There is no social media platform that ignites a more intense debate about viability than Google+. California-based Google is known for diving into any and all sectors of technology to flex its muscle and try to steer the ship towards products and services it offers. Not content with its domination of web search in the US and around the globe (for the most part), Google has its own mobile operating system (Android), smartphone and tablet line (Nexus), and as of a few years ago, its own social media platform.

The aforementioned Google+ is the company’s bid to dominate the way you and I communicate with each other, businesses, consumers, and our friends and family. When it comes to discussing the success of Google+, people tend to take firm stances. If you believe a 2014 study noted in Ad Week, Google+ has the same number of US users as Twitter, and has more visitors than Instagram and Pinterest. Or, you might believe the Huffington Post when it tells you that Google+ “isn’t dead, it’s just in a coma and on life support.”

Whatever the case may be, as long as Google is propping up the popularity of its social media platform, it behooves you to seek out new followers. So, we have compiled a number of tips to help you add Google+ followers without too much extra effort.

Separate Profiles

We always advise webmasters and business owners to have separate accounts on all social media platforms for their personal and professional endeavors. The last thing you want to do is share a photo of your typical Sunday morning breakfast with kids and a giant mess at the table on your business profile. With that said, the same is not necessarily true in reverse. There is no real harm in sharing your professional interests and content through your personal profile. After all, you as an individual may be the face of your business.

If you want to boost the number of followers you have on Google+, share page content from your business profile on your personal profile page. Many of your personal friends may not be following your business profile, either because they are unaware of its existence or because they don’t even know what you really do for a living. By sharing professional content through your personal profile from time to time, you can convert some of your personal followers to professional followers.

Use Hashtags

People conduct searches on social media platforms and search engines by words, phrases, and hashtags. While words and phrases are great for locating content and profiles within specific industries, hashtags are a great tool for tracking conversations. When you tag a post on your Google+ profile with a hashtag, it immediately enters that post into the stream of conversations and posts taking place around that hashtag. This offers great visibility for your post and can attract new followers to your profile.

Follow Memes and Trending Topics

First off, we’re not advocating that you litter your feed on Google+ with memes or try to forcibly establish yourself as a trendsetter on Google+. However, it is beneficial to follow topics and content that is trending on Google+ to get an idea for what attracts people any given day, week, or month.

By following those trends, you can better tailor the content you share (such as memes, if you already do) to the trends that are popular. Whether it is memes, blog posts, or videos, identifying trends and sharing your relevant content with a hashtag to connect it to the conversation around that topic is a great way to boost visibility. With greater visibility comes the opportunity to increase the number of followers on your Google+ feed.

Circle Others on Google+

Creating circles is a good way to grow your base of followers on Google+, and it offers an incredibly flexible way to create a diverse following. Circles allow you to segment your followers into various groups based upon physical location, industry, or niche. For example, you could create a circle based upon the location of your business. Once the circle is created, add people and business pages that share your location into the circle. If you see other circles for that location, add them to your circle as well. Doing so will boost your visibility among followers already involved in or interested in your industry.

Place a Google+ Badge on Your Site

As a small-business owner, you no doubt operate a dedicated website for your company. Adding a Google+ badge to your website is an incredibly easy step to take that will boost your following on social media. With a badge on your page, visitors to your website can quickly and easily follow you on Google+ or add you to a relevant circle.

Be Social

If you aren’t being social on social media, then what are you doing on there in the first place? When followers interact with your business page on Google+, be personable and respond in a manner that doesn’t leave them feeling like they are talking to a faceless entity. Thank people directly when they share content or tag your profile online rather than using generic responses with signoffs such as “thanks, the team at (your company).” When people have positive interactions with your brand, they are more likely to add you to their circles and follow you.

Ask for Follows

We’re going to conclude this post with a very simple, yet tricky, way to gain followers on Google+. Perhaps the simplest way to gain followers online is to just ask for people to follow your page. However, you have to be very careful about the language and content you use in doing so. Simply asking for people to follow your profile in post after post comes across as needed and will get you nowhere.

With that said, if you include a strong call to action (CTA) and give people an incentive to follow you, you’d be surprised how quickly your follower base grows. When you post, share, or +1 content on Google+, be clear in telling users what you want them to do and how it will benefit them. A typical example includes brands that share a hilarious meme or video, and then ask viewers to “circle us for more great #manicmonday memes.” It’s all in the delivery.