No one would argue that the primary reason we must use Google Plus is because Google has tied using it into where your site may rank in the Google search engine. No other social network can compel participation in that way.
Profiles, Pages, Circles, Communities – very confusing. The video above explains the new changes as of December 2012 and how they benefit small business.
Google Plus Drawbacks
That said, there is a major drawback to Google+ and that is they do not aggregate shares and comments. That severely limits the benefits of using it because discussions are splintered in so many pieces.
How many do you really think are going to search for and comment
in more than one instance of your content being shared on G+?
There are other obstacles to participating on Google Plus. For example:
Google Plus Usability Issues
There are too many different ways content gets shared with different sets of people. Here’s an example. I do follow Mark Traphagen who is a passionate Google Plus expert. I can see this discussion and get to the post where Mark is seeking Google + influencers, and I can reshare it, but I can not comment in it at G+.
Why? Maybe I’m not in that community? But then if I’m not why can I see their discussions? Because I am in Mark’s circles?
Sometimes I can share – other times I can’t share what I see and comment in, but I can search for the original source and share from there. Maybe if you don’t have expectations of consistency this type of inconsistent usability doesn’t bother you, but I find it a strong disincentive to use G+ (and Facebook which is even worse).
Social networks should be easy to use, consistent, and NOT work.
If your head hurts trying to figure them out they are losing users.
Google Plus Strategy
It is obvious that we need to be active on G+ but the question is what is the best way to make using it worthwhile? These tips come from Google Plus for Business Expert Mark Traphagen who writes a monthly Google Plus column on Neal Schaffer’s Windmill Marketing.
I think it comes down to just like in real life. You have to organize and prioritize. In a reply to your comment on my Windmill post, I used an analogy of Google as a library, and I’ll reapply it here.
If you walk into a library, it’s just as overwhelming as a social network like Google+. You have to use the available tools to narrow down to what is most likely of interest to you.
I long ago gave up trying to see everything in a social network. I’m very selective about who I add to circles here, and every once in a while I go through and trim out anyone who isn’t adding value to my experience here.
I’ve also been using the circle stream filters to improve my experience. If you haven’t noticed, if you switch the home page view to any of your circles, using the tabs at the top of the stream, there is a slider at upper right. This adjusts how much of each circle you see in your default Home view.
When I started on G+ I put people in circles by topics, but that proved ridiculous. I might have put someone in a Social Media Marketing circle because they post good stuff on that topic, but if I go to that circle I’m also going to see everything else they post, so it’s not really a SMM circle. Communities solved that problem for me; I join the communities with the best experts and discussions on the topics that interest me.
Now I’m in the process of paring all my circles down to just a few. I’ll still have a few category circles, like “Family,” but for most people, I’m going to put them in five circles, corresponding to how much I care about seeing what they post. Each circle will correspond to one of the five positions on the slider, where I’ll set that circle. I think this will give me a better filtered experience on my home page.Google
And I never add Shared Circles unless I really trust the person who curated them and they aren’t very large 😉
As for Communities, I try not to join too many, and be selective about the ones I do join. I take some time to look before joining. Are there good discussions happening regularly? Are there a lot of spam posts the mods aren’t cleaning out? Are a good number of the members participating?
These posts by Mark will get you started on Google Plus:
- Your Google Plus Network Is More Powerful Than You Know
- Google Plus Hangouts for Business: Customer Contact on Steroids
- Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages
- How to Build Search Engine Ranking Power with a Google Plus Brand Page
- New Features That Make Google+ a No Brainer for Business Marketing
- How to Create Google+ Posts That Get Read, +1ed, and Re-Shared
- Three Ways to Use a Personal Google+ Profile to Build Your Business
- Grow Your Google+ Business Page with the Power of Sharing
- The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page
Be sure to circle Mark on Google+ as he shares tips there as well as in his monthly column. You can follow him on Twitter
Hubspot Google Plus Resources
Hubspot has some of the very best resources for small businesses, and many resources for Google Plus:
- Google+ Finally Rolling Out Custom URLs for Pages and Profiles
- Free Guide: How to Use Google+ for Business
- How to Optimize Your Google+ Business Page [Free Ebook!]
- Google+ Local Replaces Google Places: What Local Businesses
- 4 Critical Ways Google+ Is Changing Search
- How To Track Google +1 and Facebook “Like Button” Clicks
Google Plus How-to Videos
Extended Tutorial of How To Use Google+ For Business Webinar by Chris Abraham:
This post will be updated with the best Google Plus strategies, how-tos and videos as I come across them.
