Google+, How to be a Good Plusser , and What’s Going on at the Mount

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+!

Comments

  1. Thanks to you, I have been learning a lot about G+, I am frustrated I waited so long. I agree with your conclusions that those who don’t adopt this will regret this at some point in the future.

  2. another fantastic G+ post from our favorite G+ expert! Thank you Dennis for all you do to support this community – your information is invaluable. I am finally getting the hang of G+, and really enjoying it!

    hope you’re feeling better soon!

    • Thanks Kristina, it’s my pleasure to help keep our community informed! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your time on G+

  3. Another fabulous post! First of all, you have some wonderful girls there, you must be so proud.
    And secondly, thank you for more G+ info! I”ve been sharing to public AND circles… I’ll remove that and just make it public. Thanks for keeping us informed Chef!!

  4. Thanks for the insight about G+! I have been on it for a while but haven’t been using it to its full potential.

    And kudos to your diligent students for rising to the challenge!

  5. Useful post, I didn’t know about the google authorship, I’ll have to look into that :-)
    Hope you’re feeling a lot better now.

    Oh…why doesn’t your blog have a Google+ button?!

    • Thanks! I do have G+ buttons on my blog, directly underneath each post and my G+ follow button is on my side bar.

  6. You’re absolutely right about The Plus, Chef Dennis. I took your advice and in a short time I’ve seen an increase in traffic plus an increase in engagement. Like you, I find that I simply do not share a food post that doesn’t have a nice image. Thanks for the excellent information you’ve provided.

  7. Chef Dennis you are the man. You guided us through all phases of Foodbuzz and and now with G+. Your dedication to the food blogging community is greatly appreciated. Thank you for this reminder to get familiar with G+ and all it has to offer.

    • Thank you Sandra, it’s my pleasure to help my friends! This is our new home Sandra, and once you get the hang of it, its even better than foodbuzz, all they need is a top 9!

  8. Well shoot, I’ve been sharing posts with my circles. Thanks for that piece of info. Chef Dennis, I’m loving your posts about Google+ I learn so much and appreciate your dedication to get us on board. Heading over there now to practice. And yikes about being under the weather during such a busy and important time for you. Thank goodness for such a good team to make the event successful.

    • That’s ok Lea Ann, one of the reasons I wrote this post was to help everyone learn the rules of the road,so to speak. I want all of my friends to become stars of G+! My girls really came through, I don’t know what I would have done without them.

  9. First of all Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us Chef! always appreciated!

    I felt the same way as you described it when I started to blog 1 1/2 years back. Everyone was just way ahead in Twitter FB and co. At that time Google+ had just released and you could only join with an invite since it was in some kind of testing time. I am very happy that I joined early enough. I feel its obvious that google isn’t just playing around with that one, they are planning big and I can see it already in my organic search traffic.

    To take part in the authorship program is so easy now as well. In may 2012 I tried to add it to my blog with that rel code but it was a headache and I gave up. In september I tried it again and it took 2-3 weeks for Google to approve it. I guess soon it might take longer, so the earlier you set it up the better! Honestly when I look for something in google, I ll always click first on the links with the author picture at the side.

    another cool thing is the personalized search option. Some of your search results in google might have been recommended before in google+ by a person you have circled. Sometimes I ll rather click on a search result link when my friends enjoyed it before!

    There is no reason why you shouldn’t be using google+ as a blogger. I can see other social networks going down and I know its a waste of time to even hangout there a minute more, but google+ is not one of them. Google is the big brother of the internet world and they are obviously fed up of being pushed down by Facebook (who works with bing by the way).

  10. Have I ever told you that you are THE BEST!! Well you are! You have always shared everything you know with us and I want you to know that I really really really appreciate it. Really!

  11. First rate information from a Top Chef. Thanks Dennis for an accurate account of how to navigate G+. Not only do you generously give of yourself on and about the platform, but from the looks of things, the girls at The Mount are your benefactors too. Bravo!

    • Thanks Brooks! It’s always a pleasure to help my friends and help keep our community strong! As for my girls, I was the benefactor this week, they really outdid themselves.

  12. Thanks so much, Dennis! Google Authorship is new to me. I’ll have to look into it.

  13. This is one of the BEST articles I have ever seen on How To Use Google+ ! Thanks for generously sharing this. I’m going to forward this to others who need to know more about this new platform. I will follow all your advice diligently. Hope you’re feeling better soon, Chef Dennis! You have a great culinary team there because they’ve got an awesome leader in you!

  14. Thanks Betty Ann! I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed the post and I appreciate you passing it along! My girls really saved me Sunday, they are the best!

