It’s been a little over two years now since Google Plus came into existence and its been a game changer since it’s inception. Over the last two years Google Plus has been in a constant state of change, upgrades to the system are developed and routinely installed without notice or warning. Most of the changes are welcome and work really well while other changes seem to take a longer period of adjustment. But one thing that sets Gplus apart from the competition is that they listen.
Google Plus wasn’t built to remain static and unchanging like other social media. The platform Gplus was built upon embraces change so its users don’t become complacent, mindlessly posting and never questioning the status quo. No my friends, Google Plus was intended to be an ever-changing evolving entity, that challenges it’s users to become more than they ever dreamed possible.
And to the naysayers that like to call Google Plus a Ghost Town, it’s going to become more like a nightmare. Because as Google changes its search algorithms and Author Rank comes into play, all the time spent on Facebook and Twitter won’t mean a damn thing to the search engines. But for those of us with vision, that have embraced Google Plus, life will be good!
And that my friends is why I’m starting this series, it will be a definitive guide to using Google+ broken down into sessions making it easier to comprehend and implement. There are no secret formulas to succeeding on G+, everyone will tell you pretty much the same thing, it’s all about engagement. And truth be told, no one is going to engage with you if they don’t have a good idea of who you are. So let’s start at the beginning.
Setting Up Your Profile-
Your profile is your calling card, it tells everyone who you are, where you come from and what’s important to you. You must take advantage of this opportunity, because it may never come again. Optimizing your Google+ Profile is your first step towards being successful on G+.
Use your real name - this extremely important to your success, because of Google Authorship. If you want to use your blog name, it can be your nickname. To do this hover over your name and click to edit your name will appear, then click on More Options. Add your blog name in the nickname box (you don’t need parenthesis). Then Click on Display my Name and choose how you’d like it to appear on your Header. Remember although changing your name is not final, you can’t make another change for 30 days. This is how I would recommend setting it up, if you choose this option Chef Dennis Littley (A Culinary Journey).
Include a good headshot with eyes looking forward - this is very important to your success. Google wants to know that they can trust you and they want everyone to be able to see what you look like. We don’t know how much Facial Recognition is coming into play on Google plus, but I know it’s important to have a good head shot of yourself that fills the frame, and your eyes should be looking forward. Think about the trust factor, who looks more trustworthy? Someone that looks you in the eye, or someone that’s looking off into space?
Include a tagline – this will appear under your name on your G+ Hover Card an it’s your opportunity to let people know who you are and what to expect from you without going to your profile page. If I don’t see any information on someone’s Hover Card, I don’t bother going to their profile. Your tagline should be 40-50 characters, short and to the point. Mine simply states Chef /Culinary Instructor / Food Blogger it lets people know who I am and gives them a good idea of what they can expect from me. Don’t forget to count the spaces and punctuation on your tagline.
Include a good Introduction - now that you’ve gotten someone to come to your profile page, this is a good way to get their attention. Tell them more about yourself, some of your accomplishments, your dreams, what makes you tick, anything relevant that you want to share without too many personal details. Remember Too Much Information is also a bad thing. Let them get to know you without getting too personal. This is also a great place to add a hotlink to your blog and communities.
Bragging Rights – if you’ve gotten any awards this is a great place to list them. Or you can just have fun with it.
Occupation – this is pretty self-explanatory and it can go a few different ways. Do you have a day job? Is that who you are and do you want it listed here? I think for most bloggers, while your day job does pay the rent it’s not who you are. My listing is pretty much the same as my tag line.
Skills - this is where you want to list your skills (i.e. recipe developer, photographer, free-thinker). This is a one line post and it won’t show up on your Hover Card. Feel free to get creative.
Employment - this is an important part of your profile because it shows up on your Hover Card, remember them? What you list as your Employment will show up directly under the tagline on your Hover Card and also on your G+ Page, so this is a great place to list your blog. It can be the name of the blog or the blog address (it won’t be a hot link). Unless you’re being paid by your company to use G+ for them, or unless you have a very lenient social media policy, it might be better to leave your day job (if you have one) off this list unless it specifically relates to your blog or you write for the company you work for.
Places - If you’d rather not list your specific city, list the area. I list Philadelphia Area as my current address because most people wouldn’t know where Oaklyn, NJ was. Including your location in your profile will allow other plussers to find you when searching for people to network with in your area, or in an area they may have a campaign in. You can list other places you’ve lived or wish you could live, and even throw some in for fun. Who knows where Tintagel is and what it was?
Contact - list your email address. I have over 350k followers and my address is viewable by the public and I get more spam mail from my contact page on my blog than I do from G+. But I have gotten mail from other plussers that have turned out to be good contacts. If you’re afraid of using your home email create a Gmail address just for Google+ . Another option is listing your phone number. Unless you’re a physical business I see no sense in listing your phone number, even if you’re using a Google phone number. Did you know you can get a phone number from Google for free at any exchange you want and have it redirected to your cell phone. This is great for your business card, you never have to give out your real number to anyone you don’t want to.
Education – you would think that this wasn’t really a very important section to fill out, but you’d be wrong. It’s important because it shows up on your Hover Card right under your employment. This is a great place to list another place people can find you, I list my G+ Food Bloggers Community. It also gives potential followers a bit more information about me before going to my profile page. If you went to a very prestigious school having it appear here could be a good thing. This is prime real estate on your Hover Card so use it to your advantage!
Basic information - is just what it says, fill in the blanks. You’re birthday ( you don’t have to share the year) , marital status, Your Gender (please don’t get this wrong, I see that all too many times) , what you’re looking for (networking) and any other names they might find you in search.
Links - first and most important you’re Google+ profile address so they can link to your blog with Google Authorship. Then every social media and site that you belong to online, ie, Pinterest, Tumbler, or LinkedIn. List all of them, Google likes to get a good picture of who you are and where you post, listing all of your site links helps them establish the trust factor. Anther important part of your links is listing the sites you contribute to. This will be your blog and any other online publication that you write for that credits you with your byline. This is part of Google Authorship as well as Publisher. If you post to any communities regularly list them as well.
Aps- if you use any apps they will appear on the list. I would suggest using Circle Count as it helps populate more information on you Hover Card such as the number of followers you have and your rank on G+, as well as the average number of comments, shares and +1′s you get. More information to help someone decide whether to follow you on the spot, or go to your profile page. If someones Hover Card has little or no information I just move on, I just move on.
Profile Page Cover – another great way to get attention is the image on your page cover. I have been rotating my images with some of my best images. You can also develop a custom header for yourself using Photoshop (if your that talented….sigh) or even find someone on Etsy to do it for you. Why is this important? Well not only for the obvious of having a good picture, it also appears on your Hover Card. It’s like handing out business cards with one of your best food images on it. This is also a good thing to keep in mind if your developing a custom header with a bunch of small pics, they probably won’t look as good on the Hover Card or on a Smart Phone.
This is the key to your success on Google Plus, without a well filled out profile, you’re not going to attract followers. Google had it right when they said that real people want to connect with real people. And the more they connect with you, the more they come to think of you as a friend. Once that happens you’ve got a reader for life.
Thanks so much for stopping to today and reading my Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus , stop by next week to read the next installment so you can be successful on Google Plus!