9 Tips for Getting Started on Google+
“Where do I even start with Google+? It’s way too complicated.”
I get that a lot. So on this week’s Google+ Tips & Topics Lunch Hangout the esteemed panel was asked to give new Google+ users tips for getting started.
The consensus was before sharing specific tips, the new “plusser” needed to address some marketing basics.
So here are the basics along with some tips to optimize your Google+ experience.
ONE: Know your “WHY”
Are you on social media…
- To generate leads
- To build your brand authority
- To rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs)?
When deciding which platform to use it’s important to judge if it delivers results that align with your business goals.
“While Facebook helps you keep in touch with the people you already know, Google+ helps you get in touch with the people you want to know.”
If you are looking to target and build your client base, Google+ allows you to reach out and engage with anyone on Google+ (approx. 400 million users).
With Google Authorship “rel=author” and Google+ Publisher Verification, “rel=publisher”, your “profile” and your brand will build authority and trust that will benefit your search engine rankings and build trust within your network.
1. Decide who you want to reach and what topics interest you then do a search and organize them in circles. Search for keywords and hashtags specific to your interests and goals. Use Hangouts to extend your reach beyond Google+ to drive people to your site, Events Page or YouTube channel. – Sherry Nouraini
2. Produce content. Treat Google+ like a blog. Produce your own content and use supporting links to build your authority in that content. Don’t just “link share”. Add commentary to your shares. - Randy Bowden
3. Join a Community, interact by asking and answering questions then create your own. Communities are topic specific They offer a great place to show off your expertise and build influence.
TWO: Take the Leap
Don’t get discouraged. Many people feel that Google+ is complicated and too difficult to master.
Just as many people still haven’t mastered Facebook and it’s been around 5 years longer.
Any platform you use for business will involve planning, goal setting and tactical knowledge.
Give yourself time. Six months at the very least.
It was a year before I felt comfortable with Google+ – and I’m still learning about updates and strategies. But hey, that’s my job.
Your job is your “business”.
1. Just do it! Spend time listening to people who know their Google+. Approach it in pieces and in different ways until you find your Google groove. – Bill Vick
2. Lurk before You leap! Just as you wouldn’t dive off the end of a dock without knowing the depth of the water at your feet, take the time to see what’s happening on the platform. Read posts on topics you’re interested in. Join Hangouts and see how they work. Play with “Circles” management. - Kerry Armour
3. Wear water wings! Find influencers to help you keep your head above water as you learn the strokes. Google+ is not an out-of-the box toy, it’s more “Legos” than “Barbie”. - Jessica Dewell
(Jessica used the term “floaters” in the Hangout,instead of “water wings” but I have a whole different mental image of what a “floater” is and while there’s lots of that floating down our streams, they’re not conducive to staying in the pool. Maybe it’s a cultural thing.
Regardless of the social platform, the basic rules of engagement are the same.
Google+’s “blog” format allows for deeper interactions and better content publishing.
The “openness” of the platform (as opposed to Facebook’s walled garden) allows us the option to engage with anyone. This encourages serendipitous collaborations.
While having so many choices can be overwhelming, Google gives us tools to manage and grow our networks through Circles, Communities and Hangouts.
1. Make circles make sense by organizing them according to your needs. On your personal profile that may be according to who engages with you the most. On your Brand page, that may be according to level of engagement or place on the “sales” funnel. – Carrie Keenan
Your four top circles appear above your Google+ stream. 80% of my engagement happen within those circles so it’s wise to make sure they’re populated by people you want to interact with the most.
2. Be a “friend stealer”. Find people to circle by checking out who your friends follow and recommend. It’s a trick I use on Twitter and Carrie Keenan does this on Google+. Once she checks out their profile, she adds them to a “New People” circle and over time, she either moves them up her circle ladder or uncircles them.
3. Find yourself a Hangout buddy and practice using Hangouts On Air (HOA) and Hangout Video Chats (HVC). It’s one of the most popular features of Google+ and is used by many who aren’t active otherwise. Scott Scowcroft
In closing, I’ll quote Randy Bowden who, when asked for a last word on the topic, said:
“It’s social. Learn to be social.”
Click the above image to view our Tuesday Lunch Hangout.
For more help with Google+, circle all of the people mentioned in this post and subscribe to my weekly Google+ Tips Newsletter. Once a subscriber, you’ll have access to our Google+ Tips & Topics Community.
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.