An established and respected source of business news and information, the company faces extreme competition from other business-news sites. The FT's strategy is to allow people to read its content whenever and wherever they choose, so participation in Google+ was a natural choice, according to FT community manager Rebecca Heptinstall. The company also recognised the potential of the platform's search capabilities to increase visibility and traffic to its core sites.
Aside from letting users view content of their own choosing, the FT chose to emphasize “captivating content and exclusive reporting”. In addition, the FT would use the social aspects of the platform ("+1s" and sharing of content) as a valuable source of information about its readers.
The FT created its Google+ page with an emphasis on visual content. “Our strategy for Google+ is to play up to the highly visual nature of the platform" Heptinstall said. "We also have a rich stream of content from our correspondents around the world and we’re keen to share a variety of stories. Google+ is a hugely visual platform for the FT and that is where we see the highest degree of engagement. Whether it is a video, image or infographic, the interface of Google+ just works well."
The organizing principle of Google+, "Circles" of like-minded users, also fits into the FT's plans. “Our readers come to us for very different things, and Google+ offers a unique opportunity for us to decide what to share with certain groups based on what they’ve told us they’re interested in.”
The FT has added the Google+ "+1" button on its blogs and core article pages.
Google+ has made positive changes for the FT, which now has more than 1 million followers on the platform. As for future developments, Heptinstall said that the company retains an "in beta" attitude and continually tries out new things. For example, the company is looking at the "Live Hangout" feature and that users should “expect some high-profile contributors”.