Focus on: Google+

Charlotte Beckett, head of digital at The Good Agency, looks at how charities can use Google+ to their advantage

Google+: Highly tailored content
Google+: Highly tailored content

Charlotte BeckettLike many people, you might still be on the fence about Google+. Is it really worth adding a whole new network to your social media strategy? The difficulty in assessing Google+ is that everyone with a Gmail account also has a G+ account, so it is hard to judge how many people actually use it. That said, here are three reasons to do so.

- Content marketing. Google+ showcases video and images, embedding them neatly into content boxes on a page. If you look at the What's Hot section, you'll see it's almost entirely dominated by visuals. Users typically share images more than status updates. Using this with the Circles function, where users can segment audiences, is a great way to give people tailored content and have highly relevant conversations with small groups. Oxfam GB's page is a great example of this.

- Communities. These are Google's version of groups or forums, where users come together over a common interest. Anyone can set one up, and they are a great way to develop existing relationships with your donors. As an example, the Case Foundation, a US charity, has set up a Social Media For Social Good community with individuals and other organisations as members.

- Hangouts. Possibly the best feature of Google+, and possibly unique to it, Hangouts allow users to take part in video chats with up to 14 other participants. Often "invite only", these are a great way to engage with key influencers from afar. Cadbury, for example, uses them for product launches, Q&As and focus groups.

When it comes to boosting awareness of and support for your organisation, social signals play an important part. The more active you are on Google+, the more likely your website will get a +1, Google's version of a Facebook 'like'.

Having a Google+ profile will also improve your search engine rankings, because everything you post is indexed publicly by Google almost immediately.

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