Google+: 8 Tips to Maximize Your Google+ Experience
Google+! Wondering what all the buzz is about?
If you're like many social media savvy people, either you've jumped into Google+ or you've been considering getting serious about it for a long time now. The 2 1/2-year-old platform has proven it's worth and has become the 2nd largest social networking site, after Facebook. Still looking for a little bit of inspiration to jump on the Google+ bandwagon? Look no further.
Mom It Forward has spent some time studying how to build your brand on Pinterest. We've shared some insider tips on Facebook and even on how social media can impact your SEO, but nothing has been as exciting as the potential of G+ in a long time.
Google has described Google+ as a "social layer" that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author. For these reasons specifically, Google+ is the ideal place for a blogger! Chances are, you're already using other Google services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Android, Google Play, Google Music, Google Voice, Google Wallet, Picassa, and Google Local. Getting involved in Google+ is the natural evolution.
Eight Tips to Hitting the Ground Running on Google+
1. Create a Google+ Account
Chances are, you already have a Google+ account. If you use any of Google's other platforms, you already exist. One sign-in or one account is all you need. Visit plus.google.com and sign in! If you do not have other Google accounts, select the "Create an account" option.
2. Update Your Google+ User Profile
Updating your profile can help people connect with you more easily. Choose a profile picture that is recognizable and add other details that say a little about who you are. To do this, place your cursor in the top left corner for the Google+ main menu. Click Profile > About to view your profile.
Your profile also includes several identity service sections, such as a contributor, that lets you link your "properties across the web". You may choose to link to other social media accounts you have as well as any blogs you own or contributor to.
3. Create and Add People to Google+ Circles
Circles create the essence and foundation of Google+ and allow you to organize the people you follow into groups. Once you create a circle, you can share specific content to only that circle. For example, you could share blog promotion with your community and followers while keeping family content saved and shared with only your family members. Either way you share, the option to share Public (with everyone) is always available.
When a G+ user follows you—or adds you to their circles—they are giving you permission to email them. This makes G+ a powerful and valuable marketing tool.
4. Use Google+'s +1 Feature
Google+'s +1 feature is related to the "Like" button on Facebook, though much more powerful. +1'ing something 'recommends' it, therefore the number of +1s a post or site receives, the higher it's Google search rankings. (SEO magic!) When building a Google+ following and engaging with your followers, make sure to share the love and +1 often on posts you like.
5. Create a Google+ Page and Get Visual!
Google Pages are similar to Facebook Fan Pages, giving businesses, including websites/blogs, an opportunity to connect with fans. If you have a Facebook Fan Page for your site, consider setting up a G+ Page to reach a broader and much more international audience. G+ does not penalize for visuals in your posts or promotions and there are no ever-changing algorithms that dictate who can see your content and who will not. In fact, G+ users love great full-sized visuals which is perfect for bloggers! So, get visual by posting beautiful images and watch the +1s come rolling in.
To find Pages, click Click Home > Pages. You will be redirected to a page where you can "Create a Page".
6. Start and/or Participate in Google+ Communities
Only about a year old, G+ Communities allow G+ users to connect in collaborative forums and easily find others that share their same interests. Bloggers can join other blogging communities, communities specific to their niche, or can even create communities of their own!
To find Communities click Click Home > Communities. Home is found in the top left hand corner of any G+ page and placing your cursor on the left hand side of your screen will open a drop down menu of tools and options. Search for keywords related to your own interests and join related communities. Start engaging!
7. Attend or Host a Private Google+
Hangouts are free private video conferencing calls with up to 10 people, facilitated through G+ or their mobile app. Once you've initiated a private Hangout, grab the Hangout URL (at the top of the window) and invite others to join directly by emailing them the direct link. Google+ hangouts offer tools, apps, and features to enhance your experience. You can screen-share, add effects, and more. Collaborate easily with this face-to-face interactive tool.
8. Attend or Host a Google+ Hangout on Air
Google+ Hangouts on Air or (HOAs) are similar to private Google+ Hangouts but are broadcast live. These simple, free, and easy-to-run instant webcasts are a great way to build and broaden your reach. Many social media professionals consider Google+ Hangout and HOA options the #1 reason to migrate over to the platform.
Once you associate your Google+ account with your YouTube account, the HOAs you produce stream live on your Google+ account as well as on your YouTube account where they are then archived and added to your YouTube content. You can promote your Google+ HOA on every social platform, therefore you may utilize the technology but still reach your audiences where they are most comfortable.
Using the Google+ platform allows you to connect with your community on a whole new level, create video content, and so much more.
Taking the Google+ Plunge in 2014
Experts claim that 2014 will bring a trend emphasis on the importance of video and Google+. Jump in now and find yourself on the cutting edge. Fall in love with all the integrated options Google+ has to offer you and open your blog and content up to a whole new range of people throughout the world!
Stay tuned for our 7-part series where we dive into everything you need to know to maximize Google+ as a platform and to pioneer the space. In the meantime, remain one step ahead of everyone and ensure you're using the most current G+ logo!
Have you jumped into Google+? What are your favorite things about it? Tips? Best practices?