Why Google+ Sucks for Almost Everyone
Updated on May 2nd, 2016
I want to be a thought leader.
Have you ever uttered those words? Most likely to yourself whilst no one else is listening, sure. But it seems to be a buzzword at the moment, everyone wants to be perceived as a thought leader in their industry. Brands and people alike.
I’m exactly the same. I may not necessarily describe it in those words (kind of makes me cringe), but I want to attain a level of credibility that gets people to sit up and take notice just like you.
So where do you start?
If you’re anything like me you start with what other people have done, or you read a whole lot of content about “becoming a thought leader”. It’s about being everywhere, across every social network, writing a blog, hosting a podcast, dominating SlideShare… Or is it?
What MOST people will do who want to command authority online, is what they THINK is right. Start up a Twitter account, get a Facebook page, start writing a blog, launch a YouTube channel, tweak their LinkedIn profile… and because everyone is telling them they need to – they set up a Google+ page.
I’ll confess, I did something similar to this when I first started out online. But it was overwhelming. How could I maintain a full time job, consistently write a blog, build a Twitter following, create a YouTube channel… the list went on. In theory it all seemed so easy, and yet I became stuck. Stuck with no authority, no following of any note and a whole bunch of lost time.
What I have learnt, and what makes absolute sense on reflection, is that it is not about being everywhere. It is about being consistent, building relationships and delivering high quality content time after time. If you only have the capacity to fulfil those three things on one platform, lets say a blog, then only do that. Don’t be everything to everyone.
It is about being consistent, building relationships and delivering high quality content time after time [Click to Tweet]
Why people give up on Google+
Google+ is the platform that most people suck at (Including me until I figured it out).
Lets say you are at the very beginning of your journey to online authority. You have done as I said above and started just about every social media profile under the sun in a bid to boost your visibility.
Facebook seems a natural fit, because most people already have a profile set up and a group of friends. So you see a little bit of traction, with friends and family liking your new page. Twitter’s much the same, whilst it’s a hard slog you are getting a few retweets, favourites and quite a few people are following you.
But Google+ is a ghost town. You’re posting just as much to your Google+ profile as you are elsewhere, but no one is engaging. Even worse, you haven’t attracted any new followers.
Google+ is a ghost town because you are sharing your posts ‘publicly’.
This was the biggest mistake I made for months and months on Google+. I would find a great article to share, or want to promote one I had written myself. Coupled with a quote or quirky statement, I’d post the article to Google+ and choose ‘To: Public’.
Consistently, no one would +1 or share my content. No one.
I kept telling my self that persistence was the key. If I kept at it, and people started to know who I was that one day all of a sudden, this ghost town would flip. But it didn’t. So I lost hope.
Slowly I started to post less to Google+. Days would go by when I wouldn’t bother checking out my Google+ account, and it wouldn’t matter. Because no one was engaging with my content anyway, so why would I bother posting there, right?
The answer isn’t persistence, it is Google+ communities.
Forget about being persistent with your Google+ posts and instead be super-targeted by picking a select few highly engaged communities to share your content with.
Start by going into the ‘Settings’ tab within your Google+ profile and choose the option ‘Show your Google+ communities posts on the posts tab of your Google+ profile’ – see below.
Choosing this option automatically posts any of your updates to both; your selected community AND your public stream on Google+. This is ideal because as you build your following and people actually frequent your public page, they will engage with this content outside of communities.
Next, it’s time to find some communities in your niche. Go to the ‘Communities’ tab of your Google+ profile and have a look around for some groups of people that seem like they are regularly sharing content that is aligned with your brand. It may take you a bit of time to find a hyper-engaged community, but it will be worth the effort.
Once you have a group of 3 or 4 communities that you want to target, join them and start interacting with members. The best way to get yourself noticed and initiate the reciprocity principle on Google+ is to +1, re-share, comment and follow as much as you can. If you favourite or re-tweet someone’s thoughts on Twitter, you are likely to get lost in a sea of other interactions. But on Google+, these interactions are far more visible, rare and meaningful to users. People will notice.
After establishing some community relationships, you now have permission to share your own content. But don’t forget to regularly curate other content with these communities and maintain a steady level of interactions. If you are just promoting your own stuff, you might see a dip in engagement.
Why sharing to communities on Google+ is the only way
To emphasize the value of Google+ communities compared to the ‘Public’ option, I’d like to show you a personal example.
Here is a post I shared on my public profile;
Keep in mind that at this time I had about 770 followers on Google+. That post got two +1’s and no shares.
Now let’s have a look at a post I shared with the SEO and Content Marketing Masters community that has over 50,000 members, only a few days later.
The engagement levels were exponentially higher; 32 +1’s and 9 re-shares!
All I did, and you can too, is followed three simple principles.
3 Simple Principles for Sharing Content on Google+
- Share with communities, not with everyone
- Add a description to your share, like a mini-blurb not a Tweet, and a link to your content
- Make sure it has a visual – an image that relates to the article
So if you’re stuck on Google+, or perhaps you have given up hope… Give it another go using these principles and see if you get some more traction.
One more way to rock Google+
On top of communities, Google+ is the perfect platform to connect with influencers in your niche. The best way I can illustrate this is through an example.
On my own blog I have been trying out a tactic that involves writing seriously long content, some stuff that is long enough to be a Kindle book. The idea being that epic pieces of content improve my chances of attracting social shares and links. Anyway, a few weeks back I wrote a 7,000 word post on launching and running a successful business blog. After using some basic promotional tactics such as social media, email marketing and industry forums the time came to get serious and seek some backlinks.
I had already identified potential linkers in my research for the post using a tool called BuzzSumo, and one of them was Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe. Usually I would reach out to potential linkers via email, but I noticed Ana was very active on Google+ so I decided to send her a message there. (Keep in mind that Ana has over 30,000 G+ followers and her blog has a domain authority of 52) You can see the message below.
The great thing about messaging on Google+ like I did above is that it gets to someone in real-time, it is personal, and it doesn’t get lost at the bottom of an inbox full of other competing information.
What happened next was pretty cool. Ana responded to my Google+ message, shared the post with her 30,000+ followers AND included a link to the post in her next weekly round up – see below.
But it didn’t stop there. Since that day, Ana has commented on another blog post of mine that included a link back to her blog.
Having someone of authority comment on your blog post is extremely valuable. It increases your perceived credibility exponentially.
A mantra I like to live by when reaching out to potential linkers or bloggers is “Value the relationship more than the link or share”. At the end of the day, relationships are what matter… Not an insignificant share or individual link. If you can turn that influencer into a friend or advocate for your work, that is when you are on the right track.
“Value the relationship more than the link or share” [Click to Tweet]
This example isn’t a way for me to show off, or boost my credibility. Quite the opposite. The point I am trying to make is that if I can reach out to someone like Ana and develop a relationship from thin air, then you can too. And Google+ is a platform for creating these connections that many people aren’t leveraging.
Google+ is an untapped opportunity for anyone that is looking to increase their visibility online. Most people give up on it, or don’t utilise it’s full power with their social media strategy.
Have you given up on Google+?
Perhaps you can reconsider how you are approaching it. Find engaged communities to share your content with, and connect with influencers in a way that no other platform allows. You might be surprised at how much traction you get, and the awesome relationships you build along the way.
Content Marketing Sales Funnel
Your content marketing sales funnel is all about getting people to know, like and trust you by nurturing them with the right information at the right time.