Case Studies

Is ‘Google My Business’ good for business?

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Could you earn additional income of £12,000 to £15,000 (that is around) $15,000-$20,000 just by having a Google Business Page?

Here is a quick story from Paul Evans, who has roaring success in his first week.

And yes, we are being a little ‘sensationalist’ but I think you’ll see how important it could be for Local type businesses…

From Paul:

“I recently set up a business page for my barbershop, by the way it took over 3 weeks to get a Google code for verification. Anyway, Since verification, in the first week I gained at least 4 new customers. It might not seem a lot, but each guy on average has his haircut every 5 weeks. That’s roughly 10 visits a year per guy. Now you can do the math on possible income generated if we at the barbershop have done our job right.

I put in place a measuring device to see if any business would be generated by a G+ page and verification of that page. What I did was put my personal mobile number as the contact number on the business page. That is how I measured the 1st weeks impact of a page on Google plus. My personal number isn’t available or connected to my business in any way. Therefore every enquiry / booking via my mobile came from a Google search. Another point I should reveal is that I don’t have an actual website.

Finally, I love reading your posts and tips but would love it if some of you and your colleagues knowledge could be more applied to shop front businesses and not just the internet marketing sector.” The Barbers of Warwick

And now we have! Thanks Paul. Great story for the community.


Holiday Property Owners Go Social

By | Case Studies, Content Marketing | No Comments

Plus Your Business member Alan Egan is a seasoned vacation rental entrepreneur. His business  teaches holiday property owners to successfully promote their business using social media and content marketing. Alan was an early adopter of Google+ and encourages his customers to focus their activity on Google+ as their main social platform.

From his experience as a listings site owner and rental manager Alan had gained a detailed understanding of the vacation rental market.  He explained to me how changing technologies have impacted the sector.  In the early days properties were marketed through small ads in up market magazines, when the internet emerged web marketing became the norm, today video and social media have become the marketing tools of choice for savvy owners to attract a mobile generation.

But technology is just the medium, Alan’s business is also based on one very simple insight – people visit destinations not properties.  By creating content about the location of their properties not the property itself Alan’s customers are able to tell a much more attractive and compelling story than if they focused on the layout of their kitchen, the colour of the Jacuzzi or the size of the beds. An interesting by product of this approach is that many owners have rediscovered the attractions of and their enthusiasm for the location.

Alan Egan Case Study

The Social Media Marketing Journey

With his knowledge of how vacation rental marketing worked  Alan was quick to see the potential of social media marketing; he experimented with Twitter and Facebook with mixed success and also began using a content marketing approach on his website. He was an early and enthusiastic convert to Google Plus which he found was “by far the easiest platform for mini-blogging”. Another thing which really helped was discovering Martin Shervington’s Google Plus articles and videos.

“In the early days Martin’s videos were a Godsend – very clear. They are broken down into bite sized chunks. You can learn a bit at a time at your own pace. It was the main place where I learnt the ins and outs of Google Plus”.

He adds, “Plus Your Business is the only community for which I have notifications turned on”.

Teaching Property Owners to Do It Themselves

Alan realised that Google Plus with suitable guidance could transform the way property owners could market their businesses and this was something that could be taught. In February 2014 he launched a new online training package for property owners showing people the basics of Google Plus, giving access to a private community where they could ask their property marketing questions and share ideas with other owners. Customers are also shown how to create a social media schedule, where to find content, and for those who are more advanced how to syndicate content.

The results speak for themselves.

Alan produced a case study based on a cross section of 10 of his initial customers. After seven months they had 19,000+ followers and had received 2.5m+ views on their Google Pages alone but more importantly 9 out of 10 had seen big improvements in the search rankings.

After a full twelve months the 10 customers had added 10,000 more followers, averaging 2,875 followers each. In the previous 18 weeks alone the group had received 8.8 million views on Google Plus.

Now 9 out of 10 were appearing on the first page of Google, 8 of these in the top 5.

45% reported that bookings were up on last year and 27% reported bookings were up a lot.

