Christian Bloggers

Equip, Encounter, Encourage

Getting The Most Out Of Google Plus

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If you’re a blogger and unaware of Google plus then you are missing out. The fact that Google plus affects your site’s search ranking  meaning if you are popular on Google Plus, it is more likely that your site will be found by other people. But that’s not the only reason why Google plus is important for you as a blogger and seeing as this blog evolved out of a community on Google plus it made sense to start off by focusing on how you can get more from Google Plus.

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Circles

Circles are the core to everything. Instead of having one list of “Friends” you must set up different lists. It is possible put everyone into a “friends” circle but that defeats the point really. When you meet someone new on Google+ read their description, work them out a bit and put them into a group. When you get circles right it means that you can post relevant interesting posts to the people who want them. That means your friends won’t get spammed by information about your work, your boss won’t see that message about how annoying he is, your friends who like Star Trek more than Star Wars won’t get angry when you write about how much better Star Wars is and so on and so on. You can still post public updates and it’s a great idea to ask people what topics they would like to connect about, you never know, maybe someone from work also likes Star Wars. In fact, you should definitely let people see the different sides to your personality some of the time. People want real people.

Google+ is a Ghost town…until you add someone.

9fa13f73-d132-4c49-8253-b6d19a0c1e80Until you connect with someone on Google+ and circle them, you will have no interaction whatsoever! Other people may see your posts but you won’t see theirs. You need to find people to interact with, circle them and reap the benefits. It’s much like other social networks like that, until you have people in your circles (and are in other people’s circles as well, remember you can only see what they choose to share with you) then you won’t see much at all.

So How Can I Find Interesting People?

Search

It’s what Google does best! Think of topics you find interesting and use the search box to find people with similar interests. You can even use #hashtags to find posts by people on the same topic. There are also communities set up around many popular topics that people like, just go, search, look at interesting people’s profiles, circle them and see what they post. If you don like what they post…UnCircle them! There’s no harm and people won’t get too offended (they’ll probably uncircle you too though)

Update Your Profile

The other important step is to make sure your profile is up to date and shows people what you are interested in. If you circle someone they will probably check out your profile. If they don’t see anything about a topic they are interested in on your profile then they’ll probably no circle you back and miss out on all you have to say on the topic they like…but if you have a good profile with interesting information for them, they’ll probably circle you and you can start interacting. Remember to have

  • A profile picture
  • A tagline introduction
  • An interesting about profile information

Don’t Spam

Twitter can be great for friendly spamming of people. You send a mass message on a subject people like under a hashtag they like and people check it out and share it…Google+ can be like this but it’s not the best way. Let me put it like this one man walks past you in the street and tells you to check out this new shop on the corner…do you check it out? Maybe, now if a hundred people walk down the street all telling you about different shops are you going to check any of them out? This is what communities can be like, hundreds of people are sharing their blog posts crying for attention but because everyone is doing that you just don’t bother. There are too many blog posts, all about the same thing and you don’t have time.

120865659_08a6672da1Now imagine you manage to run off the street and into a nice little cafe where your friends happen to be waiting for you. You met them randomly on the street one day but now you are good friends. They tell you about a new shop…guess what, after your coffee (or tea if you prefer) you go and check it out. You know why? Because you know and trust them, you spent the time to get to know them and not just shout instructions at them.

There are some groups on Google+ (Facebook and twitter too) where people are just shouting about themselves over the top of each other and NO ONE CARES what the other people are saying. They turn up, share a post and then run back to their blog to wait for the comments and blog views that never come…I wonder why? This brings me on nicely to communities

Communities

Communities can be great for promotion but if all you want/are trying to do is promotion you will fail. It really isn’t that different from all social media marketing. (note if you are famous or exceptionally well-known then you can ignore this next part, people will listen to you anyway but I’m guessing you aren’t) Remember my example before, people listen to people they know. If you aren’t known then people will ignore you unless there is something amazing they see. So you have two options you can be or make something amazing, or people can know who you are…or even better, BOTH. so let’s look at how you can do both.

[Speaking of communities, why don’t you head over and check out the Christian Bloggers community?]

How Do People Who Don’t Know Me Get To Know Me?

Make An Introduction

You might be waiting for people to search through the google search bar and find your G+ profile or see the 10 post you put on the Google+ community of your choice but there are hundreds of other people doing the same and so progress is slow. Think of it like being at a party and standing in a corner with a nice badge on your shirt telling people what you’re interested in. Wouldn’t it be better if you went up to people and spoke to them, find out what they like and get to know them based of that?

On a community, instead of posting your latest blog post first thing, why not try starting a conversation on someone else’s post about what they wrote. Find out what they are interested in and then tell them about something you wrote or did that they are interested in. Just like that you’ve gone from the stranger on the street giving advice to the friend in the cafe telling your friend about something great that they like. You are probably familiar with the common ways to do this in other circles

  • Leave comments on blogs
  • Write guest posts
  • Sign up to every social media on the block and spam share updates
  • etc

However, there is a huge difference between leaving a comment that says “that was good” and “That really helped me with [insert specific problem] I still have a question about [insert new issue]. Is it similar to [insert topic they may find interesting]” The different probably could be worked into a formula but essentially the difference is a combination of

  • Liking the person,
  • Being helpful
  • Inviting a reply (not just telling them to read something)
  • Caring about what they have to say as well.

In fact, if you try to turn it into a formula then it will probably turn into a generic comment that no one will care about. Of course, you may want to completely ignore these tips, you may want to adopt a “post and run” approach and it may gain some traction but I guarantee that more people will read what you share, you’ll learn from the people you read and you’ll enjoy your experience more if you do.

Being Amazing

As I said being amazing is another way to get high views. Being the friendly face that everyone knows is one way to be amazing but let’s look at some other ways,

  • Know it all
  • Controversial
  • Generous
  • Strange
  • News
  • Funny

Lots of these are things that require a bit of natural talent (for example not everyone is naturally funny, even if they think they are) However, being generous is something you can do no matter what your skills are. How you do this is up to you and it should be different for each person but use some of the ideas above, keep it natural, keep it you and make sure that you are fake. Fake stinks and everyone can detect it (and that applies to introductions above)

Not Being Fake

Lots of people fake making introductions and fake being interesting and it stinks. I’m sure you’ve seen it and noticed it from a mile away. Being fake usually means looking for shortcuts, following set formulas, going through the motions and generally trying to impersonate being something and just being interested in the results of blogging (page views/fame/money etc) rather than the process. Don’t be fake! There is one perfect cure to fake interacting to get followers. Enjoy the experience of meeting new people and connecting with people. If you find the experience inherently good and motivating then you will enjoy the experience and find many more rewards from it. However, if you go after the rewards first then you probably won’t get either.

what-the-plus-guy-kawasaki2A Last Word

I hope you have found this post interesting, These points aren’t only true for Google+ but with social media in general. I’d love to know what your thoughts are and if you’d like some extra advice then you can get hold of Guy Kawasaki’s ebook “What’s the Plus” (about making the most of Google Plus) for free (it’s a pdf download)

What tips do you have for getting more out of Google plus and communities in particular?

[Photo Credit: west.m via Compfight cc and Photo Credit: roseofwinter via Compfight cc]

About Chris Wilson

I'm a 27 English as a foreign language Teacher based in Badajoz in Spain. I also run the Christian Bloggers community and enjoy writing in my free time.

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