This guest post is by Neil Patel of KISSmetrics.
Google+ had a hot start, but has since cooled down. For a lot of people, that means ignoring Google+. I want to warn you that is a bad idea.
Although the lights are on and it seems like nobody is home, trust me: there are people there. And they are the very people who can have a huge impact on your blog and business.
Why Google+ isn’t going anywhere
Google+ is designed to draw you away from both Twitter and Facebook. And in time, it could do this.
Yes, Facebook has over 800 million users. People like to state that number and then say “Facebook isn’t going anywhere.” Fair enough. But people do migrate. It happened to AOL. And it could happen to Facebook. In fact, former Facebook president Sean Parker says influencers are already moving from FB to Twitter and Google+.
That’s bad news for Facebook. But good news for you.
Of course I know that it’s important not to waste your time. So the following list of things that you should be doing on Google+ will keep you both productive and effective, not just entertained.
1. Create a stream of thought leaders
Because of the appeal of Google+ by many innovators, thought leaders, and early adopters, you have a lot of forward-thinking people hanging out in Google+ right now. As Robert Scoble said, “Google+ is for the passionate users of tech.”
Your mother won’t use Google+, but that guy who can help bring attention to your blog sure will!
Being early to the party, and it is still early, has its advantages, namely you are more visible to these thought leaders and are more likely to catch their eye. But before you start thinking about hounding them, look to what you can learn from them.
Can you imagine the power and creativity you can tap into if you created a Circle dedicated to thought leaders in marketing, a Circle dedicated to social media, to technology, to innovation, and to blogging?
2. Get circled by thought leaders
In the end, it’s not so much who you’ve circled in Google+. What matters is who’s circled you. Again, because it’s somewhat early, you can take advantage of the breathing room and get to know these people more intimately than you could on a crowded space like Twitter or Facebook.
But how do you get them to follow you? Here are some ideas:
- Comment like crazy: Just like you would on a blog, you should leave thoughtful and useful comments on things that these thought leaders share.
- Promote with precision: Everybody likes a little promotion, and when a thought leader sees you sharing his work, and even making meaningful comments about it, he or she is inclined to circle you.
- Share your work carefully: If it makes sense and doesn’t feel pushy, share your own work when you comment.
- Fill out your profile fully: People are more likely to follow you when you have a profile that is thorough and interesting. Do not neglect this. Besides, your profile allows links, photos, QR codes and more. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it to its fullest.
- Post with particular thought leaders in mind: This seems like a no-brainer, but you should post meaningful content. Go a step further, though, and post with a particular thought leader in mind. If he happens to swing by your profile, he’ll see you have a lot in common with him and possibly circle you.
3. Use Google+ to source ideas
As you start to gain traction with these thought leaders and build a solid group of Circles, tap into all that knowledge and experience.
- Post a provocative, thoughtful question: Ask people their opinions about technology, the future of social media, and design. Ask them what they think of a particular high-profile blogger’s position on a certain topic. What you are looking for is information to help you solve people’s problems.
- Jot down ideas: As you follow the streams in your Circles, make sure you are keeping notes on things that you find interesting. You could find particular ideas for blogs or your own questions you want to ask.
- Engage in thoughtful discussions: Occasionally take the time to challenge and drill down in the comments with a post somebody left in your stream. It’s worth the time to have a healthy debate. People will notice.
4. Collaborate with business colleagues
The Hangout feature of Google+ is for that person who is truly social. They not only want to hear your voice, they want to see you as well.
That makes it great for company meetings, conference calls, mastermind groups, ad hoc brainstorm sessions, or just simply hanging out. If your company has fewer than ten employees, or is even spread out across the nation or world, you can always connect everybody through hangouts.
And keep in mind that hangouts are meant to be loose, so bring your own drink, and remember that you can actually start a hangout on YouTube.
5. Manage large circles with Sparks
Think of Sparks as Google Alerts for Google+. Where the magic happens with this is when you track particular topics, then jump in to to share the content or make a comment.
This is a simple way to control large amounts of information, especially if you have a lot of people in your Circles. It also gives you the ability to interact on targeted subjects, lifting your profile as an expert.
