Exploring Google+, To Infinity And Beyond

In the past, following these Twitter accounts would have made you a bit of space nerd, but now, with the Mars Curiosity Rover capturing the imagination of people all around the world, it seems that everyone has a vague interest in space exploration.

I’m so embarrassed, my face is all red.I know, I know, you can’t tell.Trust me, I’m a mortified planet right now. #badhost

— The Surface of Mars (@surfaceofmars) August 6, 2012

I don’t think I’m directly in @marscuriosity‘s path anymore. And the best part: I think I might even be out of laser range! 🙂

— N165 aka Coronation (@N165Mars) August 22, 2012

Hence the success of Fraser Cain and his blog Universe Today. He managed to take his website’s monthly viewership from 0 to 3 million in just a few months. What’s more interesting about his story, which was first reported by Search Engine Watch, is that he also managed to build a following of 10,000 engaged fans on Google+, a social network which most people believe is about as populated as the surface of Mars.

So, how did Fraser Cain do it?

Facebook can feel restrictive to marketers and brands as it limits engagement to sharing photos or videos. Google+ gives you the entire Google arsenal of interactive features, from hangouts, to highly powerful event managing tools.

Cain made use of the hangouts feature to host a virtual star party by hooking up a telescope to a camera, he then gave users a tour of the night sky and allowed people to make requests for what they wanted to see. This content was then pushed to YouTube, where it has gained over 40,000 hits at the time of writing.

He also used the circles feature to build a network of engaged individuals who were actively seeking more information about Science. These circles provide a community-like atmosphere in which users can interact about a common interest.

His success lies in 2 things – embracing his niche area of expertise, and making it accessible to everyone. And then looking at what Google+ had to offer and running with it.

How can you apply this to your marketing strategy?

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. Many people dismissed Google+ because they couldn’t see an active audience, but if you find a way to do something incredible and tell people about it, people will flock to the site.
  • Explore. Like the Curiosity Rover, sometimes you just need to take a good look around. Google+ isn’t just Google’s version of Facebook with Twitter style updates, so make sure you’re well acquainted with the whole package. Google+ is packed with features – be sure to check out Google events – and they’re all incredibly flexible. Find an innovative way to bring together like-minded people, and you’ll be on to a winner.
  • People love to meet other people with similar interests, Google+ offers you the opportunity to introduce them to each other in a way that Facebook and Twitter can’t. It’s community engagement at its best, so don’t shy away from the party.