Here is the full table of results:

Alan Egan Case Study2

Page views and search rankings after 12 months

Destination More Bookings

None of the property owners in this case study were experienced marketers which makes their results even more impressive and all continue to actively use social media and Google Plus as their main marketing activity. In addition owners are reducing their dependence on paid marketing. As they become more sophisticated about social media owners are using adding Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to complement their Google Plus activities.

Alan’s businesses have thrived by showing owners the secrets of being social and giving them the tools and framework to showcase their properties; in the process he has created a community where customers can learn and grow together.

Alan can be reached on [email protected] or via his businesses Rentmoreweeks, an online vacation rental magazine,  and  an online training solution for holiday property owners.  You can also find details of Alan’s holiday property here.

Case Study: Star Wars Tuesday

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Creating a trend that emerges into Google+’s trending topic most weeks is something that takes a little effort, but can be fun and bring a tribe together every week.

The background

I’ve written up the background on my blog before, so this post will cover different aspects, and give you some tips along the way!

A winner

Being transparent about this, the main success here was attaching a day of the week to a well existing ‘thing’ i.e. Star Wars.
As such, I must say that starting one of these from scratch and sustaining it is more impressive; we did this in the early days with several weekly tags, but the energy was not sustained for more than a few weeks.

The intent of this quick case study is simply to show you a few of the elements, and to sow the seed you may like to try it out for yourself too.

The business aspects

I saw Gary V answer a question re: owning a hashtag, and the fact is (as he says), you cannot own one.
As soon as it is created, it is free for all to use. You can, however, be the first to use one and tell that as a story.

If you sustain a weekly trend that has your business at the centre, or a community, then that may well be a very useful thing.

Why trending matters

When a trend if created, it is shown to people on Google+ in several places including when people are browsing on their mobile.

As such, in just one click people can enter the stream of the trending topic and engage on that content.
In other words, this is taking hashtags to another level!
(Amy Harrison, I included that bit just for you…)

Creating a Page specifically to support the trending tag

Here is the Star Wars Tuesday page here which has sporadic posting, but is now a lot prettier on the eye…

NOTE: I’ve been trying through Behance to contact Felipe to check it is ok to use the images, but to no avail.
So if you are reading this Felipe, please let me know if you are not ok with the image use in telling the story please!

[email protected]

And to this license:

Ok, back to it now…

Creating a notification circle

In order to get the trend off the ground in the early days, I asked people if they would like to opt in to a notification circle.
This works very well, and I think is an essential component.

Full instructions on that here.

Weekly posting

Last week I posted a gif from my profile, and then a video from the Star Wars Tuesday page within an hour.
As you can see below, the hashtag trended, which tends to encourage more people to hop on to the trend.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 3.29.56 PM

Sharing into Communities

I have experimented with posting into Star Wars communities and as long as the content is ‘good’ then the posts will tend to fly.
And what you find with Star Wars, just about anything is ‘good’ to a fan!

Seeding the thought

One lesser known tip is seeding the thought that it will be ‘Star Wars Tuesday’ the day before, or even on Hangout on Air interviews around the time.

Such things set up the idea in people’s minds that can then be reinforced with a reminder in a ‘morning post’, even without a full Star Wars post – but this will really depend on your personal network and how ready people are to ‘pew pew’…

All in all

For the full background on the story, the choice of the day, and the sheer effort for weeks to get it going, then check here!

But know as always, it is really all just a fun experiment around the things we love to talk about generally.
For me, when I do stand up there are a few Star Wars gags that tend to sneak on in, but that is another story…



How to put a village on the map!

By | Case Studies, Google My Business, Google Plus | No Comments


Whilst working from Brazil I decided to take the opportunity to work with the local business owners to get them ‘onto Google Maps’.

Some already had a Google Page created, some had been created for them (by Google) but they were not ‘claimed’ and others simply didn’t know how.

During three main stages, we worked together, and I kept notes and created process documents (me being a bit geeky like that).

The aim of this case study is to give you a guide for you to not only set up one business at a time, but to bring them together and support them telling the world their story as part of a neighborhood.

