Some people don’t believe in big foot – others don’t believe that Google+ is a relevant social network. This post is for the latter.
Why Do I Need To Use Google+?
Google wants you to. Social networks are a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar a year industry, and Google wants in the action. The search engine is putting heavy emphasis on growing the network by allowing it to affect search results.
The power the network is having on search results can be summed up in the following scenario:
You own a crossfit gym and you’re looking for some marketing tips. So, like everyone else, you head to Google and search for ‘crossfit marketing’. If you aren’t in any of My Circles on Google+ you see the following results:
The article shows up in the third spot – not too bad.
However, if you’re in one of my ‘Circles’ on Google+, the same search would yield the following results:
Not only does the search result move up to #1, but a Google+ post I did shows up on the first page of results as well. This means that even if your blog post is completely un-optimized, your Google+ post will still show up on the first page of search results!
So now that I’ve sold you on Google+, let’s get started on setting up your profile.
Upload a Profile Picture
I always recommend using the same picture that you use for Facebook and Twitter accounts. Make sure the picture is a clear cut head shot, because it will show up as your Google Authorship photo in search results as well.
Fill Out Your Profile
What are you using Google+ for? Make sure that your profile does a good job encapsulating not only who you are as a person, but incorporates your business into it as well. Don’t go overboard and spam people with sales-e lines, but make sure that if someone were to stumble across your post that they could figure out how to get in touch with you.
I like to keep a 50/50 rule when sharing updates: 50% work related and 50% personal. I live in Miami so I like to post pictures of the beach, palm trees, etc. – anything to water down the rest of my posts.
You generally want to share with everyone – ‘Public’, ‘Your Circles’ and ‘Extended Circles’. Doing so ensures that your posts get shown to the maximum amount of people.
Create Some Circles
Building Circles can be a challenging feat to most Google+ beginners and this is where people usually exit the network and head back to Facebook. The problem with Google+ is it doesn’t have the same following as a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – it’s kind of just there. This means that there are millions of people on the network, but no one really uses it.
What you will often see are skeleton profiles that were set up and abandoned. You’re probably not going to find your friends on Google+ and interact with them like you would on a Facebook or Twitter. The key is to find other active Google+ users and Circle them.
How do you find them? Circle shares. Simply go to the search and type in the hashtag #circleshare. What comes up is thousands of people who are looking to grow their Circles as well. Simply add them to your Circles and they will almost certainly add you back (as long as you keep your profile updated).
+1, +1 +1!
Another great way to build a following is to +1 your own posts and others’. The best way to do so is to head to the search and type in a keyword related to your business. Realtors are very active on Google+ so I like to interact with them.
Simply type ‘realtors’ into the search and then click ‘communities’. Google+ Communities are a great way to interact with like-minded people, build your following and even solicit some services (ever so carefully). Go through the community and leave a +1 on posts and some scattered comments as well. Doing so will help drive traffic back to your profile and build active Circles.
Google+ Is Not Facebook
As I mentioned earlier, Google+ is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even LinkedIn. As of right now the network is a weird combination of Facebook and LinkedIn – it’s full of people who understand the importance of the network, but don’t really get any enjoyment from using it.
I can’t promise that you’re going to enjoy using Google+ because honestly, I don’t. What I can promise you is that giving just 5 minutes of your attention each day will pay off in the long run for your business.