If what you are doing is working, and you have no need to grow your business, increase your earning potential, or find new clients, then you can safely ignore Google Plus. But if you want to develop your reputation as an authority in your field or if you want to be found by more people looking for your services, then you should care about G+.
Repeat after me, “Google Plus is not just another social media platform. Google Plus is the social layer of Google.”
Do you care about Google? If so, then you automatically should care about Google Plus because they are directly connected.
So what can Google Plus do for you?
You must have a Google Plus profile connected to your online content to establish authorship with Google. With authorship comes the potential to have your profile image show up beside your work in search results. (Studies show that click through rates are higher for results with those profile image, also called rich snippets.)
So maybe you don’t care about that little picture. Fine. Do you care about getting credit for your work and protecting it from being stolen? Establishing authorship is a way to help Google know that you are the author of your work. This connection protects you as a content creator.
2. Google Plus is a Direct Line to Google
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to tell Google exactly what you are good at so that it would serve you up in search results related to that topic? In the past, we’ve had to rely on SEO techniques on our sites and blogs to try to get that message to Google. With Google Plus, you have a direct line to communicate with Google!
What you put on your personal profile (your tagline, about section, location, etc.) and what you write throughout the platform gives Google information to make an assessment of who you are. Google uses the words you write, the people you interact with, and the links you share to generate a snapshot of who you are. Think of the power Google is giving you to make your identity clear.
3. Networking Via Search
Remember how people used to talk about getting on the “first page of search results?” Well, that phrase really can’t be used anymore because there is no longer any static first page. What shows up for search is different for every user depending on their location, device, search history, and their connections on G+.
Did you catch that last bit? Who you are connected to on Google Plus has an impact on what you see in Google search results! (Obviously, you have to be signed into your Google Plus account while searching for this to happen.)
This means that people who have you in their circles are more likely to see your content (claimed via authorship or posted directly on Google Plus) in their search results. You already know the power of networking in real life and on social media. But networking on Google Plus seeps into search! You want people to circle you so that you will appear more frequently in personalized search results.
Are you convinced that you need to give Google Plus your attention? If so, keep in mind these tidbits of advice.
Page or profile? Profile is the simple answer. There’s more to the question, but if at all possible, use your profile.
Beef up your profile and double check your hover card.
Watch live hangouts on air and comment and interact during the show. Here are some event page pointers.
Circle brilliant people so your stream is interesting. (Ask a more experienced user to share a circle of favorites to get you started. HIt me up on G+, and I’ll help you out.)
Read, comment, and +1 far more than you share. Use Google Plus for professional development, inspiration, and networking not only to broadcast your content.
When you do share, share public. Do not tick the box that says also send email to.
Think long term and big picture. Don’t obsess over how many +1s you received or that no one commented on your post. Keep investing; be persistent.
Install the G+ app on your smartphone and develop the habit of checking it frequently.
G+ is complex and constantly evolving. Expect some frustration as you learn it. But take it as a grand adventure and don’t give up.
Need more specific or individualized help with Google Plus? Get in touch. I have a package for that.
Jimmie Lanley co-owns a social media business, iHomeschool Network, that connects bloggers with each other in a supportive environment and connects bloggers to companies in mutually beneficial projects. She started 2014 with a radical decision for someone in the homeschool niche– abandoning her Facebook business page with over 10,000 likes. Instead, she and her network are investing where they see long-term results: weekly G+ Hangouts on Air, podcasting, Pinterest, and YouTube. You can connect with Jimmie on Google Plus or learn more about her professional services at jimmielanley.com.