Google+ has grown astronomically since it launched in 2011. It overtook Twitter in January 2013, and is now second to Facebook in popularity.
With more than 700 million registered Google+ users, companies have a lot to gain by maintaining a Google+ page. However, some Google+ pages are more popular than others.
Take a look at this list of 10 brands with great Google+ pages to get some tips, ideas and insights for your business:
Toyota has an excellent Google+ page. It shares industry news, inspirational photos and innovative concepts with followers, and updates its page regularly. However, the Toyota Collaborator feature stands out most. Using Google+ Hangouts, users can:
- Invite up to five friends to help them design and customize their new Toyota.
- View the interior of the car through eye tracking.
- Take the finished car for a virtual test drive on Google Maps.
The layout of a Google+ page (wide and open) lends itself particularly well to visual content. Pages that recognize this tend to do better than those that rely solely on text.
Cadbury capitalized on this, ensuring its page is full of large, bright and attractive images. Scroll down the page to reveal striking pictures of various Cadbury products, delicious-looking cakes and biscuits, and lashings of the distinctive Cadbury purple.
3. Hugo Boss
As a high-end fashion retailer, Hugo Boss is an expert in visual design. The brand carried the clean lines and defined colors of its clothing to its Google+ page, which reads like the pages of a glossy magazine. The page isn’t an advertisement for the brand so much as an aspirational luxury lifestyle guide. As a result, the page has gained a large number of followers.
H&M, another fashion brand, takes a slightly different approach to its Google+ page. It operates in a different market than Hugo Boss, and targets a younger generation in search of affordable, throwaway fashion.
Along with product pictures and photography, H&M also posts behind-the-scenes posts about recent photo shoots, video interviews with famous designers, and guides to upcoming fashion trends.
The 80/20 rule dictates that only 20 percent of a company’s social media posts should be about the products it sells. Virgin embraced this advice, as it fits with the brand’s lifestyle image.
Building on Richard Branson’s charismatic brand of entrepreneurialism, Virgin’s Google+ page offers followers a mix of inspirational posts, interviews and debates. Part of the page’s popularity inevitably lies with Richard Branson as a CEO, but the 80/20 rule also plays a large role.
The New York Times has a pay wall on its site—a move criticized by many. To avoid alienating readers, the newspaper wisely offers plenty of freely accessible content on its Google+ page. Some links do redirect users to the pay wall, but the paper posts free videos—watchable without migrating to the New York Times website—almost every day.
One way to create a successful Google+ page is to update regularly with useful and interesting information. But some companies and industries just don’t have this kind of content available, and can even harm their social media efforts by repeatedly posting irrelevant content.
NASA, however, has plenty of shareable information. It often posts real-time pictures and video clips of space flights, links to articles about technology and space exploration, and hangouts with scientists and astronauts.
NASA is not the only company that uses Google+ hangouts. HP has recognized the massive marketing potential in connecting with customers in real time.
Hangouts are usually interactive, allowing viewers to submit questions to the panel. Interactive experiences often help a brand lodge itself in consumers’ memories. Previous HP hangouts include exclusive interviews with celebrities and industry-related conferences and debates.
Pepsi has mastered the art of customer interaction on its Google+ page. It doesn’t update its profile often, but when it does, it’s usually to share news of a high-profile competition or giveaway. Pepsi tends to collaborate with other well-known brands and celebrities on these giveaways. Previous campaigns involved Beyonce, Hunter and iHeartRadio. Followers are drawn to the page by these household names, and the possibility of winning a high-quality prize keeps them there.
The average user only spends 12 minutes a day on Google+. This means short, snappy content is the key to success.
Mashable bases its model on this type of content, and the blend of funny and interesting photos, videos, interviews and articles from around the Web have won the site a large circle of followers. Mashable also uses hashtags-a useful feature that allows users to effortlessly find content. Many businesses tend to ignore hashtags.
These successful pages share some common themes:
- Regularly post clear, high-quality images to make your page inviting and attractive.
- Engage with your audience to keep its attention. Use questions, competitions and hangouts.
- Don’t just post about your product or service-make sure your content is interesting to your readers. News stories, interviews and survey results tend to make popular posts.
- Update your page on regularly, as followers quickly grow bored with stale profiles.
A version of this article originally appeared on JeffBullas.com.