6. Create smart custom Circles
When creating Circles, it’s possible to run into “Circle fatigue” where you might just throw up your hands and say “What’s the use?” But there is a very good argument for creating custom Circles.
Chris Voss, for example, created a “Commenter” Circle, which is a list of people who have commented on his posts in Google+ but are not connected with him. He then reciprocates with this group by commenting on their posts. It’s a great way to engage the power users!
7. Use it as a niche blog
Listen, I don’t recommend you pull a Kevin Rose and replace your blog with Google+. However, you should think about using Google+ as a place to share content geared to a particular, focused audience.
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to drill down in a particular area, but you’re fearful that doing so on your blog might scare away some of your loyal readers. Google+ is perfect for inviting them to join you.
For instance, say you are a web copywriter and your blog is centered on persuasion and conversion. While SEO is definitely part of your job, your audience might not appreciate you going down that path. Yet it’s definitely a subject you want to explore more and build some expertise in so you can broaden your business. The level of engagement you’ll get on Google+ is perfect for a tightly-focused group like this.
8. Use Hangouts as an educational tool
One way to start attracting more people to use Google+ is by inviting people to a Hangout in which you are going to teach on a particular topic.
For instance, you could teach a beginner’s guide on public relations through a series of Hangouts. Of course you’d make this free, but in time you’re audience will continue to grow, and so will your influence.
This way you are using Google+, your circle base is growing and you are actually creating content that you can turn into a podcast you could eventually sell one day.
9. Use Hangouts as a podcast tool
The Hangout feature in Google+ allows you to invite up to ten people to engage and chat via video. You can even turn this feature into a recording for a podcast. Let me show you the simple steps:
- Create a private Hangout for up to ten people.
- Make the video and chat private, but the viewing “public” so that people can watch but not engage.
- Record the video using a tool like Camtasia or Jing.
- Share the podcast!
What’s really cool about Hangout is that the camera view will follow whoever is talking. So it’s kind of like having a live producer directing camera shots, but it’s automatic.
10. Looking for a job
Lastly, possibly one of the most productive things you could do is look for a job—especially if you’re out of a job or not happy with your current one. And since there are so many like-minded people in the same space, your chances of landing the right kind of job goes up.
Here’s what you should do if you’re looking for a job on Google+:
- Announce you are looking for a job: Write a simple post that tells everyone you are looking for a job. State what kind of job you’d like and make a brief mention of your experience. Then ask if anyone can help you out.
- Ask for introductions: A great way to look for a job is to find companies that you want to work for and then contact them for positions. Well, with Google+ you can scan your circles and see where people are working. When you find a company you’d like to learn about, ask that person who works there if you could ask them a few questions and get a possible introduction to the hiring manager.
- Host a relevant hangout: Invite some people to hangout to discuss certain trends about your industry or invite a thought leader for an interview. Let them know you want to pick their brains about their area of expertise. This is a great way to network.
- Follow experts in your industry: Naturally, you should be following those people who matter in your industry. Go out of your way to be helpful to those people. Even offer to help them out.
How effective is online networking? Well, there are currently no numbers on Google+, but the number of people who find jobs online is about 2-5 percent. Regardless, online networking is still effective. According to the Wall Street Journal, 94 percent of people who found jobs did so by networking. That could be through family, friends and professional contacts.
So, it’s worth the effort of networking on Google+. You’ll never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll find!
Whether Google+ takes off or not, you can still use it to accomplish many productive and profitable things for your business. Besides, in the long run I believe that Google+ will play a large part in Google’s search algorithm, and when it does you’ll be ahead of the game!
What productive ways are you using Google+ to promote your business, your blog, and yourself?
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think another aspect of Google+ that will quickly become critical is the way in which search is being tailored. If I am logged into G+ and search for a keyword that is relevant to content on my site, I get a much better ranking for the content I created. When I log out, it matches up much better with what the keyword ranking tools tell me. Therefore I spent this morning making sure I had rel=author set up correctly on my site and on my G+ profile.
