That’s Google Plus to you and I, and I had been wondering what all the fuss was about Google Plus. Been wondering about it for about one year (I actually started my first Google Plus account the week it began). It is only within the last few weeks that I have been seeing the benefits to yet another social network (insert exasperated sigh here). But it took reading two books by greater minds than mine to make me see the light. But I digress…
Google Plus is Google’s response to Facebook and Twitter, in fact many people liken G+ (as Google Plus is called) to a combination of the two behemoths. As of now, there are between 60 and 80 million users (they expect to hit 400 million by the end of 2012), with approximately 86 % male (as opposed to Pinterest which is 84% female). It is comprised of mostly “techie” people and social media types (60% identify themselves as web developers or software engineers). And businesses have been able to create pages for only about 6 months.
So, why engage in yet another social network? That was my exact question. What would I get from G+ that I couldn’t get from Facebook and Twitter?
The answer is actually quite simple.
Great conversations. With great minds.
After reading both What the Plus! Google Plus for the Rest of Us (amazon affiliate link), by Guy Kawasaki and Google Plus for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything (amazon affiliate link) by Chris Brogan, my attitude immediately changed. Guy’s book is a perfect primer on how to start using G+ and how to set up and optimize your profile, and how to use and engage on G+ to its fullest. I don’t think you will get a better beginner book than this one. And Brogan’s book is a great outline on how to better put G+ to use to grow your business. After all, he has completely abandoned Facebook in favor of G+.
So, what do they suggest? Glad you asked.
Setting up your profile for success
The first place to start with any new social network is your profile. It is the world’s first introduction to you and your personality. It is the first thing I look at before I decide to like, follow, or circle you. It tells me who you are and what I can expect from you on this platform. And the best way to start this is with a picture. Not a picture of an egg (the default Twitter icon), and not a picture of your dog. A picture of you. A decent picture of you. One from the shoulders up, so that if we meet at an event, there is already that feeling of familiarity. Even think about using a similar picture throughout your entire social presence, so that if I follow you on twitter, and we are friends on Facebook, I know you are you.
The next most important aspect of a G+ profile is the “about” section. This is where you tell people who you are, where you work, how to contact you, and allows you to list websites and blogs that you write for. In addition, you are given the opportunity to provide a headline, which is what people will see when they hover over your name within G+.
The about section is your chance for personality. If you are a “reformed attorney,” say it. If you like pie, tell us. But tell us all about you. There is nothing worse than a profile that indicates “male” and nothing more. That tells me there is either nothing about you worth sharing or you don’t trust us enough to share with us. It tells me you didn’t care enough about participating in G+ to take the time to fill out who you are.
Circle The Wagons
The final step in setting up your profile is the “circling”. What, you ask, is circling? It’s “liking” and following all rolled into one. It’s G+’s way of organizing your friends. You create circles, and these circles are private (unless you choose to share them). You can create circles based upon interest, people to follow, or even have one circle for “haters” if you wanted. Go crazy. Have as many as you want and name them anything.
Once you create your circles, you just have to move someone to a circle and you are following them. You will see all of their updates in your “stream”. There is no requirement that they circle you back, although they most probably will.
And now the perfection of circles — you can share updates with only the people in specific circles, and you can prevent those people from restarting the content, and even commenting. Yes, you can have small group discussions, just with. Specific circles. And only those people will see it.
For example, let’s say your entire family is on G, and you have them in a circle called, “Family”. You can plan your holiday dinner, by just sharing with your family circle. And everyone in the circle can participate in real time.
Need to see each other face to face? There’s an app for that. G+ has something called “Hangouts” which allows you to video chat with up to 10 people at a time. I know, WOW, right?
So, stop reading, and set up your Google Plus profile today and start circling all those great minds. And don’t be afraid to engage them. Both Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki respond on Google plus themselves.
Feel free to circle me on GooglePlus. Are you using GooglePlus? Finding success? Not “seeing” it? Let’s talk.
Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.
- Google+ Users Are Nearly All Male
- Google Plus for Dummies: Setting it up for the first time
- How to Use Google Plus
- Google Plus – How To Use Google Plus (Video)