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It’s a fact: Google is everywhere. Docs, Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Voice, Calendar- the list goes on. Google owns YouTube and one of the top blogging platforms, Blogger. Google is integrated into our everyday lives, following us from website to website, forming our user experience in the best way it knows how. We are at the point where we have no choice but to bow down to Google, and frankly, I’m on board.
With the vast majority of people using multiple aspects of Google, why is it taking longer for Google+ to become just as popular? If you haven’t fully explored everything that Google+ has to offer, it’s time. Here are some things you should know.
Facebook, I shake my fist at you. In fact, I think most, if not all, of the world does. Every time we turn around, Facebook is trying to monetize with something new. With Google+, you never have to worry about that. With such a large revenue from everything else Google has its hands in, monetizing on their community is something they are staying away from, helping to facilitate a pure experience.
Google is the number one search engine so you need to optimize your Google+ profile, most notably your photos, introduction and about section as these all directly affect search engine results. When someone hovers over your profile image in Google+, a pop up will show your profile photo, image stream, name and basic additional information like where you work, live and go to school. Google+ gives you the ability to change what users see here. If you’d rather have a short bio shown, just include your short bio under your first employment entry (make sure to check the “Current” box) and voila! Additionally, you can customize your Introduction section with a link to your blog or online portfolio.
Google Hangout has basically been around since Google+’s inception, but Google Communities was just launched in the beginning of December, 2012. Google Hangout is a great way to video chat with your contacts and it’s pretty seamless- with a click or two from Google, you can be in a hangout with anyone of your choosing. Looking for places to “hangout” with like-minded individuals? Visit gphangouts.com for a directory of public Google+ Hangouts.
Google+ Communities are just as user-friendly as everything else from Google. Join a community or make one of your own and invite those users you’d like to connect with. Communities are made up of individuals who have the same interests so simply being a part of a community can put you in front of new information that can lead to new ideas for great article topics. Within your community, it’s important to create different topics. Each member of your community can then select the topic their post fits into when they share content for easy reference.
1. You can format posts. For example, to bold a particular word or phrase, simply add asterisks to the front and back.
2. Want to “like” a status update or shareable content? Just “+1” it.
3. Hashtags are acceptable. Everything in Google+ should be done with SEO in mind and hashtags only make this easier. Use hashtags that correspond to what you’re discussing. In fact, users can search for content using hashtags and you can even add hashtags in your comments.
4. Editing exists, hallelujah! I don’t know about anyone else, but I try to be so careful with spelling and grammar in my Facebook and Twitter posts only to have the silly mistake here and there. With Google+, edit your posts at any time. Add hashtags, a link, some formatting- any facet of your posts can be edited to your liking.
5. Google indexes at lightning speed.
6. Be vain. We are in the business of connecting, right? Whether for business or personal reasons, we just want to get ourselves out there. Your Google+ profile URL is long and ugly so let’s change that. Go to gplus.to and get a vanity URL, a URL that is of your choosing and allows for better branding and easier page promotion.
7. Google+ is an open book. Facebook’s algorithm is complicated and it’s constantly evolving before we can figure out the tricks to get our content to show up in newsfeeds. The fact is that Facebook makes it somewhat difficult for all of your posts to show up for all of your friends. If it were that simple then Facebook wouldn’t be able to monetize by offering to promote your content. With Google+, YOU get to control who sees your content. Share with the public, only your connections, certain circles, or just with yourself. Wherever you choose to have your content, it will be there.
Google+ is a powerhouse of a product, with so much more to offer than people realize. I’m excited for Google+ to really kick off and become the go-to place to really connect and build your brand. If you are immersed in Google+, I’d love to hear if you have any additional tips and tricks to share!