Full Disclosure: I am working with Spring Metrics as an advisor.
For those of us who have only taken a cursory look at Google+ and been a little confused, is there any good basic tutorial on setting things up for a business/blog? Sort of a Goole+ for Dummies . . . I just I just need a detailed how-to before I can really start doing much with it.
It’s been on my list, but I feel overwhelmed when I look at trying to figure out HOW to use it.
Thanks for any help you can give!
I also want Google + for Dummies
Of course you’ve got a fantastic guide on howto. And the good news is that this guide is inside G+ itself. this could help you realize the power of G+ by the way.
1 – log in G+
2 – circle (follow) +gabriel vasile (how ? copy paste the name in the G+ search bar, hover your mouse over his name or picture and you will be asked to tip a box to circle him)
3 – scroll across his stream : among his many tutorials and guidelines, you willl easily find the one that suits you best.
Thanks for the great tips! I was hesitant in joining Google + because it didn’t seem to me like it was going anywhere…
BUT, after doing some research, I’m convinced of the benefits of using Google +, and have now added Google + buttons to my blog, and have also decided to join and set up my own page. Now I just have to learn how to use it :)
Your article gives me a lot of great ideas to put into use and i will start using them right away! Thank you!!!
I signed up when it was in beta am not using it as much as i should be, for me the majority of information is coming from twitter. You do make some strong points on why to start using Google plus. What happens if Google decides that it not working. They seem to be pulling product after product. Does not fill me with confidence.
Most people l know have not done much with their Google plus account and some have even deleted it.
Am on the fence on this one but you have persuaded me to get more involved may be I will love it one day as much as twitter.
Google + is going places. Glad to have you with us! :) Google is mostly pulling projects that are outdated, and also projects that newer ones have replaced (Buzz and Google + for instance) I think the Standard set (documents, translate, gmail, Google +, etc. will be quite stable, and Google will in the mean time provide us with many new and useful aps and ideas. Add me to your circles! I am on Google + as S Lo thanks!
Neil Like your ideas of getting more circled, overall it’s all about doing this things consistent. At the moment as Google + doesn’t support much platforms where you can manage multiple social media accounts, it can be quite time consuming managing it separately but I guess it’s also as rewarding, and part of building your brand and growing your presence online.
Hey Neil nice job on this article. I use G+ but I have to say it has been very difficult to interact with other people, it takes a lot of effort compared with FB or Twitter. I strongly believe G+ will eventually become the main platform to socialize and do business and could be like LinkedIn 3 years ago where you could have a CEO or VP under your contacts because the space was open to network and meet business people.
I will continue to use G+ and look to post better content, hoping to connect more and better with all kinds of people, in reality everyone like to get post and likes and share about what we post on any social network. It’s all about socializing.
See you around +AlexFridman @pantiux
Thank you for this article. G+ does present a learning curve so it is really useful to have some more ideas to try out.
I like Google + better than FaceBook simply because it is cleaner and easier for my mind to digest. I like FaceBook and benefit from it greatly but there is just too much going on all over the place. I like to keep it simple if you know what I mean.
Thanks for tips, Still trying to config my G+ page.
Until reading this post I was considering bowing out of goolge+ partly because I’m not sure if I have time and also because I wasn’t really sure whether it would be worth my while.
Now I think I will take a closer look. Thanks for your post!
I did not included any social media plugin on my website since i treat blogging as interactive media.
Google -1 would be useful for me as content writer to evaluate quality post.
I’ve decided to even close my comment within 3 days to stop spending hours to read and reply readers post.
Google -1 is definitely a good gauge as quick indicator on my post.
At first I was a bit hesitant about Google+, think that here’s another application I need to learn and participate in, but I decided to take a week – yes, just a week – to really explore and experience Google+ and I have to say I’m considering leaving Facebook. Facebook is bloated and over crowded, I can get back to having real conversations with folks on Google+ and Twittter. Up until recently Twitter has been my preferred network. I like the easy in controlling – how I want – who I interact with and the nature of how it’s set up.
