These last two weeks have exhausting, I’m still recovering from a respiratory infection I got before Thanksgiving, and I’m on my second round of antibiotics. In spite of all that I faced one of the most important catered events of the year at the Mount, a reception for 200 to kick off the beginning of the schools Accreditation, followed by a dinner for 30. Normally it would have been just another day, but after a full day of catering on Saturday, having to come back on Sunday when I wasn’t feeling my best was not on my list of things to do.
Guess who came to the rescue? My Culinary Team. Over the last four years I’ve been teaching students at the Mount the joys of cooking, along with everything that goes along with a catered event like the one we were facing today. They set the room, prepped the Hor Dourves, made both entree’s for the dinner (Lump Crabcakes and Chicken Rollantini), then served the event, and cleaned up afterwards. Three of my girls stayed on to work the dinner after the reception, impressing the Accreditation Team and Admin Staff beyond any expectations. So many people came up to me to compliment them and remark how proud I must be of them. To say I was proud would be an understatement, it was their day to shine and they were the brightest stars at the Mount that day.
How to be a Good Plusser-
Those of you that know me, know by now I believe Google Plus is the future. If you’re not using G+ I can promise you in the next year or two you’re going to wish you had joined and become a good plusser when I urged you to.
While I don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly when G+ will explode into the mega success that it definitely is headed for, I do know it will happen. Google is betting the bank on this one, and you know they’re not going to lose with all the resources at their disposal. That being said, you’re in luck, you still have to time to get on board with G+ and become a good plusser and become that power user that others will be awe of when the world finally embraces G+.
When I first started blogging three years ago and began my social media, I felt as though I was coming late to the dance. So many food bloggers had already mastered social media and were so far ahead of me, I didn’t think I would ever be able to catch up. So when G+ started up last year I jumped on, grabbed the reins with both hands and held on for what I knew would be the ride of my life. It’s not too late to sign on, but you need to understand what it takes to be a good plusser.
But don’t think you can approach G+ like the other social media’s that are out there, If you sign up for G+ and use it like facebook or twitter, you will fail. But guess what even in failure you’ll end helping yourself, because G+ is the only social media that helps you gain more exposure on the Google search engine. Of course you don’t have to fail, and trust me while it’s not rocket science, there is a science to it, so why use G+ wrong, if you can use it right and succeed!
If you’re still not sure don’t take my word for it, you’ll find people all over the internet saying the same that I’ve been telling you for over a year. So why not follow my easy to use guide, in the order it’s written and in no time at all you’ll be a good plusser, making your place in the Google Community.
1. Complete Your Profile- It’s the most important place to start, and really simple. Fill out the entire profile a tagline, your introduction, list your blog as your job, if you don’t want to share any other information. Then add your email (I have tons of followers and rarely get an email don’t worry) , and the rest of the bits they ask for, and please don’t forget to add all of your links! If you have a profile anywhere on the net add it, then where you contribute content too, and lastly add links that don’t fit in anywhere else. You have no idea how important a good complete profile is.
But it’s not complete until you add your picture, and please do us all a favor and pick a picture with enough pixels to hold up when its enlarged. While Blueheads will get you no where, Fuzzy images make people think you just don’t care. This is about connecting with people in the community, not just food bloggers and if you want to be successful don’t be afraid to use a picture of yourself.
2. Google Authorship – I can’t tell you how important this is to your success, so I’m listing this as the second thing to do before you do anything on G+. Follow this link to apply for Google Authorship .
That being said, it’s important to use your actual name. I see many people using a blog name of a combination of their blog and name, but Google was pretty clear about personal accounts listing an actual name. They have not been enforcing this rule on a wide spread scale, but that doesn’t mean that at any time in the future you won’t get an email from them telling you, that your account name does not meet their criteria. You could take a chance that you’ll slip through the cracks, but I wouldn’t.
The other issue is filing for Google Authorship, you want your actual name to be your byline, and you want it to be recognizable. You never know where blogging could lead you and if you began writing for magazines, or cookbooks and you’ll want to receive full credit.
So sign up for Authorship and get the process started. Once you have authorship, your posts will begin to appear with your name and picture beside them. People want to connect with people, so this will help when you come up on searches, this will also help you get more readers, once this relationship is established.
3. Posting on G+ - Google+ is a photo driven community, and plussers love foodporn! When you add your post to G+ upload an image, write a little about what you made and then add the link to your blog. Yes, you can just add a link and your little picture will also be added with your description, but those posts seem to get noticed less and shared less. Personally I only share posts that use large images.
This is also a good way to begin interacting with the community by actually writing something, showing plussers that you care about what you do, they all know the link is easier. There will be times you can only use a link, but for your own work use an image.
