I'm just going to be up front with all of you: Managing a page on Google+ is both an art and a skill that takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. It’s not about simply broadcasting a message and then going about your day as planned. No. Google+ page management is about engagement, finding those who appreciate your content and interacting with them regularly. People love following and interacting with other people and many times are willing to take a chance on a person just to see if they drum up some interesting content. Pages are not so lucky.
People have gained over the years a certain expectation of brands… And I can tell you as a page manager, it’s not a good one. This isn’t to discourage you from managing a page. It’s to prepare you for the environment you’re entering and to give a context as to why my “dos and don’ts” of page management consist of what they do. Just know that every engager you get as a page means that you have potentially changed one more mind about the authenticity and humanness of brands everywhere, but more importantly you have changed one more mind about your brand.
As I mentioned, people like to talk to other people more than they like to talk to brands. Therefore, make it very clear on a regular basis who is behind the brand. Most of the people who follow SEOWiSE are well aware that I am the one posting on behalf of the brand. In fact, many of the SEOWiSE followers have come from first interaction with me as a person and then have moved to interacting with the brand page. Be open with your audience who they are talking to. You’ll build trust faster and your openness will invite the audience in.
2. Do Listen, listen, listen.
Brands over the years have come to be known as broadcasters… A.K.A. brands are known to send out messages, not listen to them. The more listening you do (to potential customers and your biggest competitors) the more you’ll understand how to best send your own message. The first step to creating a message is understanding your audience. To understand your audience you must first listen.
3. Do engage every day.
You don’t have to share an original post every day (unless you’re in the blogging industry then you may want to consider it). But you should show a presence every day. If you don’t find a post you’d like to share, then comment on the posts of others and plus posts you find interesting that still fit into your brand’s objectives. Note: Always follow up on responses to your comments! Which leads me to…
4. Don’t drop a comment and dash. Create conversations.
The best way to humanize a brand is to stop broadcasting and start conversing. Sure, feel free to share your blog posts but make sure to stimulate conversation around them. When you don’t have a blogpost of your own to share, share posts of others or comment on their posts to have a discussion as the brand. If someone responds to your comments, respond back as you would with any regular conversation.
5. Do focus on individuals, not numbers.
As a brand people are going to expect you to be obsessed with follower counts, not the individual behind the follower. Show people that you care about your followers. In the NOD3x Community for example, John Dietrich makes it a point to recognize the new members every few weeks to make them each feel welcome and show appreciation for their interest in NOD3x. Show each person that to your brand they’re important, even if they are just one person.
6. Do engage in relevant communities
It’s amazing how much easier your audience is to find when you join relevant communities. But don’t just join the communities, participate in them. And I am not saying drop all of your posts into a community. Engage on other community posts first, get a feel for the community, and then begin sharing your community relevant content.
7. Don’t bash others.
Do as you like with your personal profile but do not get negative on your brand page. That’s exactly what people want you to do. If you’re dealing with a spammer then delete their comment and send them a private message as to why their comment was deleted. If you’re dealing with a negative Nancy I like to probe them publicly as to why they feel such negativity toward the post, ideas, or brand itself. They usually don’t have an answer for me (but always be prepared for one just in case). Sometimes having an intelligent conversation with someone who initially openly hates your brand (an upset customer, someone who just hates you for your brand name, someone who dislikes your marketing tactics) can end up not only converting that individual but is a fantastic trust builder for those others who see the conversation.
A great recent example of this is Hootsuite's use of negative feedback to make a hilarious video introducing their new User Interface. They took the format of Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segment and made an engaging video that showed both a sense of humor AND that they're listening to ALL forms of feedback.
8. Do help others.
I realize we’re all extremely busy but any time you or your brand can lend a helping hand to others, you’ll better solidify a relationship. SEOWiSE has worked numerous times with BIG FUN Education because we believe in what they do and what they stand for. Establishing relationships with nonprofits that align with your brand is a win-win-win: The nonprofit gets the help it needs, you feel good about what you're doing, and your brand gets more positive exposure.
9. Stop reading, start doing!
Stop reading this blogpost and get out there and try it! I can't tell you all the secrets because as with any communication, there are going to be differences for each and every brand. There are huge differences between the pages I manage, each requiring a slightly unique approach. So make mistakes… It’s okay! I went through, and still continue to go through a ton of trial and error to figure out what works for our brand and what doesn’t. People actually appreciate seeing my mistakes as long as I share with them what I’ve learned.
So stop reading, start doing!