Google Plus It’s Worth the Climb

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Stairway to Google Plus

Do we really need another Google+ “how-to” article?

C’mon, I saw your eyes roll.

There’s a reason hundreds of G+ posts are clogging up your bookmarking and desktop folders. (I contributed a few myself.)

A lot of people are confused, curious, or dismissive at Google+. I understand those in the curious and confused camp.

Those that are dismissive fall into the following categories:

  •       SEO companies in denial that their business model has changed
  •       Marketers who don’t see advertising potential there and
  •       Companies believing their customers aren’t there.  

Google+ is a different digital space that requires technical and strategic know-how.

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ~ Eric Schmidt

On this week’s G+ Tips & Topics Lunch HOA show, it was suggested that people were not only intimidated by Google+, but by Twitter and other digital platforms as well. This technology and the strategies that go along with them are not intuitive. Even those considered as early adopters struggle to keep up. I didn’t get Facebook at first (not quite sure I do still). The appeal and relevance of Twitter was a mystery.

Anything worthy is worth working for. Whether it’s a relationship or a kick-ass apple pie, you need to put the time in if you want to reap the benefits.

Google Plus Warp Drive

Don’t Plus Without a Plan

Learning how to use Google+ is like re-learning how to use the web. G+ is the petrie dish in the Google lab for cultivating a semantic web culture. We are well on our way to an internet that is person, not keyword centred.

Everything that Google+ is great at (content marketing, networking, influence building and lead generation) is what we should be doing with our own websites.

Google Authorship and Publisher implemented, our online content is thrust into warp drive.
Part of what makes Google+ so overwhelming is the number of components it has:

None of these will work for you unless you have targeted, useful and relevant content to share.

Google+ is a content machine

1. Create a S.M.A.R.T content strategy. Approach your Google+ Page as you would a new website.

2. Know who you’re addressing and what content you want to share with them. Who’s your target audience and what stories do you want to share with them?

3. Gather the content you already have (you do have some) then develop a posting strategy. Newspaper features, promotion pieces, in house training videos, anything that will help communicate who you are and what you offer should be repurposed for G+ hangouts, posts, and YouTube videos (yes, I’m including YouTube here).

4. Before launching your Google+ Page, seed it with visual and helpful content. This way, when you start to make connections and they check out your Page, they’ll be more likely to circle you back and engage.

5. Because each post has it’s own URL and is indexed, follow basic SEO best practices by optimizing post titles, keywords and text formatting.

Bold  = *bold*        Italicize  = _italicize_      strike through  = -strikethrough-

6. Get Google authorship and link to your website/blog.  This verifies your identity with Google and attaches anything you publish on the web to it. Authenticity and content value (not just on Google+) is an important factor in where you place in SERPs. It’s also is the way to have your mug show up in search results which improve click throughs and blog traffic. For directions on how to do this, check out D.J. Thistle’s post: How to Set Up Google Authorship for your Website

7. Mix it up.  Use mixture of images, video, text. Google+ loves images but also loves long form posts.  I write and curate all kinds of content on Google+, but it’s typically my #punday posts that  tend to get more +1’s.  Plus 1′s are as valuable as pennies in Canada. It’s better to work at creating deeper engagement with a targeted audience made up of potential clients and influencers.

8. Balance original and curated content. Google loves original content, but also recognizes importance of quality curated posts. It’s important that it’s helpful to your audience and if you’re sharing, be sure to add personal commentary to let people know why you’re sharing it.

What’s your biggest challenge with Google+?

You can find more tips on optimizing your posts here:  5 Ways to Optimize Your Google+ Posts.

If you’d like to join my Google+ Tips & Topics Communitysubscribe to my weekly newsletter and I’ll send you an invitation. 

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Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. He's a believer in the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking. Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus on his blog: NewRayCom.com. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and freelancers. Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz
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