I’ve attended Google+ sessions before, and I’ve always walked away feeling like I understand a little more about it – both why Google+ exists and how I can better take advantage of it for my own purposes. At Type A Conference this year, Peter McDermott presented on one of my favorite topics.
Some people are afraid of how much Google is going to track what we’re doing online. It’s cyclic the way it works as the more we share, the more we’re found and the bigger our communities, but the more information others can access about us and our habits. With Google+, we can establish our unique identity on the web. We want to be unique with a unique ID, so don’t be Tom Jones because there will be a ton of them. At least be TomJJones when you create your Google+ profile.
When you create a Google+ page, you want to set it up under your name. Unless you have multiple authors for your blog, you don’t want to create a separate Google+ page for your blog. You want people to see you as yourself rather than just the platform you’re on today. Who knows where you’ll be or what you’ll be writing about in the future, and you don’t want to lose that audience. It’s so much easier to keep people in your circles with you when you reinvent yourself down the line. When there are multiple authors for a page, that’s when you need a Google+ page for the blog because the site is for multiple people, and you don’t want to give just one person “credit” for it.
Why put things on G+ since no one uses it? There was a preconceived notion that Google+ would be just like Facebook. People didn’t understand why they would try to recreate their communities on Google+ after putting in all the time and effort on Facebook. That isn’t what Google+ is about, however.
Many people are actually becoming turned off by Facebook now. Facebook is trying to make money (more power to them), and things are becoming increasingly pay for presence there. You have to buy ad space, you have to pay to promote your posts, etc. Google, on the other hand, specializes in content. They have such rich algorithms that they want the content to fill them and help people find that content.
Setting Up Your Google+ Profile
You can associate your Google+ account with your information that already exists online. All the content you’ve created on your blog and elsewhere online? Claim it! The relauthor tag is key for bloggers. It’s really simple to set up. On your Google+ profile, simply go to the about section. You can see where you can add different links for sites where you write, and there’s also a contributor to section for sites that you don’t own yourself. Put a hyperlink to any domain you write for.
The other half the puzzle is to go back into the articles you write. Anything out there that you’ve created, get a relauthor tag in the content, and you’ll show up in Google searches with your profile on Google+ and your full name, and you’ll get credit for it. Having your authorship set up will also help foster more click throughs because searches on Google will then include your photo and how many circles you’re in, which gives you authority.
Make sure there’s a link back to your Google+ profile in every one of your bios online, or create an author byline and put it there. The easiest way to get your relauthor credit, however, is to search for the Google+ badge – it’s just two lines of code – and just add it to your website.
There isn’t yet an author rank, but that’s been a functionality that has long been rumored to be in the works. Supposedly, it will be based on the interaction you get on your content both on Google+ and on the site where your content is actually posted. You’ll see that the more activity you get, the higher you appear in searches.
You can now search within your connections rather than an organic search when you’re searching on Google. This is a new thing. It may be beneficial when you can harvest your circles and their knowledge to find what you’re searching for rather than hoping that your search is out there in the general realm.
Make Google+ Work For You
Do not just dump your link into Google+. It isn’t so much a newsreader as it is to share information out there. The most successful post is a bolded title, a few lines of text, and a bigger photo. The more real estate you have, the more likely you are is to be clicked on.
Don’t just add a hyperlink with your post. Instead, show a big picture of what you’re talking about, then have a captivating headline and tell why I should click through to read. I might +1 it or click through or share it with my readers if it’s compelling and eye catching. If you do want to post something, be sure it’s well thought out content or has an open ended content that your audience can interact with.
Identify the people who are constantly interacting with you and pay attention to what they’re doing. You may not know them from Adam, but if they’re engaging in your content, then you should maybe interact with theirs.
You can identify low, medium, and high interactors and put them into circles. You can recognize them and say thank them. There are also all sorts of strategies more traditional businesses can use to market on Google+. As a business you can give low interactors a coupon and high interactors a free product.
One nice thing about Google+ is that you can have an endless number circles that help you identify people. Additionally, you can place people in as many circles as you want. You can create circles from people at events you attend to see what they’re posting and who you might want to interact going forward. It also helps you remember when you met someone or why you care because when you hover over them, you can see what circles they’re in. Putting all the people I met at Type A into a circle means that I can later identify who someone is if I don’t remember because I place them into that circle – and possibly other circles, as well, depending on who they are and where they might fit.
Hangouts are kind of like Skype but with 10 people. The folks at Google stitched together a bunch of apps and created Google Hangouts. It’s integrated across your phone and tablet and computer and more. You can send a request for a hangout and know that the message will be delivered when that person checks in via phone or computer or wherever, and you can launch the hangout then when it’s convenient for you.
Hangouts can be video or just audio. You can have exchanges with people, or an ask the author type event. It’s an interactive format. You can plug it into events and set it up, then you need to just check “this is a video hangout” and it will automatically send the request via Google+ and create the event on the invitee’s calendar. When it’s time for the event, you’ll get an alert and you can choose to join and be right there. It also works with hangouts on air and other events online.
That said, you can also change your preferences so that you don’t have events added to your calendar unless you have agreed to join them which can keep your calendar more clean. The same goes with those who may use Outlook as your calendar tool so that even accepting events doesn’t automatically add them to your calendar. To do this, go to your Google calendar settings. You click “no” for show invitations that you decline. You can also click to show only invitations you have accepted. This keeps spam off your Google calendar from event invites.
Hangouts on Air is the coolest thing. There used to be this thing called podcasting. It used to be that you had to buy expensive equipment, and it was a lot of work to set up and run. Hangouts on Air took podcasting and added video and also synchs it to your YouTube account.
You can broadcast Hangouts on Air to all your circles and publicly, if you choose. The possibilities of what you can do are endless. You can monetize the videos and engage your audience at the same time. You can embed these hangouts on your website or do them as training, etc.
Google+ Tips and Tricks
- You can choose to use Google Ripples to track the flow of your posts on Google. It shows how many people shared and where and who reshared. It’s a great way to track what and why has been well-received so you can recreate content in that vein.
- For every one thing you post, read and post and interact with 10 other things you didn’t post. It’s about growing your circles and interacting with new people. This is how you’ll build your circles and your connections.
- There are great resources online google.com/plus/help has a ton of information. After that, there is a community called Google+ Help, which is an incredible resource that can answer any question you may have.
Liked my recap? I have more! At Type A this year, I also wrote about:
Pinterest and Instagram: A Tutorial
Vine and Instagram Video
Semantic Markup and Webmaster Tools
You can find all my Type A recaps from this and previous conferences under my Type A recap link
And every conference I’ve attended that had good content has been written up under my conference recap category