Some days I feel like this:


The three main stages covered during this process are:

  • Localize
  • Optimize
  • Socialize

Below is an overview, but if you click you will see a consultant’s resource for each area to help if you want to undertake this as a project in your area.


This, quite simply means getting their page created and claimed.

Here is a document with instructions. (able to be translated into a Local language)

If you are looking to undertake supporting e.g. 20+ businesses at a time, then you will need to gather this information. (spreadsheet)
But be warned, the easiest way will be for people to simply ‘do it themselves’ and add you as a manager; otherwise you will have to a) invite them as a manager, b) have the accept (some people are not that email savvy), c) transfer ownership from you to them.


Once people have a Google+ Page, you will want to take it a step further.

Full instructions here. (able to be translated into a Local language)

This includes ‘verifying’ their page, including office hours and information, linking to their website, having an attractive cover photos and profile picture.
It also informs people how to ‘make a few posts’ and how to add in a circle; and how to claim a custom URL.

The document I put together for this phase is here.
Note: there will be ongoing edits and additions.
It is a Google document instead of a PDF as it will allow you to switch languages more easily!


This phase primarily gives people access to ‘the right people’ to add in e.g. a local data set, and also instructs on the role of +ing other people’s content, commenting and even sharing relatable posts too.

Here is a link with full instructions (coming end November)

The creation of a ‘Neighborhood’ page – Surf Maresias

This enables the testing to happen when e.g. the data (a filtered circle of people from the main city nearby: Sao Paulo) was added in.
The selection was people with a follower count of 1000-1 million and active within 1 month.

From a selection of around 1200 profiles, it was filtered to active within the last month, ‘blueheads’ (i.e. no profile picture) were remove, and it became 420 people.

The aim of this page is to curate relevant content from the other pages.

You will find it building up over time here.


Creating a ‘Neighborhood’ in Google Map Maker

This was an expected next step that doesn’t really need the local businesses to get involved once they have a Page created.

Using Google Maps you can create a neighborhood map, and differentiate the types of local business by ‘layer’.
As you can see below, for instance, I have gathered ‘Restaurants’ in one layer, ‘Hotels and Pousadas’ in another, ‘Amenities’ in another.
The greatest thing here is how you can share a link with your team and enable them to add to the map too.

This will be added to as the other pages get verified i.e. on the map.

Asking people for reviews

As we move into the Socialize stage, I want to add a very interesting concept in this village/neighborhood.

In many businesses, in restaurants they give 10% of revenue from the shifts to the staff, which could create a positive feedback look.

When I asked a buddy called Antonio about it, he said “They are my partners”.

So, in this way, we could consider that the people there are invested in asking for reviews, and so they can have more people visit.

And what is the importance of reviews? More than any evidence they will give better Search results, we see they are important for ‘Social Proof’ i.e. people will choose your restaurant or hotel etc, over an other based on the rating given.
This will be interesting to watch/compare how the businesses approach gaining reviews – including, the idea of asking people in existing online communities e.g. their Facebook Page followers, for people to leave a review…

Want to know more about creating a thriving neighborhood? Well, get in touch and ask how we can help! 

Google Plus Marketing Case Study Teaser

By | Case Studies, Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO, Social SEO | No Comments

This post is a ‘teaser’ for a full report on the visitor levels for PYB related content, as we want to show you want can be achieved using content marketing and Google+

As you will see from the information below, this single blog post has had over 250,000 visitors in less than 15 months.
With an average time on the page of over 5 minutes, we can safely say that myself and PYB have already helped hundreds of thousands of people learn about Google+. Cool, huh?

So, this is how we did it…

  • Using Google+ for Social SEO – full article here.
  • Well targeted outcome as a desired Search position i.e. ‘What is Google Plus?’, with a back up of ‘What is Google+?’
  • Secondary benefit of ranking for ‘What is Google?’
  • Giving away content that people would have been willing to pay for!
  • Refreshing content when it gets outdated
  • Building community excitement around new releases within that blog post e.g. new videos
  • Consistent branding on images and expectations
  • Relationship building with existing authorities in that area e.g. Guy Kawasaki, and Vic Gundotra (who both shared it)
  • And generally providing one of the best solutions for newbies curious in learning Google+

Note: The post featured was released about 3 months prior to the launch of this PYB website on my personal blog, and now contains embedded PYB videos. I’ve applied the same approach time and time again for this site as well, and have a full case study in Level 4 of the Academy for the post on ‘Google Plus Marketing’. Also, included within the ‘full chart’ is social activity, ongoing too e.g. re-sharing the content, but the main thrust is from Search.

