How Nonprofits Can Take Advantage Of Google+

How Nonprofits Can Take Advantage Of Google+

When it comes to social media marketing, Twitter, Facebook, and visually focused social networks Google+ might one of the most under-rated marketing platforms out there. This is perhaps because there are so many different ways to connect, communicate, and interact on the service – the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. But the social proof of being popular on Google+ makes it worth the effort – especially for a nonprofit.

The Google+ Suite Of Tools

In addition to the standard capabilities for your brand to share content, links, images, and post status updates, there are some unique tools available with Google+ that can be particularly useful for charities and other nonprofits. For instance, Hangouts let you chat with your customers in real time, live on webcam – perfect for volunteer training, community brainstorming, and showing off your hard work. Google Events allow for a direct connection to their Calendars, and it is super easy for users to sign up for your mailing list (especially since they are already logged into their Gmail accounts if they are interacting with your company on Google+ to begin with).

Easy Connections Using Google+

Chances are, you already have a Google account for your nonprofit that you use in some way, shape, or form – Google’s myriad business services are downright ubiquitous. You probably have a gmail account, a business listing in Google Places, or you use Google Drive to create and store documents. And chances are your target audience does as well, so there’s no need for them to sign up for yet another social network in order to interact with you – the low barrier to entry increases the likelihood of engagement.

Simplify Your Content Sharing Process

Another one of the benefits of using Google+ is the ability to easily disseminate content across the various Google platforms – and beyond, if you choose to link your other social media outlets with your Google presence. This may seem like a minor and even unnecessary detail, but the less time you have spend on basic promotional activities, the more time you and your team can devote to coming up with new concepts and ideas.

The Myriad Benefits Of Using Google+

At the end of the day, social media marketing is all about self promotion – whether you are working for a nonprofit or any other type of company. Google+ can allow you to effectively create a cohesive central content hub that you can post to any time of the day (and studies have shown there is really no ideal time to post on the platform – users connect with Google throughout the day and night. In addition, unlike other social networks, Google+ is all about driving traffic to your website instead of keeping users on their own site, and there could be SEO benefits to using it as well – Google may reward companies that actively use their services.

 Real World Connections Are The Focus

Unlike many other social media sites, Google+ is likely to be linked to your real name, your nonprofit or company’s name, and your brand’s and online presence in a unique way – which means it can strengthen your business contacts in a powerful way.

It is statistically likely that many of your current fans and prospective audience members have Google accounts that they actively use, since after all, anyone who has a Gmail or any other kind of a Google account automatically is on Google+, regardless of whether they use it. Therefore, it can be an easy way to build your connection with your existing audience and develop new leaders.

Getting The Most Out Of Google+

Like any other social network, successfully using Google+ requires a thorough understanding of the platform. There are plenty of resources available – both from Google itself (they have an excellent support community) and from third party sites that offer tips and tricks specifically tailored to the nonprofit realm.

Overall, Google+ can be an excellent way for nonprofits to amplify their mission, and it lacks the amount of “noise” that can be found on more popular networks. Google+ is what you (and every user) makes of it – so make the most of it!

 

5 Things Small Businesses Can do Everyday to Crush it on Google+

5 Things Small Businesses Can do Everyday to Crush it on Google+

Google owns the worlds biggest search engine, so it only makes sense that being active on their social network will help your articles rank higher and be seen more in searches. If you aren’t using your Google+ page, your business is leaving some opportunities (and money) on the table!

I’ve highlighted 5 simple tasks that you can do daily to ensure your content and brand’s reach is maximized. None of these take large budgets or a big staff, but they do take dedication and commitment to building your community across your circles.