If you use Google + and have strategies that work for you,
do please share them in the comments.
If you know of other posts that will benefit those trying to maximize the benefit of being active on G+ do please share them as well. Relevant links will be approved.
Thanks for featuring my resources for using Google+ in your post!
As to your critique of comment aggregation, I suppose it wouldn’t make you feel any better if I said that the rest of the web is no better 😉 , as you implied yourself for a moment with your side reference to Facebook. This has been a problem for as long as forums and blogs have existed, a problem that third party programs like Disqus try to solve, but fail because none of them has achieved universal adoption.
That being said, it would seem like if anyone could solve this, Google could, so let us hope they are working on it.
We need all the help we can get to come up with viable strategies for using Google Plus. Much of why I blog is to aggregate my research into a reference source for my own use and to benefit the bloggers and small businesses I mentor. They may as well be public to benefit anyone else who needs them. I will add to this post as I find additional resources, so whenever you have something that belongs here do feel free to drop a link.
I publish social media related content here; small business advice on DIRJournal.com/business-journal, and the big picture and controversial posts on GrowMap.com. I am in the process of using FeedBlitz to create feeds by author to make it easy for readers of any of the blogs where I edit or contribute to read the writers whose content they don’t want to miss.
For years I would have been reading all of Kristi Hines‘ posts, for example, but she writes all over the place. Now I can get all her posts into one feed. I’ll write up the how-to once I get at least one done and know I have the process 100% accurate.
You have faith that Google is trying to support independent thought and small business while I believe their intention is to fragment conversations even further in order to prevent anyone outside the mainstream from gaining any influence. In commerce they favor big brands, and if they can keep us divided in as many small communities, circles, blogs, etc. they can keep us conquered.
I know this may not make sense to you because I look at a much longer view and bigger picture than almost anyone else. I see how each action taken impacts our future while the masses only consider what’s best in the moment and continually act against their best interests in the process.
I don’t like the term “evolution” but It think it’s fitting here. Aggregation done heedlessly, is pedestrian but it’s what the masses want. Aggregation done thoughtfully, will attract fewer, but more thoughtful participants. At the end of the day, it’s easier to monetize the masses.
Bloggers have to eat too. 🙂
The evolution of the web has always been that the person who can take the information and make sense out of it will win. That’s why good content from thoughtful people will win out in the end. That said, I wonder if the medium for that isn’t in a book and not necessarily on a blog.
Time will tell.
Thougthful as always Gail…love reading your stuff.
I agree with you that while there is massive amounts of information online, it isn’t overly useful until someone “makes sense or it”. That is why I believe people should be willing to pay for ebooks and books. While I may have shared everything online for free that anyone would want to know, if I organize it in a step-by-step prioritized process they can actually implement they are more likely to do so.
Thanks for stopping by to read and comment and sorry for the delay in responding.
Hey Gail, right on. I think that part of the key is that we have to come to Google+ with purpose. I think that the Seinfeld method of social media (without a necessary purpose) doesn’t work as well. It seems that Google+ is going to make you define who you are. I think it goes beyond brand too. It has everything to do with the credibility you’re building. Good stuff as always my friend.
Absolutely agree. I didn’t use G+ much early on because it felt like yelling in the Grand Canyon just to hear your own voice echo. Some communities there have changed all that, and when I have time I drop into them primarily to answer questions.
The communities that welcome me sharing answers that I have already written in various blogs get my time. Those that hate links I leave because it makes no sense for anyone to write original answers to FAQs every time the topic comes up.
The business community I mention in this post is my favorite so far, but I am getting a lot of invitations so there are bound to be others I’ll end up participating in when time allows.
Only an irresponsible online marketer would even consider ignoring anything Google hosts. G+ takes time for sure to master but it is entrenched with so many other online tools that one’s efforts or work on G+ gets magnified, reaching audiences all over cyberspace.
Your G+ is connected to; Events, Hangouts, Communities, Google Docs and Chat… You have circles for more filtered and focused converse.
Google Authority can be implemented into your strategy. You can use hashtags and keywords to grow your notoriety and for SEO power. You can make friends by giving the thumbs up with the convenient (+1) click. Yes it takes time to learn but all owrthwhile things do. You gain and save time and extend your reach enormously once you learn to leverage all G+ has to offer. http://gurumarketingtips.com
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