Fans of Doctor Who will be familiar with the TARDIS, the Time Lord’s spacecraft that doubles as a time machine. The outstanding feature of the TARDIS is that from the outside it looks like an antique London Police Box. Once you enter though, you’re in the nerve centre of a unimaginably massive and complex vessel.
Google+ is a portal that looks deceptively like other social platforms. It has all the technology you need to propel you to whatever destination you choose. It can be as trivial as Caturday or as arcane as the cosmos.
I’m not going to kid you and say that it’s an easy platform to master.
It’s been two weeks since Google unveiled over 40 updates at the I/O Developers Conference and I’m still prodding and testing the new features.
As in most things, persistence pays off. The updates have improved the platform’s ability to connect, research and do business.
Here are a couple reasons (with some tips) why Google+ is bigger on the inside than it seems..
The SEO benefits of Google+ is regularly brought up as being the reason to be on Google+. With good reason.
Google indexes your google posts at warp speed (sorry to mix sci-fi references) but you’re just joyriding unless you’re going somewhere.
Let Google know who you are:
Aside from the obvious advantages of verifying your name with Google Authorship, Google needs to find relevant content on your Google+ page to index.
Google treats Google+ posts and your “about” pages as it does a blog post. Each has it’s own “url”.
The new design is all about index cards. Each card holding valuable information about who you are, where you are what you do. Start with your G+ business card; the Hover card.
Regarding Google search:
1. Post publicly if you want to be found on Google Search.
This is important to remember if you’re building your brand. Posting to circles (privately) will only be found in searches done by people in your circle if they do “personalized searches – Search Plus Your World (where it’s available)
2. Your search results will be influenced by the “influence” of the people in your circles.
For example, here’s a search I did for “basics of Google+ Hangouts”
While my original post didn’t come up in the top 5, Mark Traphagen’s share of my post did.
Since Mark is a “Google+ influencer” and we interact fairly regularly on G+, his share ranked higher than my post.
The same has happened with my shares of other people’s posts. Search and influence is increasingly being affected by “authority.” It’s the quality of friends and not the number that count. (Just like in real life.)
Social Networking -
Finding people, building networks and nurturing communities is where Google+ shines. Every area of the platform is an opportunity to discover and interact with someone.
Here are three ways I use Google+ to discover, maintain and build my network.
1. Discover with #hashtags.
If a post has “auto Hashtag” enabled (default), you can click on the hashtag and the card will flip to show related posts. This is a good way to discover new people who post about topics you’re interested in (it’s also a cool curation tool.) After the 4th flip, the card will reveal related hashtags.
2. Use Notification “bell” on circles.
On your Homepage, select a Circle.
At the top right is a notification bell that if you turn on, will notify you when anyone in that cirlce post something.
Obviously, you don’t want to do this with very large circles. But if you’re nurturing a new relationship and want to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to respond to someone’s post, this is excellent. of doing that.
3. Explore, interact and create Communities
“You don’t have community until the members begin to talk to one another without the help of the author.” – Mitch Joel
I came across this Mitch Joel quote via Gini Dietrich’s post: Building a Community: What’s the Secret Sauce?
Google+ has always been the place where people with interests in common as opposed to history in common go to explore and interact.
There is a community for just about any topic you can think of.
Communities are great places to hang out (literally) and share your expertise. They can be as casual, geekish or academic as you like.
My favourite are those that reflect real life communities where people come together over a common interest then form friendships that transcend them.
I have a private Community made up of subscribers to my Weekly Google+ Tips Newsletter. Each week they’re invited to a Google+ Hangout where we discuss Google+ tips, and social media in general.
Many have become regulars and over the weeks, have formed friendships. Sometimes, I feel like I’m hosting a party and I’m stuck in the kitchen mixing drinks while all the fun is happening in the living room.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the features inside Google+.
How can I?
When you open the G+ door, you fall into the whole Google universe.
How’s your journey been so far?