  15. Great advice Chef! I always love seeing these posts, they help everyone out immensely!

  16. Dennis, thank you ever so much for your words of wisdom. Gosh, I should pop in far more often and take the time to learn these important steps. Love this tutorial: it’s really appreciated since I’ve never really understood the circles part etc. I find it spooky the number of people who can add you and they’re serious looking dogs or other pets, which makes it all rather confusing and off-putting. But now convinced I should persevere.
    Hope you’re back to your healthy self in no time. I don’t know how you do it, even with a super team of girls!

  17. Thanks for such a great explanation, you’ve convinced me I need to get onboard!

  18. Fantastic! I joined G+ at your suggestion and am slowly learning. There is far more of a community feel than on Twitter or Facebook and the more I learn about it, the more I love. Thank you!

    Sidenote: Google authorship only works if you have a verified domain email address. I think this is relatively easy to set up.

  19. Chef, this is the perfect post for beginner G plussers! Once I realized that G+ was just like facebook as far as tagging and sharing from others, it became second nature. Now I just need to remember to share my own posts, lol. Do you know if G+ has any plans for a schedule feature, like facebook? I hate when I remember to go to G+ at midnight, I know that most of those I’d like to interact with have already gone to bed.

    • I don’t think they are going in that direction. Having a schedule feature makes it impersonal and like other social media. The idea is to interact more than self promote, so I don’t see them adding that any time soon.

  20. What a fantastic post! Such great information. I’m still getting the hang of Google+ and I’m definitely not a good plusser just yet but thanks to you, hopefully I’ll get better at it.

  21. Thanks to you, Chef Dennis, I am now up and running on Google+. Followed your steps … which were amazingly helpful. I so appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with us newbies!

  22. Great post Chef Dennis. I find myself heading over to your site when ever I need some advice about food blogging. I like your 10 tips about Google +. Thanks again Chef

  23. GREATJOB! YOU’RE AN INSPIRATION TO YOUR FOLLOWERS (INCLUDING ME). THANK YOU,
    LAYNE WORLDRD

    • Thanks Layne, Community is important to me, and I’ve always felt that Together we have a voice and are stronger. G+ is the perfect place for us to connect and with communities it also provides us with the means to start our own niche groups and develop our own community of like minded people.

  24. Dennis, your dedication to your school, the girls, food, G+, and people in general deserves a great big HUG! Thank you.

  25. Great read!!! the mist is clearing from my eyes very informative big thanks

  26. This is a really great post, most of the tips on Google+ are so new to me that I think this will be my beginner reference guide: I will have to come back and read it again. Thank you so much, Chef Dennis, for putting this together. Especially at a time when you were so busy with your school and recovering from the cold. I hope you are feeling much better now. Have a great week and see you on Google+ :-)

  27. Thanks Dennis, there´s always something else to do (like authorship or using my picture!) that helps. Kudos to your students, you taught them well!

  28. Good overview, Dennis! I’ve recently gotten re-energized for G+ participation, thanks in part to connecting with more food bloggers via the group you created.

    One question on the point your sharing just to “public” vs. “circles”. I’ve tended to take a different approach, sharing things to particular circles that I think would be more interested in the content I am posting. My thought was the people I connect with related to my day job (running a nonprofit organization) don’t want to see all my food posts, and vice versa. I may need to re-think that a bit perhaps.

    • Thanks David! The only problem I see with sharing to a circle, if it’s something you want everyone to see, it makes it difficult to reshare. But if it’s a message specific message for a group of like minded people then thats probably the only group you do want to send it to, and that’s ok. My problem is with bloggers who send so many things and all to just other bloggers. Its like being on a hamster wheel, they expend energy and get no where fast.
      I think you have the right idea with sharing to a specific group for other posts, but with your food posts just sharing to public is a good way to go, so you attract more followers.

  29. Good points Dennis! I will probably experiment a bit with your suggested method.

  30. Hi Chef Dennis, hope you are getting much better now with the second dose of antibiotics. Thank you so much for writing out for us on how to get us on G+ . I still have not got around to fully utilize it but I am sure after reading through your write out, I should be able to do well :) I am still vague on the posting up of food photos. Will read through again and see how much I can absorb in. Thank you and take care Chef, good health always !,
    Regards,
    Elin

  31. Thank you so much for all your efforts and helping us all figure out G+! I’m slowly getting there. :)

  32. Thanks Chef Dennis, I was finding using Google+ very confusing and posting to both public and groups at the same time. I had no idea I could be annoying anyone…sighs. Thanks also for the info on using # tags :) I still have a lot to learn. All the best.

    • it’s a learning experience for all of us, and the important thing is to share what we’ve learned with each other.
      Happy New Year!

