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Three Surprising Ways Google+ Makes Life Science Content Marketing Easier

February 11, 2014

If you have a content marketing strategy and have done your research, you may have already discovered something about Google+. The lights are on but not many of your customers are home (at the moment).

Google+ users have a reputation as early adopters who share a passion for a particular topic (besides Google). Based on that, I searched Google+ for a few terms common to the life sciences to see how many communities there are and how many people are in them.

Table 1 shows the search term, the number of communities in the results, and the number of members in the largest community for that term.

Table 1. Life Science Communities in Google+

 Google+ Search Term  Number of Communities  Largest Membership
Mass spectrometry  3  35
Spectroscopy  3  51
Chromatography  3  10
Genomics  2  5
Proteomics  2  17
Clinical trials  2  169

So why bother with Google+, when, for the typical life science company sharing identical content on Facebook and Google+, "Likes" outnumber "+1's" by 10 to 100 fold?

There's no shortage of marketing experts who will tell you that Google+ is the next big thing. And it very well could be. Because Google "owns the river," as Guy Kawasaki says, they can probably make that happen.1

But here's the good news for content marketers right now. It doesn't matter.

Google+ isn't only for sharing content

The advantage it offers for marketers in the life sciences (or any industry) is making it easier to produce content.

Wouldn't that be nice for a change? It can help your content marketing strategy even if only a few people show up to the party.

1. Hangout with your friends

Google Hangouts On Air let you host a video chat with up to 10 participants (15 for business accounts). There is no limit to the number of people who can watch the live event and submit questions online. It will automatically record the event and save it to YouTube. Now we're getting somewhere! According to Social Media Today, YouTube is the second-most-popular search engine in the world. Here are some ideas to get you started with Hangouts On Air:

  • Gather a panel of experts and record a roundtable discussion on industry trends
  • Invite questions from your Facebook audience (or other social media channel that has a larger following). Host a video hangout of your internal experts to answer those. Post the video on YouTube and embed it on your website
  • Record an application specialist showing how to improve results in a one-person hangout
  • Create a series of videos covering routine maintenance, each focused on a narrow aspect of your instrument

To get a feel for what a Hangout On Air looks like, take a look at this one from HP.

For the price of a web camera (or a few), Hangouts On Air make the entire process of creating relevant, low-cost video content simple. Then all you have to do is broadcast the link to your audience via email, your social media properties, and any other channel you use to connect with your audience.

2. Build a blog
In the long run, hosting your own blog is a safer bet as you "own the land you build on." But if you think a blog will work as part of your strategy, Google+ offers a way to quickly see if you can build momentum and generate the results you are looking for.
If you've been thinking about building a blog, Google+ makes that idea less intimidating.

Because posts can be as long as you want and the ability to comment is built in, a Google+ page could be your company blog. Save yourself the hassle of getting the IT folks to set up WordPress and then having to find developers and designers to build a template that works for you.

  • Each post has its own URL
  • Formatting with bold for titles and italics for subheads makes posts more attractive
  • Your experts of few words won't feel daunted by the task of filling a page
  • Link to it or embed the post directly on your website
  • Promote your posts on Twitter with a direct link

Start the easiest blog you could ever imagine and take advantage of the fact that original content on Google+ is ranked like any other page on the Web. Don't forget to include pictures with your posts to increase engagement.

3. Circle up the experts and share them
This tactic does depend on finding a few of the right people on Google+. You can share people as well as content. It works because of a concept called circles.

Circles are the key differentiator between Google+ and other social media platforms. They let you easily decide what to share and with whom.

You can put people in as many circles as you like. Put them in circles based on what type of content you might share with them. For example, circles could indicate their interests or their relationship to your company (Customer, vendor, employee, thought leader, etc). Each person can be a member of more than one circle, eg, "Prospect" and "Flow Cytometry."

Now take it one step further to help your customers.

Circles allow you to provide them with a source of rich content from other authorities in your field. Google+ users include experts (and non-experts) interested in making new connections and establishing themselves as authorities on a given topic.

Are there some thought leaders in your area of interest?

  • Create a circle containing those experts
  • Share that circle with your followers (you are sharing a pre-built, segmented list of experts)
  • Encourage your followers to share it, too

This is a great way to provide a valuable resource to your customers and build an audience at the same time.

Learn from others

You shouldn't feel like you have to figure this out by yourself. There are many resources on the web to help you out. For some examples of B2B technology companies using Google+ well, check out this post at TopRank Blog.

Why not learn from the inside? There are also several Google+ communities dedicated to helping people with Google+. Denis Labelle is curating a master list of Google+ tips from Rick Eliason as he publishes them.

Could Google+ be right for your business?

That can only be answered once you have a content marketing strategy in place.

Without a strategy in place, you won't know whether you are missing a valuable opportunity or wasting your time on one more activity that won't provide a return on your investment.

Nearly half of all B2B content marketers are working without a strategy. Yet most of them say they can't produce enough content.2Life Science marketers are no exception.3 Without a strategy, how can they know what they need to produce?

 References:

  1. Kawasaki G. What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing; 2013.
  2. Content Marketing Institute. B2B content marketing 2014. Benchmarks, budgets, and trends—North America. 2014. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/B2B_Research_2014_CMI.pdf. Accessed February 16, 2014.
  3. Conner C. Life science content marketing—survey results. 2014. http://go.words2wow.com/blog/life-science-content-marketing-survey-results. Accessed February 16, 2014.

Photo credit
Jeremy Levine Design. Eagle Rock, CA. www.jeremylevine.com.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremylevinedesign/3640920662/in/photostream/.

SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
 
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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