smtoolbox

How effectively do you use Google+? CircleCount is on a mission to help you better understand Google+ and improve your performance on the network. This week in the Social Media Toolbox we take a look at why you should be using Google+ and how CircleCount can help you use the platform more effectively.  

Why Google+?

Despite a tentative start Google+ is growing in importance as a social platform. At the end of October 2013 Google reported there were 300 million monthly active “in-stream” users. These are people that see or visit the Google+ content stream. 

Marketers and SEO agencies have found that Google+ helps improve SEO results. Google+ posts are indexed by Google very quickly and they are treated like any other web page; hence the posts gain page rank, give page rank and appear in search results.

Content creators understand the importance of Google+ in terms of authorship and authority building. Google+ is the backbone of the Google eco-system, which is seen most clearly through Google authorship, wherein Google+ validates your profile and helps you gain authority. Authorship also places your Google+ profile picture next to your posts in search results.

Those trying to build communities are finding success with Google+ Communities and increasing interaction through plus ones, sharing, comments and Google Hangouts. According to CircleCount, there are now over 200,000 Google+ communities.

As a consequence, Google+ is growing in importance as a social platform. The challenge is to make sure you are using it effectively.

How CircleCount Can Help You

circlecountCircleCount is a free tool that helps you understand Google+ and provides you with extensive statistics on your performance and influence.

Circles are one of the key features of Google+. You can create circles and include people in your circles to follow them. However, you can only have a maximum of 5,000 in your circles even though you may be followed by, say, a million people. CircleCount.com tracks these Google+ circles.

CircleCount shows you the most active, most followed and most influential people on Google+ for pre-defined categories. These tend to be the people with really large followings, and I personally think it would be more useful if you could search for influencers in more specific topic areas. However,  you can filter by region, which helps narrow your search. 

CircleCount provides a wide range of extensive Google+ statistics, including the highest ranking profiles, pages and communities on Google+. It also shows the posts that are the most reshared and which receive the most plus ones. However, for me the real benefit is in the personal data and insights that it provides. You can add your Google+ profile (using the URL of your Google+ profile or your custom Google+ URL) and CircleCount will track the circles you are included in. It will then provide you with detailed information about the following:

  • Your profile and followers

  • The performance of your posts

  • Your engagement and interaction

Your profile and followers

CircleCount provides you with a detailed overview of your profile, including a chart that maps the growth in your followers. I suggest you start with the Dashboard, which gives you your ranking in your local country and globally.

There are also a range of useful profile statistics about your followers, sharers and communities. You can also now get statistics for your Google+ pages. One of the many features is ‘Your Follower Map,’ which provides you with a nice heatmap of where your followers are located. Mine is shown below.

circlecount map

Performance of your posts

CircleCount helps you assess the performance of your posts and your influence on Google+. It does this by tracking your posts and the activity they generate, such as comments, plus ones and reshares.

I like the grid report it provides, which gives you a clear visual picture of the performance of your posts (see below). The red bar shows no activity, such as no plus ones, no comments, etc. You can easily re-sort the table by column for a more detailed analysis.

circlecount activity

Engagement and interaction

CircleCount shows who has shared circles that include you, who is following you, and who is sharing your posts. This enables you to reach out to people that already like and share your content.

CircleCount also provides useful charts showing when people engage with your posts. By reviewing these charts you can schedule your posts at a time when you are likely to gain more engagement.

circlecount engagement

How well did you use Google+ in 2013?

CircleCount introduced a nice new feature for the new year, which is your own profile infographic called “Your 2013." Click this option and you will get a complete summary of your activity in 2013, including:

  • how many public posts you made
  • how many plus ones they received
  • how many reshares they received
  • how your followers grew over the year

I suggest you start here, review your CircleCount infographic and then consider how effectively you used Google+ last year. If, like me, you need to be doing more, then CircleCount is a great tool to help you.

Column logo by Marie Otskua