Let me put this as simply as I can for you, if you aren’t taking Google+ seriously yet, you’re missing out on an enormous opportunity.
Don’t believe me? Well let me tell you exactly why your business needs to jump on the Google+ bandwagon TODAY! It is becoming difficult to deny that Google+ is important as a social networking arena. Research suggests its well on its way to surpassing Facebook in terms of social sharing activity. It has a direct and significant impact on numerous other Google services, including search. Can you say SEO people?!
Besides all of the measurements, those of us who have embraced Google+ have found a thriving and active community of passionate tech enthusiast who regularly comment on posts, follow links and reshare material- a presence that is very valuable for both personal and professional interaction.
I myself am among the satisfied pack that’s tapped into Google+’s potential. With only starting my own Google+ account several months ago, I have already created valuable relationships and a stellar amount of interaction. The level of engagement and quality of discussion I see on G+ are vastly superior to what I see on other social networks (especially Facebook).
So what does it take to even get noticed and expand your influence on Google+? Once you have learned the basics of the services, you can start applying these helpful strategies that Google+ subscribers have found to be helpful:
1. Find your crowd
Any social network has the potential to seem quiet when you first arrive. While Google+ may not be the platform for gathering all your aunts, uncles and old high school acquaintances, it is ideal environment for finding people who actually share your professional and person interests.
\”The amount of effort required to fill your stream with interesting conversation is minimal,\” says Fraser Cain, a space enthusiast who runs the Universe Today blog and has amassed over 800,000 followers on Google+. \”Your first step is to follow people you\’re interested in hearing from, then after a while it seems busier and busier.\”
Google+ gives you a helping hand by suggesting groups of people who post about topics you like as well as people with whom you have a connection (TIP: you can always access those suggestions by navigating to the \”People\” section of the site). Another good way to find some folks include using the G+ search function to look for people posting about your area of interest and browsing through the site’s \”What\’s Hot\” section to find users who are actively sharing interesting content.. Be aware that there will be a lot of posts unrelated to your niche but always provide for a pretty good chuckle or two.
Then of course there is always the option to search for specific experts and industry leaders, even small tech writers, who write and discuss about your favorite subjects. Commentaries aside they are going to be your key to reshared content from other users that’ll be relevant to you and this also helps you encounter other interesting people that comment on their posts.
2. Become the core of your niche
Since there is no fairy dust that you can sprinkle to gain Google+ followers, you are going to have to be an active participant in your niche, whatever it may be. Do your best to follow people who talk about topics relevant to what you are also discussing or sharing and then of course interact on their posts as much as possible. Discussion value aside, you’d be surprised how many people will circle you when you leave insightful, interesting or funny comments in the right places.
With actively participating it can also lead to your inclusion in shared circles-personal recommendation lists that people pass along on Google+, as well as within the site’s own internal recommendations.
Another area of Google+ you want to strongly consider when finding followers is in Google+’s growing collection of communities, which is in simple terms a organized discussion forums that revolve around targeted topics. In these forums it is also true that a little bit of effort can go a long way.
3. Make yourself discoverable
I know, I know, this should be fairly obvious, but you would be surprised how many skip this crucial step. It is important to take the couple extra minutes and fill out your Google+ profile, including a somewhat professional photo of yourself, remember to smile!
\”When people search for others who are passionate about a certain subject, if you don\’t have [the relevant terms] in your profile, Google doesn\’t know to include you,\” says, Sarah Hill, a reporter with the Veterans United Network who\’s assembled 2.7 million G+ followers.
A consistent identity across social networks can also be helpful, especially if you\’ve already built a following in other places. Google+ allows you to create professional pages for organizations that can be managed by multiple users. It helps if your company\’s Google+ page is immediately recognizable and consistent with the rest of your business\’s online presence.
4. Share the right stuff
When you create your Google+ account, you have to decide what your goal is for setting up this social media platform. Will you be using your profile professionally or personally? If you are using Google+ as a professional social media platform then posting and sharing content should be directly related to your niche. The more you focus on your niche, the more focus others will have on your site and understanding to what you’re all about.
You want to post information that’s relevant to the kind of audience you want to have interacting with you.
By no means do this mean you have to be the single-note sharer; sprinkling in the occasional “just because” post, whether it be a behind the scene glimpse at your work, a funny photo relevant to your area of discussion or an amusing anecdote, this can broaden your appeal and help establish you as a real person worth following. Some of the most popular Google+ posts have been random images or off-the-cuff quips that tie into my favorite geeky subjects but have no direct connection to any stories I’ve written. Add a little bit of dessert to your vegetables and remember not to talk about yourself all the time.
5. Take advantage of the technology
Last but not least, take full advantage of the technology Google+ has provided you. The Hangouts element of Google+ is arguably the service’s killer feature and it can be a powerful weapon for anyone looking to build a following of like-minded individuals.
Hangouts let you have one on one or group conversations via video and if you’re so inclined, share the video to your stream live or even after the broadcast. Sarah Hill uses Hangout to host interviews with people relevant to her field as well as to hold A&A style discussions with her followers.
\”We\’re interacting with people face to face, not just chatting with their avatars,\” Hill says. \”It\’s a deeper level of real-time engagement.\”
With the basics of Google+ covered, now it is your turn to jump in and start swimming. Tell us about your Google+ experience in the comments; I would love to hear what worked for you and what didn’t work.
No go forth and share the knowledge!