The Practical Guide to Engaging on Google Plus
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About two months ago, I determined to dive into Google Plus and to really give it a chance. Since that time, I’ve connected with so many friendly, conversational people. I’ve discovered amazing content. I’ve discovered videos that have nearly brought me to tears. I’ve been challenged to develop hobbies into skills.
Needless to say (even though I’m saying it), I arrived to the party that is Google Plus extremely late. Yet even in the very short time that I’ve been making use of this amazing platform, I’ve discovered some principles that work incredibly well in the effort toward connecting and engaging on Google Plus.
Facebook is for connecting with the people you already know. Google Plus is for connecting with the people you should know. ~ Unknown
The core principles for genuinely engaging on Google Plus revolve around several basic concepts: creating and sharing posts that inspire friendly and conversational comments, gaining followers in a way that focuses on quality engagement rather than meaningless quantity, and on connecting with others with comments that fuel friendship.
If this sounds anything like an experience that you’d like to enjoy then keep reading. These are the concepts that best express my experience on this platform, and I love every minute of it.
The Key to Successful Posts
Creating successful posts encompasses a wide range of concepts that should be common sense for most users. They’re really the same concepts that make any real life friendship work: personality, opinions, diversity of topics and post types, and mentioning. It also includes a few concepts unique to social media: formatting, tagging, and graphics.
Share Yourself With Your Followers
The first key, which should be universal to all social media interactions, is to be personal. This can be as simple as sharing your own opinions when sharing content or as much as sharing personal photos and stories. Even if you’re representing a business, you won’t go wrong by personalizing your followers connection with you.
Personal Storytelling: If you’re into photography, for example, don’t simply post your photo. Be sure to write a few paragraphs telling folks where you took it, who you were with, why the photo or subject of the photo inspired you. Perhaps you can tell a story as to why the location or individual in the photo has particular meaning to you.
Personal Opinions: If you are re-sharing a post that someone else created, don’t post by simply clicking the share button. It will be far more meaningful to your followers if you write a paragraph or two expressing your own opinion about the post. The more you express how it made you feel personally, the more your readers will connect with it…and with you.
Personal Meaning: When posting or sharing anything, always be sure that you are sharing something that had meaning to you personally. Do not share content simply because you think that it will appeal to your audience. If you didn’t think it was the cat’s pajamas, neither will your audience.
Diversify your Topics and Posts Types
Diversification is the key to any successful investment portfolio. Providing a wide range of topics and post types will keep your audience engaged. Of course, too much diversification and there will be no common thread and this can be just as bad as posting only one type. Ultimately this is a balancing act and the only way to get it right is through trial and error.
Self Promotion: A great example of this principle would be that of linking to your personal blog or web page. If every single post on your Google Plus timeline is a self promotional link, you’re using this platform extremely wrong. Your engagement will be stunted. Your growth will be null or very close.
I’ve seen timelines that belong to amazing individuals who are excellent bloggers. Yet I find myself removing them from my circles because they post nothing but self promotion. That is the function of your RSS feed, not your social media stream.
Mix your post types with a variety of photos, personal stories, animated GIFs, links to web pages, questions for your audience, and videos. You can’t bake an award winning cake without multiple ingredients blended together.
Commenting for Engagement
My favorite part of Google Plus is the engagement that takes place. It’s amazing seeing folks meet, talk, and rally around topics and ideas that inspire our passions. We talk about movies, photography, military, politics, humor, design and so much more.
There’s always repercussions when you do something. Even when it’s good, good things come back to you. Having good manners on G+ will cultivate interaction which in turn stirs engagement. Engagement will breed relationships, and relationships lead to opportunities. ~ Wade Harman
There are three simple steps that can be used to multiply your level of connection with others: Comment, Comment, Comment.
Comment, Don’t Just Plus It
If you plus someone’s post, go out of your way to leave a comment. Plusses don’t afford you the opportunity to begin a conversation with someone. Comments do.
Comment, Don’t Be Shy
One or two word comments are the same as a plus. They afford no opportunity for conversation. Write a couple sentences expressing how you feel about the post, sharing a personal experience, or just chatting it up. Share your personality through your comments and watch the interactions grow.
Comment, Don’t Ignore Your Friends
If someone comments on one of your posts, call that person out by name and respond to them personally. If you and I were having a conversation face-to-face in a real world setting, and I said something to you and you just gave me a thumbs up and walked away, I would probably punch you.
Try that with a friend sometime. I dare you.
But we do that all time here by clicking the “+1 Comment” button without responding and saying anything.
Conclusion: Comment, Comment, Comment
Those are the three concepts at the heart of Google Plus engagement. Connect using these concepts and watch the magic of unicorns, rainbows, lollipops and bacon channeling a nuclear explosion through your notifications panel. Bottom line? Use social media as a friend among friends.
Google Plus Circle Management
I have what I believe to be a very unique approach to the way that I organize my circles. Of course, I have a few topical circles like Veterans, Photography, Humor and a couple others.
Everyone, however, (including those in my topical circles) are also placed into one of three circles: Class 3, Class 2, and Class 1.
Class #3: When I first discover someone, I check their timeline. If it looks interesting and I see them engaging conversationally, I add them to Class 3.
Class #2: As they engage with me personally either on my posts or theirs, I move them to Class 2.
Class #1: Those who I engage with on a daily basis and feel like I’m actually getting to know, I move to Class 1. Those are the top shelf, class act engagers.
People can move up or down through my three-tiered circle system and some people are removed altogether when the situation warrants it.
Stay away from the circle jerks and find real engagers. Get out there and interact with people. Be social. Easy right? Don’t make it so complicated…. ~ Keith Bloemendaal
Do you have a similar system? What Google Plus tips would you add to this?
To me, everything revolves around us engaging on Google Plus. That is the supreme goal.