Ah, Google+...that most misunderstood of platforms. Most people you talk to about Google+ will have at some point picked up the popular assumption that this was Google’s own attempt at toppling Facebook as the world’s most subscribed social network. And while this may have been a private aim of Google’s back in 2008 when they launched it, it has certainly evolved since then. It now provides a far more enjoyable user experience than Facebook ever has.
Google+ incorporates the best bits of Twitter, Pinterest and yes, even Facebook. Trending hash tags stretch your content further like Twitter, images are displayed in glorious fullness as on Pinterest and of course, you can hook up with friends and family as you do on Facebook.
Admittedly, it would be fair to say that Google+ has yet to really take off here in the UK when it comes to individual users. You’ll find brands and companies on there just for the SEO benefits Google provides with a G+ account (although most businesses don’t quite grasp that you need to actually deliver content too). But when it comes to regular old Joes, you’d be hard pushed to find a handful of your Facebook mates on Google+.
I believe this is simply down to a) a lack of awareness of Google+ and b) a fundamental misunderstanding of how to use it effectively.
So, with that in mind, I have three ways to master this most fantastiche of social networks.
Utilise Google+ Circles
Circles is the Google+ version of Twitter Lists and Facebook Categories, only much easier to manage. The basic premise is that you can sort who you follow and people you are friends with into separate ‘circles’. This then means when you want to share a post from The Social Scot, you can choose to not only share it with the public at large but those folks you have specifically put in your ‘social media marketing’ circle!
But hey, it’s not all about you. Categorising your interests is the first step to using Google+ as an AWESOME content curation tool. Finding interesting articles, infographics and videos is easy because posts are far more visual than, say, a tweet. So for example, I use different tools to hunt for articles related to social media marketing. Google+ is very much one of them. I love Buffer for its suggestions but I have to check the link first to make sure the content is cool. On Google+, I might first get a clue by the image used and the preview panel on the link.
And the more you use it, the quicker your circles will grow and be packed with interesting stuff. Sure, every tom, dick and harry you know isn’t posting about their latest dinner complaint at Nandos but honestly, do you really care what your second cousin is up to?
Post your pins then pin them again!
Use Pinterest? It is arguably, the sexiest of social media. If you take the time to create you own pins at 735x1102 then be sure to post them to your Google+ page too! Not sure how you even create your own images? Check out my previous post on this very topic (I am helpful, aren’t I?).
Pins display exactly as they do on Google+ as they do on Pinterest. So whether you’re writing about social media or sports, make sure your page looks amazing with fully displayed images. Once posted on Google+, you can ‘pin’ your post to the top of your timeline for maximum visibility.
If you are using social media for business, then this naturally gives you a consistent look and feel to your activity across multiple channels. If you are using it for personal purposes, then it tells people that you love what interests you and your content is worth sharing further.
Maximise your posts
One way in which Google+ differs is that it lets you post slightly longer form updates than on Facebook as well as being able to format your posts.
So instead of your regular one or two line status update, you can expand on your update. Want your first line to stand out? Make it bold! Want to stress a point? Italicise it. Coupled with your optimised image, your post has the power to not only convey a story but seriously tempt your followers to make that all important click through to your blog or website.
Further, make sure you have your keywords in there too with hash tags included. Google+ will automatically choose three words from your post as hash tags so that other people can find your post. Pre-empt this by including three of your own at the bottom of the post. For example, if you’re posting about how great football was in the 1990s, make your hash tag(s) #Football #Soccer #90s.
So there you go. Three (and there are a few more) ways you can enjoy Google+ to the full. I picked these three as the most easy ways to get into Google+ but if you want to know more, like using Hangouts for video calls or integrating your YouTube page, then leave a comment below or on my page.