I hope you find the tasks below to be a valuable addition to your Google+ strategy. For more Google+ tips, you can download our free Google+ chapter from the ModMark Book, Get Social – The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide For Social Good: Google+ Chapter

5 Daily tasks to optimize your reach on Google+

  1. Respond to all comments and notifications

Start your morning by going through all of the comments and notifications from the previous day. You’re responsible for facilitating the conversation on your page, and encouraging people to engage with your brand. Your brand wants to be seen as responsive, so you should design your page to be the hub for discussion! Follow up their comments with questions and work to find the information to help your followers and establish yourself as an influencer in the industry.

  1. Share engaging content

Post content that encourages your community to comment, share and +1. You want your posts to be informative, educational, entertaining and something that visually catches your circle’s eyes when they are scrolling their feed.

  1. Share 2 – 3 posts from your connections/ influencers

In addition to sharing your own content, share great content from your connections. You want to establish your Google+ page as a go-to destination for your community to get up-to-date news for your industry and the top tips and best practices to succeed.

By sharing out other influencers content, you are building your relationship with them online. Ideally, they will also share your best content with their community, helping it spread further.

  1. Comment on 5 – 6 other posts

You not only want to share content, you want to engage with it. Find the people on Google+ who are discussing similar topics and are involved in the industry to connect with. Click on the Explore tab to find the trending hashtags and get involved with one or two of the most popular conversations of the day.

  1. Network with new groups/influencers

Under the Home drop down option on your Google+ page, click the Communities section. Once there, you can find groups specific to your industry to join. Instead of joining 10 groups and being minimally involved, pick out 2 – 3 very active groups and plan to actively join the conversation in these.

You can search for different groups on the communities page. Before simply clicking join without knowing anything about the group, do a quick assessment and see if it fits with your brand’s goals.

What to look for in a group

  1. The number of active members and posts will let you know not only how popular the group is but if the members are consistently contributing content
  2. Next, I click into the group and check for when the last post was posted. Some will say 8:30 that morning, others the last post won’t have been for over three months. If this is the case you don’t want to plan to join a group that hasn’t posted for three months because there won’t be that strong community to connect with.
  3. Read through the About the Community section. Here is where they have the rules and layout of the group. This will only further confirm this is a type of group you want to be involved in.
  4. Finally scan the feed and different sections in the group. Read through the posts and see what people are talking about and how they are sharing their content. Check for comments, shares and plus ones (+1), which will tell you if you do decide to engage with this group you will see good activity on your posts.

These 5 simple tasks won’t overwhelm your day. They take less than 30 minutes every morning and will help launch your Google+page off to a strong start. Keep blogging and creating great content to share out – and use your Google+s page and community to get your content seen by more people.

I want to end this by putting out a 30 day challenge to each small business reading this. Together let’s challenge ourselves to complete the 5 tasks above every day for 30 days. Get in the conversation, join relevant groups and build relationships through the great content you are posting and sharing out. Track your websites analytics and continue to adjust your strategy accordingly. Tweet us at @modmarkgroup and let us know how the 30 days drives traffic to your organization!

For more pro tips on how to crush it on Google+, be sure to download our free Google+ chapter from the ModMark Book, Get Social – The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide For Social Good: Google+ Chapter

Support CircleCount when Shopping on Amazon

Offering free features can get expensive and we are always looking for new ways to let you support us and keep the free features free.

Either by offering special services (like our business services or the coming premium services) or by a way which doesn’t mean any loss of money for you (like described here).

cc-amazon (1)

The next time you want to buy something on Amazon, you can open at first our Amazon page and click on the button for your country. That’s it!

You will have to pay exactly the same price at Amazon and we will get a few cents for each product. A win-win situation.

Thanks a lot for every click!

The Best Time To Post On Google+

A recurring topic among our social media circles revolves around when are the “best times” to post on a given network. When it comes to the “best time” to post on Google+, there are many factors to consider in order to find the “best time” for your posts.

Here is our infographic showing that there is no general “best time” to post:

best-time-to-share-a-post-on-google-plus-infographic

The single images in this animation have been created in the dashboard of CircleCount for different users. You can get your specific best time analysis for free here.

Now let’s check the factors for the different “best times”.

