There is a lot of buzz these days around Google+ and its relevance in the social media world. With so many of us already engaging in the social media dialogue, the thought of yet another platform sounds exhausting. So why bother? One word. Google.
As far as social media for the real estate industry goes, the reasons to log on and be active online are pretty obvious. Companies and real estate pros are able to communicate with clients, real estate colleagues and market their brand. More importantly, when clients are ready to start make buying decisions, having an established relationship is key to starting the sales cycle off on the right foot.
A Quick Lesson on Why Google+
So why Google+? Simple. It will improve search engine results when incorporated into your webpage and blogging activities. This is the number one reason everyone is signing up. It makes sense. Google+ is part of a company that dictates the majority of your search engine rankings and results. Therefore, it is not surprising that favoritism is shown in organic search engine results to those companies that are integrating Google+ into their site experience.
Google recognizes your account in two ways. First off, through your engagement level and the quality of content you publish on your Google+ account including posts, sharing and commenting. Secondly, Google Authorship is run through user’s Google+ accounts. Google Authorship is when you publish the original content you produce on your own site and blog through your Google+ profile. You will notice that as you begin to publish content this way your search engine rankings will not only improve but (with a few changes to your website's code) you will also begin to see an author snippet image next to content published from your site. This is great news as it helps your search results stand out and generate new traffic and visitors to your site.
Helpful Hint: Make sure your Google Authorship page has a friendly headshot. This is the image that will show up in your Google snippet so it’s important that you promote your professional image. Fact: Links accompanied with an appealing picture have an 80% improvement in click through rate. Here’s our Creative Director, Colin striking a pose.
So now that you know why Google+, let’s discuss how. In this Blueprint, I will outline the 5 Steps to Get Started on Google+ for Real Estate.
1) Create and Engage Through Your Local Business Page.
This is the first step after creating your own personal profile. Having a business page has many advantages like multiple administrators, Google local map citation, and connecting your website to your Google+ business page. Moreover, you can directly interact with followers through your business page, promoting you brand, targeting your content, and conveying the company’s message.
2) Join and Develop Active Communities.
Google+ connects you with other savvy real estate professionals and companies interested in optimizing their marketing efforts. Today the forward thinkers are creating communities to maximize their influence and encourage discussions on the topics that matter to them. As a manager or member of a well managed community you can learn up-to-date industry information and build your network. And as a creator of a community you can develop a forum highlighting your expertise while allowing others to share and discuss real estate topics under your guidance. Again, this will further help the way you and your business get indexed through Google search engines. As Google+ is still growing right now, it’s a good time to start communities relative to your property business and get active with your community.
To become an active member on Google+, it’s important to engage in Communities by sharing content. You can share content into your Communities directly from your personal Google+ profile page by adding them via the plus (+) feature in the To: section of the content addition section.
Helpful Hint: Blueprint Effects is currently active in both the Architecture & Architectural Photography and Home Decor group. Two topics very close to our heart. Take a look and see what other Google+ professionals are sharing!
3) Add a +1 Button to Your Website.
Along with all the various other social media buttons you have alongside your blog posts there is one more to now add into the mix. The +1 button. The reason is similar to why you should join Google+ in first place. It’s Google! The +1 button allows Google to test for what is trending online through its own platform. Humans with google accounts, not robots, can +1 an article and then find that regardless of rank, which articles have been +1’d the most. And being +1’d pays dividends. Simply put, websites using Google’s +1 button get 3.5X the Google+ visits.
To add the +1 button to you blog please find instructions provided by Google here. You can see ours on the menu bar to your left. Feel free to +1 this post!
4) Grow Your Followers.
After you’ve engaged with communities, you’ll want to grow your followers and continue to build your network. As with other social media platforms, there are variety of ways to do this. Mainly:
1) Upload your address/gmail book to Google+ and connect with current members while inviting others to join.
2) Share your content.
3) Acknowledge other’s content.
Helpful Hint: Utilize the power of the “circle”. Google+ has circles which allows you to organize your followers. One of the best ways to engage is to categorize your followers for content sharing and only share information that is relevant to them. For instance, you could create a circle “Real Estate Agents from Manhattan” and a seperate circle for "Real Estate Agents from Brooklyn".
5) Host Google Hangouts.
Once you are actively participating on Google+, consider hosting a Google Hangout. The concept of hosting a Google Hangout is similar to that of hosting a webinar. Using video chat, screen sharing, Google doc integration and more Google features, you can host a topic of your choosing with other fans and Google+ members. For example, if the Blueprint Effects team wanted to discuss “Neighborhood Content Targeting and Keyword Optimization” we would simply put out an invite to our followers in a relevant circle, schedule a time, and away we go. Simple, fast and accessible knowledge sharing.
Now that you’re on your way to becoming a Google+ champion, why not add us, Blueprint Effects. We will be sure to circle back with you.