You’ve heard all the fuss. You joined the network. You now have a Google Plus profile. The next question has to be, so what? It’s most likely you do not have any of your Facebook friends there, right now, and even if you did what’s the point of interacting with them at Google Plus when you already do so on Facebook.
If you are a Google Plus newbie and don’t yet know quite what to expect this guide is here to help get you started.
Google Plus for SEO
If you are running any kind of business and want a boost in your online presence Google Plus is an instant fix. Google uses posts and social activity in the Google Plus environment to draw a social signal that acts as a ranking factor (but not yet a ranking signal) for Google search.
In non-SEO speak it means that Google takes it into account and since Google is creating a semantic search index where it uses information from across the web to independently decide what your site does and does not do, your sharing of its contents in the G+ stream, certainly helps.
Create a personal profile and use that as you would normally and, if required, also create a Google Page about your business. Be aware that personal profiles and Pages have slightly different functionality in the way they can interact with the Google Plus population. Do not do anything that remotely resembles spamming the stream thinking that this is clever digital marketing. Try to imbue everything you do there with authenticity and a sense of reason.
Google Plus for Knowledge
Beyond the obvious benefits in terms of SEO and the possibility that you can find people to market your business to, Google Plus is a great way to find out about new things, discover news which you might otherwise have missed and come across interesting people who are passionate about what they do and more than willing to give you the kind of knowledge and expertise you can only get from real experts. Plus, the fact that you can openly discuss thoughts and ideas, creates a heady atmosphere of excitement that in itself is contagious and frequently leads to fresh ideas.
Google Plus Guide
When it comes to learning how to use Google Plus few guides even come close to the ones put together by Denis Labelle. It will take you some time to get through it all but it’s worth keeping in mind that Google Plus is a constant learning experience. The network, its people and its tropes are in a constant state of shift and that is exactly what makes it such a dynamic, happening and fun environment.
Get there to add some sparkle to your online, digital, social interaction, learn new things, keep up to date with interests and even meet new people.
Say Goodbye to Isolation
The obvious thing you can use Google Plus for however is plain old personal interaction. Whether you get into the trend of Hangouts with people, make use of Google chat, hold private conversations within the Google Plus stream or simply join the on-going conversation in the public stream, you can bet that feeling ‘alone’ will be the last thing that comes to your mind.
In the world of the digital worker, where timezones and geographic locations become largely immaterial the real danger for the hyper-connected ones is the lack of human contact. Of all the social networks to date Google Plus comes closest to that virtual contact that best approximates the real thing.
Find New People
One of the things I love about the web is the fact that you can connect with people whose thoughts, ideas and interests synch with my own and whom I would never have come across otherwise. On any given day I may interact with photographers, self-employed professionals, dedicated amateurs, retirees and company directors of all races, nationalities and levels of experience, plus I Hangout On Air with a British Gold Medal Olympian. For a person who, by choice, works largely online these days, I can safely say that my world has been transformed.
In the 20 seconds it takes to commute from the bedroom to the office I can, at any time of the day, connect with a world that’s colorful, challenging, bursting with inspiration and ideas.
Making Google Plus Work For You
How to make Google Plus actually work for a person is probably the most common question I am asked. Those who ask it have either heard the criticism of the network and do not know what to expect or are newcomers who don’t know what yet to do. There are three things I say to this:
- Treat Google Plus like your local library but staffed with experts: It is exactly the same as your local library in terms of finding out about stuff you like, or new stuff you had never even thought about. Plus it’s full of people who willingly give their time, expertise and knowledge and are willing to actually talk to you.
- Treat Google Plus like a new neighbourhood filled with exciting people: You just moved to town and don’t know anyone there. You really have one of two choices. Stay in and never go out and the guarantee will be that you will forever alone. Or, get out and about, join groups, conversations, and subjects, open up and take a little risk and the chances of being rewarded with a totally enriching experience are pretty high.
- Treat Google Plus like your grandma’s living room: It’s not the place to convert people to anything. You cannot use it to sort out the ills of the world and you should absolutely not use it in any way you would not be happy to have your grandmother see. So be respectful, challenge without threatening, listen even if you don’t agree, think before you respond and remember that ultimately, even a point of view that does not agree with yours has a strong place in the world and it can lead to intellectual enrichment.
And that’s it. Oh, and don’t forget to look me up and say hi!