OK, I admit it… I am not a guy and not a geek, so it has taken me a while to truly embrace Google Plus . I know that using Google+ is great for search engine juice and that there are some very interesting people to meet there who don't hang out as much on Facebook and Twitter – but Google Plus isn't quite as engaging as Pinterest (or even Facebook). I did have a chance to “hangout”with the Buzzboosters once in Google+, and I see the potential – but I'm just not there yet.
To help me get over my Google+ issues, I recently read Guy Kawasaki's new book What the Plus! which explains Google + step by step in a way that got me excited.
Here are five hits from the book for getting more from Google+:
1. Spend some time on your profile This is your Google+ welcome mat. Once of the most important things is to make sure that you have an engaging tagline (that contains your keywords). This will help you out in Google too. Make sure that you avatar picture is focused in on your face (since it isn't that large). If you can get a picture where your personality shines through – all the better. Also, like Facebook, Google+ has a scrapbook area — use this to your advantage. Unlike Facebook, the pictures don't randomly display – so you can split one large picture into 5 pieces.
2. Use the Right Kind of Comments In Google+ Guy mentions two types of Google+ comments, drive by comments and long form comments. The drive by comments — are quick +1 (this is the same as like in Facebook), sharing the post, giving someone a mention (this is like using the @ in Facebook). There is nothing wrong with these quick bites – especially when you are just getting started. The difference between Google+ and Facebook comments, is that Google+ allows to do LONG comments (which are almost blog posts themselves). The key to getting this right is to make sure that you are adding value to the original content.
3. Optimize Your Posts for Google Social Search Have you noticed that when you search google – you are getting more results from people you know? Sometimes, the results come with little pictures next to them? That is called google social search — and is a big bonus for using Google+. The way to optimize those results is to look on Google+ and see which circles people have put you into (for example, I am in a lot of social media and business coaching circles). If I post and share items in those areas, it is likely that I will show up in the social search results for those areas.
4. Host Your Own Private Hangout Party I think that Google+ hangouts are one of the best kept secrets… they are very easy to use — and have great potential for coaches and people who want to meet in small groups. If you want a step by step on how to set one up check out Meredith Eisenberg's post on how to set up a google hangout.
5. How to Attract More Followers This was my favorite chapter of the e-book. Guy gives some great hints on how to get more followers — much of what he recommends goes for Facebook and Twitter too (share interesting things, be helpful, take part in conversations). The hint that is uniquely Google+ is to create specific circles — i.e. social media, knitting, etc and add people to them.
If you are interested in learning Google+, I recommend that you check out Guy's book – What the Plus!. In addition to having some excellent strategy hints, the book has screenshots to lead you step by step through what you need to do to get set up and productive on Google+