What about you?

It is not often that I say “Look what we did!” but I thought a little transparency on our stats may be appreciated.

So, can you do the same for your niche? Well, of course it will depend on the number of people searching, but the principles will be the same.
Be helpful. Create rockin’ content. And build a community of people around you who appreciate what you do.

It may only really engaging around 100 of the ‘right’ people (with networks) to create this type of result, and then you have 249,900 additional visitors.
(And please note, there is always more to it ‘happening in the background’ of course, but the headlines give you some idea of what we do here at Plus Your Business.)

Here is a screen shot of month one:
What is googleplus_Month one

This is mainly ‘Social’ activity i.e. not secure in Search as yet:

What is Google Plus_Month_OneNEW

Then you see the overview of the duration of the post:
What is googleplus_Whole duration

And here is a pretty ‘sketch’ version for you too:

What is Google Plus_WholeDuration NEW

What does this all mean? Well as the full case study will reveal for about seven Plus Your Business and posts, you will see how building community on Social i.e. Google+, will enable you to achieve long term Search results.
Interested in knowing more?
Click that big button below and we’ll get right back to ya!

Case Study: Camfed fundraising campaign

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As a member of the Google Advocates group, back in 2013 I was asked to become part of a fundraising campaign for women’s education in Africa.
As such, I decided to run the campaign briefly outlined below.
Here are a few kind words about the approach we took…

“Martin is truly a G+enius when it comes to community organizing on G+. He is an official G+ Advocate and was a key player in the Camfed Campaign for girls’ education on G+. Martin used Circles in a brilliant way to galvanize a community of people who care about education to donate to the social giving campaign. His stellar reputation on G+ and extensive experience with the platform were clearly reflected in the success of the campaign, which ultimately raised over $9,000 and sent 30 girls back to school in Africa. Martin’s definitely a force worth listening to when it comes to running campaigns on G+.”
Willa Zhou, Google+ Advocates, Community Manager (December 2013)

I would say, however, that this was totally a team effort and there were many key members who contributed.

You cannot do these things on your own. You need to build a tribe!
So, this is how we did it!

Stage 1 was to build a circle (a mini-tribe)

camfed 1

This was the full text I used:

camfed 2

Stage 2 was to communicate privately:

This is a great opportunity to deepen relationships…


Dealing with errors…

There has been a big learning curve with campaigns and sometimes things ‘don’t go as planned’, or we simply make mistakes.
My approach is to throw up my hands and let the people who are involved know what is happening.
This usually creates more forgiveness, and more trust as they are involved and not subject to whatever is going on!
camfed 4

Announcing the results:

Here is the short version…

camfed 5

Here is the full version…

camfed 6

camfed 7

The financial result:

Here is a screenshot of the campaign and shows what we all did together, largely within a 48 hour period, clearly exceeding the target amount.
camfed 8

The facts and reasons why 'Huffington Post' is awesome Google+

By | Case Studies, Google Plus | No Comments

As many of you know, I am keen to give people hints and tips on how to grow their business using Google+

For many companies and brands, they may well consider some of the below as metrics of their success:

    • Number of followers
    • Number of views on content (go easy on this one!)
    • Amount of engagement on their content
    • Who has been engaging on their content
    • Number of people visiting their website
    • Number of leads generated
    • Number of people buying their stuff
    • And so on…

People regularly ask me about Google+ Brand Page success stories and when they do, I regularly bring up the example of the Huffington Post (as I did at Social Media Marketing World whilst moderating a panel).

Why do I see this page as such a success story?

