Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SMToolbox: Grow Your Google Plus Engagement with Steady Demand


smtoolbox
Data is great, but insights that allow you to improve your performance are much more valuable. In my view, successful tools have to give you more than simple data. This week in SMToolbox, we review Steady Demand Pro, a good example of a tool that goes beyond data monitoring to provide practical insights and constant prompts to help you improve your performance on Google Plus.
Why Google Plus Matters
Google Plus is far more than a social network. It is part of a much bigger ecosystem that involves search, authorship and authority. There is already clear evidence that Google Plus will improve your SEO. These benefits are driving an increase in Google Plus users, as there are now over 300m active users. The increasing adoption of Google Plus creates a virtuous circle: as the network becomes more valuable, the more people use it, and the more people use it, the more valuable it becomes. 
However, Google Plus has never been the easiest of platforms, and it took me some time to get my head around things. Hence, I was very keen this week to review Steady Demand Pro, which is a tool designed to make it easy to manage one's Google Plus page. Last week, Steady Demand founder and serial entrepreneur Ben Fisher gave me a tour of the new tool.
Ben and the team wanted to develop a tool that is easy to use and which provides practical insights to help people improve their performance on Google Plus. I am pleased to say they have succeeded on both counts, as Steady Demand Pro takes the management of Google Plus pages to a new level.
Monitoring Your Google Plus Page
Steady Demand Pro provides all the the monitoring data you would expect from a social analytics tool. When you first load your profile, the tool automatically pulls in the last year's worth of posts. I have briefly outlined below some examples of the monitoring data provided by the tool: monitoring engagement by post type, engagement by time posted and top sharers. You can also review this data both for your own page or your competitors' pages.
Understanding the tabs is important. Connections relate to a page level, whereas Engagement is at the post level. This helps you see what posts caused a rise (or fall) in connections or engagement. Below is the monitoring report for your Google Plus Page’s engagement by post type.
engagement_post_type.jpg
You can see quickly how well your different post types are performing and the relative proportion of plus ones, shares and comments. What Steady Demand also does is provide useful information such as the signal to post ratio. In this case, you can see that Photos have a much higher signal to post ratio than Articles. 
Below is the monitoring report for engagement by time period.
engagement_time.jpg
This report clearly shows you the peak time periods for engagement and the top 5 hours. It also provides you with a complete table for each hour of the day and the signal to post ratio. The audience for the Google page here is on the west coast of the US, whereas I am in London; hence you can see that the highest post to signal rate is 3am UK time.
Below is a monitoring report highlighting the top sharers of your posts.top_sharers.jpg
The tool allows you to report on comparative time periods. Thus you can compare this month to last month, but also compare the last three months to the previous three months. All reports are available as HTML and as PDFs, so it makes reporting on Google Plus page a breeze. You can also share reports by providing read-only access via email to your clients or others on your team.  
Actionable Insights To Improve Your Performance
The real aim of the Steady Demand team is to ensure you are doing well and making the most of your Google Plus page. This is where Steady Demand Pro excels as a tool. It reviews your activity, then recommends various ways you can improve your performance.
The team at Steady Demand have developed a model of a perfect Google Plus post. This has three factors: the length of a post, the use of hashtags, and the use of mentions. Steady Demand’s research has found that you get more engagement on Google Plus if you include all three of these elements in a post.
Steady Demand Pro mechanically assesses each of your posts for these elements and gives each post a score from 0 to 3. To prove the improved performance of a perfect post is not just a hunch or supposition; Steady Demand provide a live feed of all the posts for your Page, showing the average number of signals per post and their mechanical score. See the example below.
score_relationship.jpg
Thus you can see clearly that in this case, perfect posts gain twice as many signals as a post without any of the three elements.
Steady Demand Pro analyses all of your posts for a specified time period and provides you with a useful summary, as shown below. The great thing about Google Plus is that you have a few days to go back and edit your posts, so you can try to improve them using the insights from Steady Demand Pro.
score.jpg
One of the features I like about Steady Demand Pro is the way it provides you with alerts. For example, if you have low engagement on a post it will alert you and recommend some changes you can try to improve engagement.
Steady Demand Pro also alerts you about questions you are asked on Google Plus. Sometimes I can get lost in Google Plus. I may see a notification, but if I don’t deal with it immediately it disappears and I don’t always remember to find it again. Thus I can miss things and forget to reply to people. The great thing about Steady Demand Pro is the reminders. There is a nicely named ‘lonely comments’ feature: if there is a comment on the thread that has not been responded to, it will remind you with an alert. It will also prompt and encourage you if you have not posted in the last 72 hours.
Free Steady Demand Audit
Steady Demand is keen to give back to the community and provides a free audit tool. You can type in your Google Plus page address and the audit tool will run checks on your page; it will also check if you have a +1 button on your web page (in Pro this is a constant check; if your button disappears through a web update you will be notified automatically). The audit also reviews the quality of your recent posts against the three mechanical checks. Following these checks, Steady Demand provides you with a free audit report. 
Summary
If you are serious about improving the performance of your Google Plus page, then Steady Demand Pro is the tool for you. The key benefits from my perspective are ease of use, clear monitoring reports and actionable insights and recommendations.
The personal plan is $12 a month for two profiles, and the business plan is $24 a month for 5 profiles. The Steady Demand Pro personal plan is for small businesses that can’t afford an agency, while the business plan is ideal for agencies who want to manage up to 5 Google Plus pages.

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