It turns out, Google+ is different. And we really should get on it and use it, because it offers some unique advantages over other platforms. It’s a great place to build your authority, get known, connect with thought leaders, and raise awareness about your services — all while helping your search results, too.
How did I find this all out? I had a chance to read Chris Brogan’s book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, and to host Chris for a one-hour chat yesterday on the Freelance Writers Den Open House Call for July.
As you all may know I am not very technical, so I expected to find this topic a slog. But I actually ended up staying up until 1 a.m. reading the book! It’s not just a how-to guide on basics of how to get set up on Google+, but a primer on how to interact on social media in a way that’s authentic, productive, and even fun.
If you missed it, here are a few of the key points on why Google+ matters:
- Duh — Google and YouTube. Google+ is the only social media platform that can raise your rankings on Google search, as Google can see into what’s happening on Google+. It can’t see what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter. As Google owns YouTube, Google+ has also quickly become a great place for sharing video and photos, too.
- Fine-tuning your message. One big advantage here is that you define different circles — and then you can connect to them selectively. You could post to everybody on Google+, or just to your one circle of fellow craft beer lovers (and not your circle of Internet marketers). This to me is a big improvement over Twitter, where you can make lists…but you can’t send a tweet to only the people on one of those lists. It’s more like a rolodex where you can keep contacts, so it’s not that useful. On Google+ you can also choose to disallow comments on your post, or to prevent further sharing. To sum up, there’s a higher level of flexibility and control.
- Friendsurf and find people. Chris gave a great tip for a way to connect with people. If you want to connect with a big thought leader, look at their circles and “friendsurf” — find and connect with friends of theirs who share interests with you. Then, when you start responding and commenting on the thought leaders’ posts, if they check you out, they’ll see you have friends in common. You’ll seem less like of a stalker. One final observation here: the difference between Google+ and Facebook, Chris says, is on Facebook we connect to people we know, while on Google+ people are connecting to people who have common interests. Speaking of trying to make connections…
- Skip the +1s. Chris’s observation is that giving a post a Google +1 — the equivalent of a Facebook “like” — doesn’t seem to do much, either for the post or for getting a thought leader’s attention. If you want to be helpful, either share or comment on a post.
- Hang out. Google’s Hangouts feature is unique in social media. If you’re looking to take some of your virtual connections to a deeper level, you can hop on here with a group of them and have a chat, with up to 10 people at once. Seeing people’s faces and talking live really helps create a stronger bond with your contacts.
- Have a personality. Google+ seems even more resistant to direct sales messages than Twitter or Facebook. So how can you make waves? Share useful information and be human. Chris says he gets more responses to comments and photos about his personal interests or how his day is going, and that the casual interactions that result have led to real business for him. I tried it out yesterday with two posts on the same topic, one straightforward and one a more personal take on the same thing — and immediately got more engagement on the personal one. I think this is a rule I’ll be putting more into use on all my social media platforms, not just Google+.
- Bring a campfire. The best social marketers have a catalyzing topic that draws their people in and keeps them engaged — not something they sell but simply something of interest to their audience. How does this work? Well…I’ll just let Chris explain this one:
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(Download link if you can’t see that: http://freelancewritersden.com/Media/Denopen-Brogan-Cut.mp4)
What do you think of Google+? Leave a comment and share your view.
Google+ graphic: Flickr – Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net