Adding Google Plus to My Social Equation

How many social networks are you on? What if you could combine the best concepts from each into a new one? What if it could help you with your blog or business?

Let me tell you about my renewed interest in Google Plus (referred to as Google+ or G+ here on out) over the past 4-5 months. Also, if you are feeling intimidated or overwhelmed, I'll share a few tips to help you make the most of your time there.

gplusprofile

My Google Plus cover image and profile image. Click to circle me!

What is Google+?

Google+ is similar in function to Facebook and Twitter in some  ways, but allows you to really connect with others based on topics and interests. I've been consuming a ton of great content, learning a lot, having fun, and connecting with people. I searched for topics I'm interested in (whether I blog about them or not) in order to find people to circle (follow) as well as join communities (groups).

To follow someone you place them in a circle (similar to a list). They do not have to approve you or anything. To engage and interact you want to +1 posts and comments (similar to like), comment and share. Searching can be done with keywords, names and hashtags. Mentioning or “tagging” someone is plussing them in with + before their name (ex: +Darcy Zalewski). This sends them a notification. All together these things work to create engagement.

Honestly, I could go on and on explaining so please ask questions in the comments!

How and Why I Got Active on G+

Let's face it, Twitter is noisy and fast while Facebook is… well… Facebook. One thing that gets frustrating about Facebook is trying to connect with other people based on interests. I love my friends and family, but only a small fraction know (or care) about Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. Sure there are pages I can sort of follow.. if Facebook decides to show them to me. But the conversation doesn't really bring people together. I certainly won't friend a random person who leaves cool comments about the TARDIS.

At the end of last year, I resolved to get active and figure out Google+. On G+ I connect with more people based on interests. They post content that appeals to me, I circle them. I've “met” a lot of people through comment discussions. Most of the people I interact with regularly on G+ I did not know outside of G+. I spend most of my time talking on other people's posts.

I still use my other networks because I feel they all have their use and place. They are all pieces in my social blogging puzzle. But, G+ is part of Google. Google is like the God of the internet with search (and YouTube). Being active on G+ can help you build authority on topics by posting about them, sharing relevant content, and interacting with other Plussers and influencers. See more about how SEO and Google+ work together.

My blog posts and YouTube videos are indexed and show up in Google search within hours.  So far my G+ posts are not being indexed, but over time they should. Meanwhile, comments I'm involved in on posts that are indexed show up. Also, visitors that come to my blog from G+ tend to stay on site longer and visit more pages.

I love G+ for the ability to filter my circles and stream (feed), longer form posting (character limits are not a problem!), discussions, and building authority.

Oh and for you Pinterest lovers… G+ can be quite visual if you add large photos to your G+ posts!

Tips, Tricks and Suggestions for Engaging on G+

Like every network or forum, there is a culture within the Plus. When you aren't familiar with it, it can seem like a scary and hostile place. Most plussers are willing to help, but some will rudely point out that you are “doing it wrong.”  I hate telling people there's only one way to do things. You can use it however you want, but I've observed and learned a lot of things that will help you get the hang of it. Helpful practices, if you will.

I'm still learning and growing and doing that primarily by getting in there and opening my mouth (sans foot most of the time!). When I first joined G+ I had no clue what I was doing.  I treated it too much like every other network. Well, broadcasting doesn't work so well. No one is going to shout back, they want to meet half way and talk. At the end of last year I realized my posts were coming off spammy and selfish. I forgot how to be truly social and a good share-er.

After correcting my ways and becoming more active, I've gone from 900ish followers at the beginning of February this year to nearly 1400 now. Prior to that I was mostly inactive except to drop off my newest post link. Most of the growth has been in the past month. When starting out, slow steady growth is normal and expected. You'll do better if you don't mess up first like I did!

Getting Started

  • Add a picture of you.
  • Fill out your profile and include your interests.
  • Find people to circle.
  • Organize your circles how you want to filter them – by relationship to person (friend, coworker, blog crush), by interest (chocolate lovers, moms, Whovians), or by notification level (people I want to see every post from, people I want to check on sometimes). I do a combination of these.
  • Join active communities that match your interests.

Posting and Sharing Content

  • Post Public! People can find you then, otherwise only people you circle will see your posts.
  • Share interesting content you find on the web.
  • Re-share other Plussers' posts.
  • Share more of other people's content than your own!
  • Do not link dump! Add at least a few sentences about why you are sharing. Add your insight, ask questions, share an excerpt or quote. These will entice more click throughs and discussion.
  • Use images when it makes sense to draw attention (especially for recipes and crafts) – but don't violate any copyright laws!
  • Give credit to people who lead you to interesting content. (Ex: I share an article from Babble and you reshare it from me, it is considered courteous to mention you found it via me.)
  • +1 interesting posts and comments.
  • Reply to comments.
  • Thank people for sharing.
  • +Mention people you are engaging with or to notify someone of a relevant discussion. (Ex: You read and comment on a post about breastfeeding that you think I'd like to know about, +mention me in the comments.)
  • Comment, comment, comment. Seriously, you will make an impression by going out and engaging.
  • Be cautious about checking off “and notify” when posting to circles. It can be seen as spammy if they haven't asked to receive alerts when you post. You know, like being added to a mailing list you didn't subscribe to… post public or to circles unless it's really good/important/rare.
  • Post in communities.
  • Have fun!

See more about G+ Etiquette and Interacting Well.

I could literally talk about this for hours! If you have any questions please leave a comment below and let me know if you found this helpful. Feel free to circle me to continue engaging with me and to observe.

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5 Responses to “Adding Google Plus to My Social Equation”
  1. Tazim Damji says:
    • Darcy Zalewski says:
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