This should almost have its own number because it’s that important! Share to Public. You don’t have to share to circles, unless of course its an event, or some special news you reallywant to share. If you only use it for special events, then more people will be apt to read your notices. If you share everything you post to your circles, you’ll just get lost in the shuffle. Over sharing posts also tends to annoy some people, and they view it as spam, this is a good way to lose followers, or be muted. If your muted then none of your posts are received. Muting is a good option to use if someone sends you too many notices and you don’t want to drop them from your circles.
So, Post to Public and only use posting your circles when you really have something important to share. The other benefit of posting to public is that everyone can share your post to public which will get it seen by more people.
4. Be a Good Plusser – That means a few things.
Most importantly get out into the community and meet people who have other interests. Such as Fashion, Photography, Space, Music, or Technology just to mention a few, you can find everything on G+! And after you’ve made some new friend in different areas of G+, guess what’s going to happen? A lot of them are going to read your blog!
Part of being a good plusser is sharing. Finding interesting content on G+ and sharing it with others. You have to remember this is a community, and while it’s fun to share your own posts, that can’t be all you do. I see too many bloggers logging on sharing 2-10 of their posts logging off , and then coming back to see how well they did. Guess what? That doesn’t work on G+, if you only self promote, you will fail. I love hearing comments from bloggers, “oh G+ doesn’t work, or it’s too hard to use”, no it’s not too hard, and I know you guys aren’t dummies. It does take work, but when has anything worthwhile every been easy? And please don’t share more than one of your posts at a time, plussers know what your doing. Space them out if you feel the need to share more than one post, but really should only post one of your posts per day.
I can hear the grumbling! Don’t you know that you’ll get new followers just from sharing someone else’s post? Trust me you will, and guess what? When you share, others will share your work! And each time its shared you get the credit. If you want your post to be seen more, re-posting it every day or three times a day isn’t going to do it. Being a good plusser will. When people leave comments, your post goes back to the top of the stream. That’s all it takes. So if you leave comments, you’re going to get comments. If you +1 other plussers posts, they’re going to +1 your post. If you share posts, your posts will be shared…….
Are you starting to see a pattern? Being a good plusser, not only builds the community, gains you followers, but also gives your posts better exposure. I think that’s really pretty easy when you break it down like that.
Spend 10-15 minutes a day, two times a day going through your circles. Comment, Share, and +1. Of course a little more time would be better, but you can accomplish a lot in just a little time. Sharing others content will also help you get new followers, and keep the ones you have engaged.
5. Use G+ Names – This is the easiest way to get more exposure on the search engines. Little bonus bells go off every time someone mentions you by your G+ name. When you leave a comment or ask a question put the persons name in with a plus in front of it, such as +Chef Dennis Littley. G+ will even help you, as you type in the name choices will appear, you click on it and it finishes the name.
When you mention my name, I’m going to mention yours. The more this happens the more the little bells go off and your name is on the search engine. This is works even better when you’ve gotten Google Authorship.
6. Use Hash Tags – One of the newest search tools on G+ are hash tags. Placing appropriate hash tags at the bottom of your post, will help when other plussers are searching for specific content. Such as #Holidaycookies or #foodporn. It works just like the names, start typing after a hash tag and topics will begin to come up, clicking on the suggested topic will highlight it for you. This is a great way to get new followers!
7. Join in on Group Activities – If you want to find new followers, try joining a group photo post like #caturday or the Canon users group. Sharing an image in these groups will get you the attention you deserve by plussers you wouldn’t have met otherwise.
8. Attend Events or Schedule Your Own – If you haven’t tried the hangouts yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! G+ also has events that you can schedule or simply be a part of. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn something, or just have fun! Using hangouts is being a good plusser!
9. Follow people outside of your comfort zone, Diversify! One of the best things about the G+ community is how many amazing people you’ll meet! In fact Food Photographer Nicole S.Young just got married to someone she met on G+, Brian Matiash. Now of course I’m not saying G+ is a dating sight, I’m just telling you you’ll never know who you might meet if you don’t get out there and try!
10. Be Consistent- Don’t disappear, stop by G+ on a regular basis, post, see your friends, share good content or silly content, get involved, leave comments for total strangers, become part of the community and in no time at all you’ll start to see positive results. Not only on G+ but your hits on the search engines will increase, you’ll have new readers and new friends.
Just remember….. Nothing worthwhile is easy or comes too quickly, it takes work and it takes time! But if you follow my guide you will succeed!
If you have questions about G+, leave them here or drop me an email. If you’re on G+ please make sure I know so I can follow you, and then I’ll take you around to meet neighbors.
See you on G+!