Here are just a few of the observations which make it really stand out:

Google+ has over 300 million active users.
And Huffington Post is rocking the house with the following stats, including:

PagesRank: 136 [of total pages indexed by Circlecount]

CircleRank: 217  [of total pages and profiles indexed by Circlecount] [list-arrow]

  • HuffPost’s total G+ followers increased from 1.5 million to over 2.1 Million and counting. That’s 600K new in 6 months and 100K more than the previous year!

Image 1

IMage 2

  • Over 75 Million total views to HuffPost’s G+ Profile & Content combined since October 2012.

Image 3

  • 11 million of Page Views coming in the last month (this is a new Google+ feature that started in April). That’s a 13 percent rise.

Image 4

  • This means an average of 8-11 million views per month
  • Over 363,000 +1s in just under the last 3 months across Huffington Post’s Main Google+ content  [btw, the drops in +1s looks like circlecount/g+ error]

Image 5

  • NUMBER OF SHARES/engagement etc

Image 6


What has made them so great?

Looking from the outside, I see that there are replicable ways (i.e. you too can learn from them!) to build a Page on Google+; and sure, they were already a big publisher and known by the good people at Google, but the principles are still standing strong when we are applying them to our own PYB clients.

They include:

    • HuffPost became a brand that is part of the community
    • They appear on threads when people call them in
    • They ‘plus one’ other people’s content
    • They follow the meme days
    • They use hashtags well
    • They format posts really well
    • They have great unique content
    • But aside from all of that, I believe it is down to one central reason – a good approach to Page management.

My experience running Pages on Google+

Plus Your Life has 70,000+ followers

Plus Your Business has almost 7,000 followers

From running both of the Brand Pages I know the importance of content, engagement and community building around them.

Also through our experience of running client’s brand pages, which take a lot of effort to build (as many people know) I can see that consistency of approach matter.
Content is not enough for people to become part of the fabric of Google+; it needs personality as well.

As it happens I know Matthew Rappaport has been running the Huffington Post’s Page for quite some time; and I think it is in good measure down to his fun and friendly approach that the Page has flown anywhere near so much.
This is why at Plus Your Business we are growing the team everyday so we can helps brands not just post content with the hope of engagement, but also helps people’s brands become strands in the tapestry being woven on Google+ through every +1, comment, share etc.

Take a look at the Helmet City Page (who have been a PYB client for strategy and tactics) and you’ll see how they too are rocking the Plus!

And Finally…

As I mentioned, Brand Pages are not ‘easy’ to build, so it is great to bring the spotlight to one that can inspire us all.
Nice once HuffPost! Keep up the good work.

Contact us here and ask how we can help you build your Brand on Google+

Case Study: Rubik Tuesday – Data Mining, Tracking and Insights using Social Network Analysis

By | Case Studies, Google Plus, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

#RubikTuesday was the second fun viral campaign organized by +Plus Your Business that ran on 28th March 2014 (the 40th anniversary of the Rubik Cubes invention by +Erno Rubik.

NOD3x data mined all the posts as they happened in Real-Time and analysed the results.

What is NOD3x – a quick overview?

NOD3x is a real-time data mining (content discovery) and SNA (social network analysis) that is free to the Google+ community. It tracks and indexes all posts talking about a specific topic on Google+ posted to the public timeline and/or public communities from either personal profiles or Google+ pages. We also index posts made to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and 250k media sites across the web.

Once we have the data we analyse:

  • Posts statistics (how many in total, how many contain links, the interval between posts etc)
  • The share of data (which social platforms have the greatest volume of posts relating to this topic – e.g. Google+, Twitter, Facebook)
  • Who are the most influential profiles discussing this topic
  • What is the gender split discussing these topics
  • Are there common words being used by people when discussing this topic
  • What geographic locations are people posting from
  • What is the sentiment analysis (positive, neutral or negative) of the posts being made
[end-list] All of the data is then visualized within a real-time infographic dashboard, where a user can see at a glance what is taking place.

In an additional visual, analyses relationships between people posting content and the engagement taking place on those posts. These are visualised through coloured dots (nodes) and lines (edges)

  • Blue for the original post
  • Dark green for a public re-share
  • Light green for a private re-share
  • Lilac for a comment
[end-list] Orange for a +1


Image 1

Without a doubt, you can see that #RubicTuesday struck a chord with people on Google+. But what caused this amazing amount of engagement?

