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How to Google Plus

On this week’s show, Mark Tillison is joined by the wonderful Donna Beckett, the driving force behind the Google Plus UK Connect Community sharing with you advice on how to Google Plus.

How to Google Plus

We explore why Google Plus is so important, share tips from our experiences of growing and influencing an audience, and generally how to Google Plus.

Why should I be on Google Plus?

2:46 More and more people are using Google Plus. Many are joining in the conversation, but many are just using it to +1, to review locations or even just to find them. Mark advocates that the “no-one is on Google” argument is nonsense and that even though there may be fewer users on Google Plus, that’s an advantage – it’s easier to stand out in a small crowd!

Is this just Google trying to compete with Facebook and Twitter?

6:54 Donna considers that Google Plus takes the best bits of those other platforms and adds some other great features on top. Different platforms give us a user choice and that’s a good thing.

Mark explains that Google Plus is all about creating a better search engine, using personal connections to influence the search results for each individual user. A hotel in New York is more relevant to you as a user if a friend of yours has stayed there and given it a great review.

What can we do on Google Plus that we can’t do on other platforms?

11:10 Google Plus can be a little overwhelming as it is so feature-rich and the idea of circles can be confusing.

Sharing content privately or with a limited social group can be done on other platforms, although those features have been “retro-fitted”, whereas Google Plus was built with this feature right from the start.

The comment threads and unlimited text give a lot more freedom than other social platforms, as does the integration with the other Google services including YouTube, Google Search and Google Drive etc.

How often should I post on Google Plus?

16:28 The Twitter stream is so fast that you can post every half an hour, but Google Plus isn’t quite so intense. There is no hard and fast rule, but you should post when you have something to share or say.

More importantly, you should engage way more than you post. Mark suggest that you do 4-10 times more commenting and conversation on other people’s content than sharing your own.

How do I get people to engage with my Google Plus posts?

20:17 The easiest way to get people to engage on your posts is to create amazing content, but that’s tough. It’s better to engage and build relationships with others and share their content – those “friends” are way more likely to share your content too.

How do I gain more followers on Google Plus?

25:56 Donna advocates posting publicly rather than to private circles. Posting to private circles means that many users can not see or share your content and Google can not index it either.

Donna also recommends that you show up and engage every day, even in a small way. Follow lots of relevant people, but don’t “scatter-gun” in the hope that you’ll be followed back.

Using hashtags can also help a relevant audience find your content.

Why did you start the UK Connect Community?

32:36 It was a bit of a challenge to those that said, “no one in the UK uses Google Plus”. Donna had a stack of UK users in circles – she’d materially built a community without the structure of a Google Plus Community.

At the time of recording, the UK Connect Community has over 1,600 members and is growing strong.

What are Google Hangouts?

37:31 Google Hangouts On Air (HOAs) are live chats between a host and 1-10 other guests, streamed live and recorded to YouTube. A Hangout is the same, except it is private and doesn’t get recorded to YouTube.

About Google Plus and SEO

42:41 Too many people broadcast on Social Media and Google Plus focusing more on SEO than the social value of engaging an audience – those people are less likely to build relationships on the Google Plus platform and reach the goals they were hoping to achieve.

Google Plus is really valuable for SEO, but your focus should be relationships and reputation, wrapping SEO around your content and activities rather than it being your primary reason for being there.

 Mark demonstrates personalised search, with different search results showing when logged in to Google Plus – one showing a post influenced by a personal connection, one where that same post is absent.

Should I have a Google Plus profile or a Google Plus page?

48:47 For personal engagement, you should have a Google Plus profile. For most businesses, keep the cat pictures, morning sunrises and eCards on your personal profile and keep your Google Plus page for content which is consistent with your brand or content that is actually your own.

 Use the personal accounts to reshare content from your page. In this way, the individual accounts support and build the authority of your brand or local business page.

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