As a new page owner, I’m documenting all my page posts, shares, +1s, and daily circle counts in a Google Doc. I track everything because I want to know what’s helpful to the circled.us page community — and what’s not. And it’s my goal to share everything that I’m learning.
Last week, one of my page posts got +220 shares, and +1′d over seventy-five times over the course of a few days, which increased my circle count by over 500 people this last weekend. And it’s continuing to get shares now.
This might not seem like a lot of shares to people who have been around in Google+ for a while, but I consider it a huge success for my “unknown” page. I’m very thankful for all the support and circle love this weekend. This was the first time, I’ve ever experienced anything “viral” within Google+. I’m grateful if just one person shares my content, but it’s really encouraging to get a lot of shares because it makes me feel like I’m providing content that the Google+ community finds useful.
So now I want to share with you (especially Google+ page admins) a look into who impacted this success – and a deep dive into my site analytics. I hope this data can serve as a little case study to help other page administrators with their own Google+ engagement efforts.
I’ve broken down this analysis into the following areas so you scan to whatever topic interests you most:
- The Anatomy of the Engaging Google+ Post
- Analysis of the Ripples (And Who’s Shares Are Responsible for this Success)
- How the Shares Increased My Circle Count By 70% and Doubled My Page +1s
- What Effect This Post Had on the Circled.Us Blog (With Screenshots of my Analytics)
- What This Experience Teaches Me About Writing Effective Google+ Posts
- Analysis Limitations
The Anatomy of the Engaging Google+ Post
First off, I’m not pretending to have the recipe on writing engaging posts in Google+. I’m just going to break-down the elements of this page post and why I think it was somewhat successful in the Google+ ecosystem. Here are the main features:
- I shared my entire blog post withing Google+ (and there is no need to visit my blog)
- The headline is ultra-specific and focused on helping the Google+ page community
- Post included my name in the byline to help make the post be more personal
- Post included a prominent picture to help the article “stick out” in the stream
Apart from trying to write useful content for the Google+ page community, I think a big part of the success of this article is that entire post is written within Google+. There is no need to visit my blog to read everything. The article is helping serve the Google+ community, and it made sense in this instance to keep all content on both the blog and in Google+. Sometimes I can’t share all content in Google+ due to a variety of pics and media in the blog post, so it requires people to click to my blog. However, those posts have not gained the shares or +1s this post had.
Another key feature is having a prominent picture attached to the article (which helps the article “pop out” in the Google+ stream). It would be interesting to experiment with different types of pictures to see how it impacts +1s and shares. For example, curious if a humorous image, photo, other media would make the post even more engaging. I’m curious if you’ve had any experience with what types of images you’ve noticed had more or less shares than others.
Please let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed something here — or just dead wrong here. I’m interested in getting your thoughts on what elements makes a post more likely to draw engagement.
Analysis of the Google+ Ripples on this Post (Referencing My Google+ Influencers)
This article would not have gained any success without all the sharing from key Google+ influencers. I think page admins should be studying their ripples and trying to thank everyone for sharing their content whenever possible. It’s obviously more difficult when you have hundreds of shares, but especially important when first starting out — and only getting a few shares here and there. I’m trying my best to message everyone who shared this post to thank them because I really appreciate it.
Here is a screenshot of the ripple effect taken a two days after the post.
I’d like to highlight (and thank) a few of the amazing people who contributed to the success of that article; including:
+Denis Labelle, +Ade Oshineye, +Laurence Hubbard, +Ricardo Francisco Prochnow, +Dmitry Shatohin, +Front Line Marketing, +Rebecca Sinclair, +Richard Cosgrove, +Ian Andrews, +The G+ Resource, +Jiri Richter, +Peter Munnerlyn, +Tsutomu Onoda, +William Wang, +Daniel Mitzlaff, +Roger Henry, +Erica Joy, +Rajesh Rajput, +Tim Moore, +Ryan Crowe, +Cynthia Yildirim, +Mari Thomas, +Tina Becci , +Janet Slack, +Kim Beasley
There are many other people that I’m thankful to, but wanted to definitely call-out those people listed above who made a substantial impact on the success of this article. Thank you again.
I’d also like to point out to page admins that Google+ is all about building relationships, and the moment people begin sharing and +1ing your content, you should be actively trying to thank them for their interest. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be able to grow. So make time in your schedule to show them thanks if possible.
How the Shares Increased My Circle Count By 70% and Doubled My Page +1s
On December 1, I had had been circled by 714 people/pages (with 17 page +1s). And by Sunday, December 4 my circle count increased to 1220 — and my page plus one count doubled to 34. All this mainly driven by one post that people found useful enough to share and +1.
Again, I know this might not sound like a lot to most people, but I’m extremely thankful for the support from all these active Google+ members. It’s shocking for me to see how one post can have such a dramatic effect on doubling my page’s plus one count – and increasing my circle count by 70%.
If I want to stay circled, I need to continue providing useful content, so my work doesn’t end here.
So now let’s dig into my site analytics . . .
What Effect This Post Had on The Circled.Us Blog
Circled.us is a new blog that I started a month ago to serve the Google+ community – and help introduce others to Google+. I don’t have a blog following, so the only traffic I get is mostly from people sharing my posts on social networks. Since I pasted the entire blog in Google+, I wasn’t sure what effect that would have on blog traffic. I linked to the original post in the footer of the Google+ update:
So here is the last few days of referral traffic going to that article . . .
As you can see, Facebook is the social network that drove the most amount of traffic to that blog article. It’s exciting for me to see that Google+ members shared the post in Facebook. What’s also interesting is that I received 113 visits directly to the article, which surprised me since I don’t have subscribers or much organic traffic.
Sure, I could have gotten a lot more Google+ traffic to my blog if I only included a snippet of text with a link, but that wasn’t my goal here. Often my blog articles (like this one) have pictures and/or other media so it’s easier for me just to share a link to the blog post. I think it’s healthy to provide some content entirely in Google+ because I think it drives more sharing and more +1s (which helps more exposure for your page anyway).
For all the Google+ shares and +1s you might consider this experiment a failure for delivering site traffic. And that would be true. But the purpose wasn’t to drive traffic to my blog — but simply provide value to my Google+ community. I hope that by continuing to provide useful content that I’ll continue to connect with more and more people who love talking about using Google+.
What This Experience Teaches Me About Writing Effective Google+ Posts
I’ve written about how to optimize Google+ posts, and this “viral” experience helps me understand even more how important it is to provide useful content to the Google+ community. It also makes me realize the importance of adding a relevant image along with the article to help it “stick out like a sore thumb” in the stream. I sure have a lot more to learn, and I promise to keep sharing what I’m learning to help you build better relationships in Google+.
Unfortunately, there are other factors that I can’t take into account on why the circled.us page got circled over 500 times in the last few days. For example, other circled.us articles may have been shared — or the page may have been included in some shared circles. I would argue that the main driver for all this activity is driven by that one article since the sharing brought exposure for the circled.us page that it never had before. Once Google+ page analytics gets introduced, I hope to have a better understanding of what and who is having the greatest influence in growing page circle counts.