 

Your Audience/Follower’s Time Zone

Depending on the language you use to write your posts, your audience may be mainly concentrated in a specific region or geographical area, so it is important to consider your audience’s time zone(s) when you post. Whether you live in the region or not, you will want to choose a time that makes sense for your target audience.

 

Your Time Zone

If you are expecting people to comment on your posts, you should be available to reply, so it is important to consider your own time zone as well. While there are tools that you can use to schedule posts for specific times (there are great tools for that), your followers will soon stop commenting on your posts when they recognize that they are participating in a one-way discussion.

You have probably seen infographics telling you that the best time to post on Google+ is 9-11am EDT, but if you are located in Australia and would rather be asleep at 2:00 in the morning, then this might not be the best time for you to respond!

 

Your Topic

Depending upon your topic, your audience will be more or less likely to engage with your post depending upon where they are (work/home) or what they are doing at that time (working/eating/relaxing). For example, a blog post about the latest trends in social media might perform better when your targeted audience is at the office, while a Lady Gaga music share might get more interest after hours when your audience is at home drinking a glass of wine.

 

Your Goal

People are on Google+ for various reasons and depending upon the goal of your post, timing may or may not matter. For example, if your goal for a photo post is to get lots of plusones, choosing a great photo is much more important than what time you post; however, if you are hoping for an interesting, indepth discussion about your latest blog post, your audience will need to be in the right frame of mind and have time to both read and comment on your post, and you should have the time to respond.

 

Conclusion

The main point is: there can’t be just one “best time” that works for all people or even all posts. Rather than relying on an infographic to tell you when to post, figure out what makes sense for you keeping in mind the points above and make changes as necessary until you find your “best times” to post. You may also want to experiment with “Time Zone Reshares” and reshare your post at a different time to reach a different or a new audience.

Check your Google+ stream to get a feel for what is working for others and use the dashboard on CircleCount to learn more about your audience. Did we mention it is free?

The CircleCount Shop (shirts, mugs, flip flops and more)

We are proud to present the new CircleCount Shop, where you will be able to buy some great shirts, mugs, flip flops and more…

CircleCount Shop

They are all designed by +Rick Lutz our fantastic star designer. So a big thank you to Rick as well.

With every item to buy you support CircleCount with 1-3$, which we really hope is ok for you guys.

We have started with a .com and .de shop, which you can reach under the following URLs:

Both shops are in English and you can find the same articles in both shops, but you can save some shipping costs by selecting the one or the other (for example the .com for USA and .de for Europe).

CircleCount-T-Shirt

We are looking forward to see your photos with CircleCount! ;)

Average growth of the follower numbers

Yesterday we saw a decrease in the follower number of the most Google+ profiles. Here is a post by +Markos Giannopoulos who posted as one of the first about this change.

It looks like Google+ made a Spring Cleaning and a lot of spam-profiles / bots have been removed. Google+ is doing that regularly, but this time the loss was higher than in the past.

We have created a new page showing the Average Follower Growth on Google+ for every day. To calculate this number we are checking all profiles with more than 5,000 followers and their daily change in the follower number. Right now the chart looks like that:

google plus average follower growth per day - CircleCount

We can clearly see the Spring Cleaning of yesterday. The average growth is updated every hour, so that we will see in the coming days probably the average growth getting back to 0.1 – 0.2 %.

It is real uncommon to see people being happy about less followers, in that case we can absolutely understand this feeling, since we all “lost” bots in the follower lists.

Have you also seen a drop in your follower number?
You can check your profile here.

CircleCount parle français!

Yann FageolToday we are launching CircleCount.com in French! You can find the French pages at http://fr.circlecount.com/
CircleCount is now available in 9 languages!

With the great help of Yann Fageol our French visitors will be able to browse through the pages of CircleCount.com in their own language.

We want to thank Yann for the whole work! He is self employed as a Google+ trainer and consultant at witseo.fr and running the Google+ community Aide Google+ pour tous Community.
We are very happy to have such a good partner in France!