  33. thanks chef dennis! makes interesting reading, plus i dont know many american chefs so it would be good to chat and share recipes, im currently the senior sous at a restaurant in the hills of marbella, spain, though trained and bred in good old london town. so thanks for the interesting article, or blog! well im sure we can chat in the future when yoiur not so busy(i currently have a month off for annual holidays through january) and i would like to wish you and your family and freinds a very merry christmas and a happy new year.

  34. Thanks for taking the time to lay this out for us Chef Dennis! Its so helpful, I’ll definitely be following these suggestions. :)

  35. Loved it; such a great post!

  36. Thanks Chef Dennis for this great information. It’s so very helpful for a new G+ member like myself. I will definitely be using this for reference for quite some time. Thank you!

    • you’re very welcome Maria, I have other posts as well, my how to be a good plusser from early December is a good starter. You can access it from the right sidebar of the community below the guidelines. Feel free to ask your questions in the community as well.

  37. Thank you again for your knowledge. Newbies like me can drown finding our way to the surface without people like you :)

  38. great tips – I just signed up for the authorship

  39. Kenneth Kapasi says:

    Thanks for the Knowledge .

  40. Thanks for this! I learned a few things. Much appreciated.

  41. Thank you so much for your posts on G+. I am just starting to get into it. I had a quick question about where you said under #2 “it’s important to use your actual name” My blog is suzyhomemaker, so I did exactly what you said not to do. I used homemaker as my last name so that things would be consistent. But it sounds like you are saying to use my real last name?

    I think I get what you are saying, but isn’t the way I am doing it better for branding?

    • hi Suzy

      You’re very welcome. As for your name, if you want to keep using that name you need to make it your brand and change your personal page to your real name. It is Google’s policy that you need to establish your home account with your real name, your pages can be anything. This is to keep spam down. They are behind in checking up on people, but they sometimes give no notice and just remove your account when it does not comply. Sometimes they do give you the opportunity to fix it first, but there is no guarantee.

      For Authorship its good to link to your real name as well, and also linking your blog to a brand page showing you as the author of the blog is supposed to be a good idea too.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help
      Dennis

      • Thanks so much for your help. I am still trying to absorb as much as I can about G+. I have to say that your community is one of the best I have found. Everyone is so helpful and the information I have received is great. I am so glad I found it.

  42. Insightful and informative post! How do you do it, Chef Dennis? You work full time and find the time to be an active food blogger?!

  43. Thank you, Chef Dennis! Another informative post and I think I’m slowly getting the hang of Google+, every time I visit learn something new!!

  44. I am so thankful for people like you that write important information for the “newbee” bloggers. So far, I have found that bloggers have a pretty darn good community when it come to sharing knowledge. I will definitely remember all the help I received along the way and pay it forward. I have to make sure I designate time for all the social media sites. It’s daunting at times, but I will find my rhythm soon. Cheers to you!

  45. Osuji Yam Pounder says:

    These are really great tips! We’re new on G+ with our new appliance for making Pounded Yam (It’s really great African food… You should try it sometime ;) ) We’ll definitely try these… THANKS!!!

  46. I just joined Google+ and have found it rather confusing – what should I be doing? what does *that* button do? How does it all work?

    Fortunately I found your blog on one G+ Community that I joined, and I have been serial reading all your posts as a crash course! Thank you for taking the time to spell it out for the slow learners in the group! ;-)
    I see that you mentioned some newer posts in a comment above, so I’ll go check those out as well.

    • I happy to hear that my posts are helpful Lindsey, Jean Layton and I also have a series of Google+ videos that you can find on my youtube channel that start with profiles and go through each segment of G+

      If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out

  47. I just found this post today and it’s really helpful.

    First, I’m so glad I did something right, confirmed by this post. I have been using Google+ for a while, but recently, I started to noticed how good plusser uses G+ community. I started to reshare more posts from other people and be responsive if anyone comments on my post. It was a lot of fun when someone started a conversation with me.

    However, the post teached me there’s much more things I can do. One thing I did wrong is, I was too focused on the food topic. I do share photography sometimes (because I love it!), but I was afraid sharing too diversified content will make my profile (as a food blogger) looks weak. I was so wrong! It is great news to me that I can share more useful information now, because I really wanted to. :)

    • I’m happy that you found this post helpful Maggie, let me know if you have any questions. I sent you an invitation to my food bloggers community, there are a lot of very helpful people there and some great resources, I hope you can join us!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Did you know that your content on G+ helps you get more attention on the search engines? Did you know that your interaction with other plussers, using their +Google names (so they will use yours) also gains you more exposure.   Did you know that by using Google Local and doing restaurant reviews that can also add to your exposure?   Let’s not even get into doing Hangouts On Air and You tube videos.   Being a good plussers has it rewards.  Besides meeting great people, it drives traffic to you site and all you have to do is be a good plusser.    If your wondering what that entails check out my post form December on “How to be a Good Plusser” [...]

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