140 original posts were made on Google+ during the #RubikTuesday campaign, with 112 individual people posting that content.

48 of those posts contained links to external content.

But that is just the beginning of the story…

Those 140 posts created a flurry of engagement:

Total Activities: 6310
Activity Relationships: 7351 (re-shares, Comments and +1’s)

  • 140 posts
  • 976 re-shares
  • 4,375 +1s
[end-list] To put things into perspective,

1:7 posts to reshares

1:6 posts to comments

1:31 posts to +1’s

Some posts obviously received a higher proportion of that engagement – in fact 5 posts (and one re-shared post) generated 80% of the activity, the following graph shows all the 140 posts and 976 re-shares.

Image 2

Image 3

+European Commision

+Wilco Wings

+martin Shervington

+Bill Davies

+Andreas M. Trianon

+Beyond Rubik’s Cube

We identified that those five posts followed the Viral 5 W’s and because of that received higher levels of engagement:

Image 4

+Martin Shervington manually inserted the #RubikTuesday hashtag into his post. This hashtag then went on to trend in G+ and subsequent posts were auto tagged by Google+

Image 5

+Wilco Wings’ post was auto hashtagged by Google+

Image 6

+Bill DeWitt’s post was also auto hashtagged by Google+

Image 7

Even the +European Commission got on board with the 40th anniversary of the Rubik Cube

Image 8

The re-share by +Beyond Rubik’s Cube ( is the anomaly here, as they didn’t include any additional commentary with their re-shared post. However, they do have over 1.9 million G+ followers who are obviously very engaged with the content they share!

Image 9


Image 10

As with the #PlusTheZuck campaign, some posts hijacked the #RubikTuesday in an obvious attempt to create visibility to completely unrelated content. But as you can see, their attempt to generate interest failed: no engagement whatsoever!

These attempts by spammers are futile on G+.

Image 11

Days of the week

Image 12

What is particularly interesting here is that even though this campaign ran on a Tuesday, the majority of the engagements took place on the Friday!

There are of course questions that come to mind:

Why did this happen?

  1. Were people to busy to engage on the Tuesday, but were reminded or remembered the posts from 3 days prior?
  2. Due to the content, could it be that in the workplace Friday is the day people are permitted to engage on non work-related content
  3. They went away and played with their own Rubik’s Cubes for 3 days then came back and celebrated (!)


This is how it looked throughout the campaign:

Top Ten Posts (based on Reach)

For those of you that like statistics, we’ve implemented various metrics now into NOD3x that include Google+ View Counts.

From the table below, you can see each posts individual stats as well as the reach of their post – along with a summary of how much engagement each received AND how many times each of them engaged with other content that we indexed.

As any good mentor should, +Martin Shervington leads by example. Not only does he receive high amounts of engagement but also engages on other peoples content as well!

Image 13

And finally…

So what can we learn from all of this? The Rubik Tuesday campaign was very carefully schedule to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of +Erno Rubik’s invention of the cube. He himself also took part – I mean c’mon… it doesn’t get better than that!

Image 14

If you’re planning on a running a viral campaign on Google+:

  1. Do your research! Are there any dates that will help boost what you’re trying to achieve!
  2. Be creative. Make sure you have a captivating video or image. No excuse not for having an image with every post now thanks to applications like +Canva!
  3. Ensure you have an initial ‘seed’ group of people who’s followers will engage with the content being put in front of them.
  4. Follow the 5 W’s of Viral Understanding when posting or sharing content
  5. Take the time to thank people that engage on your content AND with those that re-share your content.
  6. It’s also advisable to engage on others content that you haven’t been involved with, it will help boost overall awareness. That being said, don’t link bomb, when I said engage on other’s posts I meant with their content… Don’t promote your own! If you add value to their posts, people will naturally gravitate to yours. Think laws of reciprocity.
  7. Don’t hijack (spam) hashtags!

We hope you found that useful and get in touch with us here to discuss using Google+ for business.