I know… I know… the last thing an artist wants is yet ANOTHER social network they need to update. Anyone who regularly updates their Twitter and Facebook knows it can sometimes feel like a full time job posting pics, music, and random thoughts to keep fans engaged. Whatever channel you decide to use to target your audience, don’t fully ignore the elephant in the room – Google Plus.
On the surface, I’m not a huge fan. Google Plus has a weird layout and is kind of a hybrid of Facebook (posts) and Twitter (hashtags). However, Google is a tech powerhouse and they are doing everything in their power to get it crackin. So here’s why you need to use it, whether you like it or not.
1. The Audience Reach is There – Google damn near forces you to have a Google+ account, even if you don’t realize it. If you use Gmail or YouTube, you most likely have one – regardless if you never touched it. While the ratio of active vs. inactive users may be off, the potential for a user to become active is high. Also, you can’t discount possible shifts in the social network world (remember MiGente and MySpace?)
2. Google has the Resources – “I thought I told you that we don’t stop…“. Google has the money and technology to continually promote and invest in Google+. If anyone can throw a game changer into social media, Google can.
3. If you help Google, they help you… with SEO – Last but not least, this is the most IMPORTANT reason for you to care about Google Plus. For those that don’t know, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. Basically, making your site rank higher in search results when someone searches a term related to you. For example, if I search “super funky dope beats” maybe IllTal.com will come up.
As far as Google+ is concerned, if someone searches for your name directly, a blurb will appear on the right side of the screen with logo, a description, and even recent events if you got it like that. Basically, if you devote your time and energy into promoting your Google+ page, Google will return the favor by displaying the extra content and being nice with search results.
So how do I get Google to help a brotha out? You’ll need to do some work…
1. After you create your Google+ Page, you should get your website verified. You’ll need to insert a small snippet of code that Google can track. Once you do, your web site gets added to the page with a nice “verified” check mark.
2. Post… alot… The more you post, the better. Google tracks activity on your page. From recent articles I’ve read, bloggers recommend at least 1 post per 3 days, but more doesn’t seem to hurt. If you fall below the threshold, they consider you inactive and won’t display your extra info within search results.
3. Google+ will try to up-sell you on Webmaster tools and Google Analytics. Do it – they are both free and only require small updates to your website. Plus, you’ll get tools to ensure your site is being indexed properly and insight into your traffic.
4. Getting follower is probably the hardest part of the game. You’ll need to convince people why they should add your Google+ page, even though they are already following you on Twitter and FB and who knows where else. Once you get a decent size of followers, you can go for the final step.
5. After you’ve done all the above, you need to reach out to Google to get “officially verified”. This is the final step that will pretty much guarantee you appear in search results. There are still some unknowns to this process… You have to manually send a request to Google and they either approve or deny you. From what I’ve read, your approval depends on the number of followers you have. I’ve heard as high as 1,000 or as low as 100. There is no set criteria, so once you feel “legit” send the request. You can also re-submit later on if you get denied.