Animated Screenshots

Google+ allows us to upload animated gifs, you have probably seen a lot of them.
These gifs can be used for fun or to create visual how-tos. A great way to show a new feature or explain something you just found out with just one (animated) image.

LICEcap is a free tool (under GPL licence) to capture your screen and create an animated gif. We want to describe here the few steps you need to do to get your own animation.

  • Download it from here and install it. There is a version for Windows and for OSX.
  • After the installation you can start LICEcap and create your first animated screencapture. LICEcap is starting as a transparent tool. Move the visible border of LICEcap over the section of your desktop you want to capture.
  • Click on “Record”, set the options (where to save the result, capture the mouse and/or the clicks or not) and click on “Save”.
  • LICEcap will start capturing your screen 3 seconds after you click on “Save” so that you have time to move your mouse to its starting position.
  • When you are finished, you can click on “Stop” or hit ctrl+alt+P so that you don’t need to move the mouse to the button (what would be captured).

Check out our demo:

licecap_demo

Open the folder you have defined to put the gif. Drag&Drop the gif into a new tab of Chrome. This is how the gif will look like when you post it on Google+. If you are not satisfied with the result, create a new gif.
Creating it takes only as long as your animation will be!

The Year 2013 Infographic

On the 29th of December 2013 we have offered you a personalized infographic with a summary of your year on Google+.

A few hours later we have been overwhelmed with your feedback. Probably you liked it ;)

circlecount-year-2013-infographic-statisticYou can find this chart showing always the current data here.
As you can see in the chart we had a peak on Sunday evening (German time) only 12 hours after the launch. We have generated around 4 infographics per minute. This is a huge number for our small server, which has done a great job.

Almost 4,000 people have logged in on CircleCount on this Sunday with more than 2,000 completely new users on CircleCount:

circlecount-year-2013-insightsThese are huge numbers and will show some interesting peaks in our page showing the Key Performance Indicators of CircleCount.

The only problem was that we ran out of API calls, since the Google+ API calls have a daily limit. Fortunately Vic Gundotra jumped in and saved the situation:

circlecount-vic-gundotra-api-calls-year-2013

 

One of the reasons we love Google+: The Google+ Team is listening, even on Sundays!
Right now more than 5,500 infographics have been created and the number is still growing.

Now, after you have read about the theory, here is one of these infographics:

circlecount-my-year-2013

You can still create your personal Year 2013 Infographic here.
Let’s see if we can get a new peak in the first chart ;)

 

 

 

Your Google+ Elements

A few days ago we have launched a new page called “The Google+ Elements”.
Here you can see the most followed people who fit to a chemical element.

The Google+ Elements

+Mz Maau and +Geoff Dennehy mentioned that such a periodic table would be even more interesting with people only from the own circles. A great idea!
Today we are giving you the ability to put the people from your circles on a periodic table.
Short How-To: open this page, that’s it!

If you are not logged in on CircleCount you will see the Sign In button of Google+. After a click on this button you can authenticate who you are and login on CircleCount.
You don’t need to create any account on CircleCount or remember a new password.

google-plus-sign-in

On the page with your elements there is a button to reload the people from your circles. With this button you can not only update your circles but you can also choose which circles should be used for the periodic table. Just click on “Edit list” (or “Liste bearbeiten” like in the screenshot) and choose your circles.

An important privacy note: we won’t get any information about specific circles (for example their name or who is in one specific circle). We are getting through the Google+ API only a list of persons/pages that are included in one of the chosen circles. That’s absolutely enough for this feature and a great decision by Google+ to protect (y)our privacy.

google-plus-sign-in-circle-selection

After you have chosen your circles, we will check the persons/pages and put them on the periodic table on the place they belong to.

your-elements-of-google-plus-on-circlecount

Feel free to make a screenshot and share it with your followers. A few of them will be probably on the screenshot ;)