Is spending more time on Google Plus one of your New Year’s resolutions?
If so, I applaud you. I also wish you lots of luck.
Seems 48% of resolutions don’t make it past 6 months. If you’re over 50, your success rate is only 14%.
Like your business, you need to make changes for the right reasons.
If you resolve to lose weight just for bragging rights, odds are you’ll be inviting Ben & Jerry over for Valentines’s Day.
If you tried Google plus in the past and just didn’t “get it”, don’t give up.
We’ve all had similar experiences with other platforms at first.
It’s all about context.
I hated olives until I was old enough to enjoy martinis. Context!
Same goes for Google Plus.
Unless you have specific goals in site you’ll get lost, frustrated and you’ll quit.
Our challenge as individuals and businesses on the web is to be heard, to rise above the crowd.
Mark Schaefer gave a workshop here in Montreal last summer at SocialMeex that was called “Content Marketing: Cutting Through the Clutter”. He recently wrote a much discussed post: Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is not a Sustainable Strategy where he suggests that the ever increasing volume of content will supersede our ability to consume it.
There have been many responses to this article, for and against. The two words I take away from this debate are: networking and differentiation.
The former is well stated by a quote from Christopher Penn (h/t Mark Traphagen):
“Build a strong network of fans and influencers who will continue to read and share your content even when they start yawning at content from strangers.”
How do you build that network of fans and influencers?
Your differentiator is “you”.
As Oscar Wilde said:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Building networks and authority on Google Plus should be part of your S.M.A.R.T. goals.
How to do that when you’re just getting started on Google Plus was the topic of this week’s #GPlusLunchBunch broadcast.
Here are some take-aways from our panel of experts: Jessica Dewell, Randy Bowden, Scott Scowcroft, David F Leopold and Vivekananda Baindoor Rao
1. Keep your name up front. Identify yourself in Hangouts by using the Hangout Toolbox or customized “Lower Thirds”.
2. Have patience. Building relationships takes time – in real life and online.
3. Connect with others who share your interests by searching keywords and engaging with people found in the results.
4. Be present. Google Plus is a “live” platform. Don’t drop links and run. When you post, stick around and engage.
5. Focus on the “quality” of your networks, not only on the numbers. While it’s good to have a large circles of followers because it expands your reach both on the platform and in search, thousands of followers who don’t care about your content are just taking up space. In fact, having empty or spammy followers can impact negatively on your rankings.
6. Don’t cut and paste links on Google+. If you’re sharing, let your readers know why you are and what is your take is on the subject.
7. You are known by the quality of content you share. Remember your plus 1’s can be seen as recommendations on your follower’s stream. (Unless feature is turned off.)
8. Emulate people you admire. The are many G+ influencers known for their generosity and expertise. Follow their posts and HOA’s and study how they use the platform. Circle them, read their posts, comment, reshare and engage with them. Ask them questions.
Here’s a circle of Google Plus Helpers by Denis Labelle who I recommend you circle. By clicking on “add people” you can choose to add the whole circle or select each person individually.
Here’s a circle I shared of my G+ Allstars:
9. Participate in Hangout Video Calls(HVC) and Hangouts On Air (HOA). There are a lot of great HOA shows. Check them out. Again, follow, comment and interact. If you’re new to Hangouts, do a private Hangout Video Call (HVC) with some friends. Practice with someone until you feel comfortable to host one yourself. Pop into public Hangout parties. It definitely is pushing the envelope for many, but you’ll make great connections.
10. Be human. The only way to be noticed is to be yourself. There’s lots of the same content, but only one of you. What will raise you above the noise is the creation of emotional ties with your audience that can only come from creating content that can only have been created by you.
As Jessica said and Randy summed up so well,
“Find Your Sparkle and keep it polished all the time.”
Watch our weekly Google+ Tips & Topics Lunch Hangout every Tuesday at 12:15 pm ET.
About Ray Hiltz
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+.