone is jumping on board Google+, so you have to invite them to join. Use your social networks to do that.

  • Are you creating smart Circles? While some people view Circles as a worthless exercise, there is one argument for creating them. Blogger Chris Voss creates a circle dedicated to what he calls “Commenters.” These are people he’s not connected with but who have commented on his Google+ posts. This allows him to see what they are posting and leave a comment, hopefully leading to a connection and relationship.

  • Are you strategically engaging on others’ content? Once your Circles are set up, post to the public stream, which will expose you to a lot more people. Then, engage people by clicking the Share button for their posts. Also, start an informal hangout. And finally, add +1 to your website or blog.

  • Are you +1’ing comments? Doing this can help you get high-profile people to pay attention to you because not everyone shares comments. But if it’s a good one, share it.

  • Are you sharing to Extended Circles? This is a good way to reach into your connections’ audience. You won’t be in their main feed, but the right content can attract attention.

Building traffic incrementally

These tips alone won’t lead to a massive jump in traffic and comments in a Google+ account. But each one may account for a small amount of traffic, which all adds up in the long run.

What ideas can you share that will help people create a Google+ account that doesn’t suck?

Co-founder, KISSmetrics