I’m also looking at using the Hangouts as a way to interact with people involved in my programs. I’m watching with interest in how Google+ develops and grows.
I wonder if Google + will be a roaring success?
Thanks for the tips on Google+. I’ll look into it.
Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
I do believe that Google plus will grow in terms of the millions of users that will potentially flock to it from other major social net works. the thing that will make Google plus more successful is when they start adding more social functions for their Google plus users to integrate into their social business pages, and other little things as well that’ll help Google plus standout from their social networking competitors.last but not least also, a lot of people don’t know that Google plus pages get indexed faster by all major search engines, versus social comments from another major social network.
The point to use G+ as a blog is something that looks good and appealing. As the service is new and is not littered with spam it will certainly be an added bonus for those starting early. I think in the long run it would be more beneficial than facebook and other social media.
On my G+ account I am currently using it to inform readers about my blog updates
I also enjoy going through my timeline and being inspired by what I read.
I just recently can’t down on the people I was following who felt the need to talk about things I’m not interested in.
These came from the suggested people G+ thought I might want in one of my circles.
Come to think about it, I think my twitter account might need some trimming too.
Very insightful update Neil.
I never tried Google+ hangout, I was thinking it is just a video chatting tool but it is more than this. Using Google+ hangout as a pod casting and education tool is is just amazing. Robert Scoble is very active on G+ and promoting his G+ posts as his blog posts.
google + very helpful for bloggers like me.
I did not use google + optimally. this is because many of my blog readers are still using social networking sites like facebook and twitter.
+ google would be a breakthrough new social networking site and I will definitely use it to expand my marketing blog.
Thanks for this post…Never thought G+ can be so useful. I am for sure gonna use them.
Though sometime back, I had an idea of Business using Google plus for customer segmentation. The details of idea can be found on my blog… http://sidsavenue.blogspot.com/2011/10/use-google-plus-to-reach-customers-more.html
Thanks for your thoughts on Google Plus. I’ve loved it ever since it came out beta. Sometimes it’s hard to get heard in all the noise though, since there already are a lot of people in gplus.
I don’t see a Google+ button so I can share this on Google+. Have I missed it?
If not, this is a pretty good WordPress plugin (and strangely enough, it’s called): Google+ Plugin
Great post Neil.
These are great tips, thanks. We have to remember that the big elephant in the room is Google search — if you’re on Google+ you will eventually benefit from your content being searched by Google.
Good points but show me the money. Yes, internet users are fickle and there’s a real possibility that later on down the road they might change based on the influencers moving. I’m not convinced yet, though.
Internet users are many times lazy and are exceptionally comfortable on Facebook. They don’t appear to be so disgruntled that they’ll leave. If Facebook doesn’t control the spam, the exodus might be a possibility.
These are good points about Google+ but I don’t know a person that’s made substantial income as a result of this new platform. At the end of the day, results are what matters most.
I will say I think claiming your personal profile name and business page are good ideas.
This is great article. I was wondering how could I use google+ for traffic generation and “social” communication but I never thought of using it as idea generator. Thanks for this tip.
I might be pointing out the obvious here, but for tip ten, I’d advise you share limited and only to circles that don’t contain your boss / non-friendly colleagues. ;)
Great article. I must confess that I still don’t feel at ease in Google+ since most of my clients and friends are actively using Facebook. But you shared some really actionable tips that I can use to grow my Google+ page. Thanks!
Very good post,a lot to learn from it.
Thank you for this article. To be honest, up until this article I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing on Google+. Now I have the tools to approach it and use it in a beneficial way.
Great article. Google + is still a bit of a mystery to me. Previously I’ve been using it in a similar way to my Facebook fan page but these are some great ideas for the future.
If in doubt start small, and take your time. Don’t forget few knew who Facebook was at one time and it got it’s start on one server.
Great ideas to use Google+ to boost the blog. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas with Us.
Great tips to use Google Plus.Thanks for sharing these valuable tips.
Thanks so much – great piece. I had been thinking of doing g+ hangouts for educational purposes and your post gave me some fab ideas.
This is a great article but google + after few months i think that more important is have a page of google + to future