From a Facebook Caterpillar to a Google Plus Butterfly
As the community manager of a popular website, I spend a lot of time on social networks. I occasionally get so wrapped up in strategies and methods that I forget how to just use social media like a regular guy. Naturally, when Google Plus first came out and they were still doing the “invite only” beta testing, I was curious and signed up.
I looked around Google Plus for about 30 minutes, was unimpressed, and left. For the next six months I made a routine of haphazardly checking in, looking to see if any of my Facebook friends were there, and numbly posting content. I was getting tired of the sound of crickets that greeted my posts and eventually stopped posting altogether. It wasn’t until I read “What the Plus,” written by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former Apple employee, that I figured out what I was doing wrong.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading this eBook. (I paraphrase the most important steps to improving your Google Plus experience below.) The MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER from this post is the following: Take it slow.
The so-called Google Plus experts always express a tone of urgency, implying that you need to create an account and work on becoming a master right away. Forget that; get involved in Google Plus at the pace that is comfortable for you. With that in mind, here are the steps I took to get used to – and later excel at – using Google Plus:
Google Plus Mastery Step I – Watch & Listen
The most fundamental thing you can know about Google Plus is what kinds of content and topics people post about there. Google Plus is not Facebook, and it certainly is not Twitter; posting identical things on these social networks is a major faux pas.
You can learn all you need to know about posting on Google Plus by observing what other people post about. Doing so will help you figure out the style of posts, what type of content is popular, how to interact via sharing, how to “+1,” and how to make comments. When you come to Google Plus, you’re not only learning about a new social media platform, but a new, vibrant audience as well.
Google Plus Mastery Step II – Interact
After you’re used to finding content you think is interesting or useful, start talking to people about it. Even if your comments are as simple as “great article, I plan to work on… ” initiating conversations by contributing your opinion is probably the best (and definitely the easiest) way to create connections and make friends.
My advice is to find something you’re passionate about and then post repeatedly and enthusiastically on that subject. With this strategy, you will develop a reputation for being an expert in your chosen field; pursue this strategy well enough and soon Google Plus users will be tripping over themselves to interact with you.
Google Plus Mastery Step III – Share
It’s important to post content on your profile so others have something to interact with, but it is also important to remember that interaction isn’t a one-way street. One of the major mistakes I made when I first started using Google Plus was sharing my own content over and over without sharing others’ or making any effort to interact. At that time, I had heard of the SEO benefits of Google Plus but didn’t know that without the right interaction, having an account amounts to nothing.
Again, there is no hurry to get started on Google Plus. The social network isn’t funded by some basement company after all; it’s the prodigal child of Google, a multibillion-dollar tech giant that virtually runs the Internet, with teams of brilliant developers constantly working to make it better. There’s nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed by the need to learn something that is entirely new to you. But, since most agents work full time with no virtual assistant, and barely keep up with Facebook and Twitter, your daily forays into Google Plus should be seen as mini-vacations where you can escape – albeit temporarily – from your obligations.
The Three Great Google Plus Fears
Remember the “Three Great Fears” of Google Plus I mentioned yesterday?
- I don’t get it,
- No one is there, and,
- I don’t have time.
Hopefully, after reading this blog post you will have conquered the first fear.
Speaking on behalf of the 28 million Google Plus users, I’m a little offended that the second fear even exists. I hope that by watching and interacting on Google Plus, you’ll know that the second fear can be conquered as well.
As for the last fear, remember the point I’ve been repeating ad nauseam: There is no hurry. As long as you understand that Google Plus is important and will affect your business, you can spend as much time as you want, when you want.
Want some help going social with your business? Call us at 800.305.9420 x4 or use our contact form.
Your turn! What has prevented you from using Google Plus? Or, are you already sold? Please tell us about it below!
- The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Google Plus – Illustrated (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Facebook content indexed by Google? (daniweb.com)
- Google + Business Pages Showing Up in Primary Search Results (fruition.net)
- 64 Google+ Content Strategies [Infographic] (copyblogger.com)