A lot of people seem to agree that, in order to establish some form of niche authority over the Internet, you need to have a Google+ account that you can use to verify your online identity. It’s the best way by which you can have your online work (such as articles) credited to you on Google search results. Of course, that is not the only value of this social network. This is also a great tool for networking with the most interesting people in the niches you’re interested in. If you want to have real insight into stuff that that’s important to you, then G+ can be your very best friend.
Many people, though, seem to be having trouble leveraging this particular social site for their own benefits. It might be that they can’t seem to connect with the right folks, or are having trouble cultivating an identity in a community where they hope to be influential. If you’re one of these people, then you might be inclined to think that this is a flaw in Google+.
It’s more likely, however, that you haven’t really optimized your account. Here are some things that you might have done (or not done) to turn your G+ into a big fat minus.
Your profile doesn’t show who you are
The whole point of having an account here is to look like a real human being who can make real contributions to different discussions. As such…
- You at least have to have a profile picture—either showing your real face or artwork of your face (but only if you’re aiming to stand out in the geek/art community)—as well as a compelling Google+ cover photo. You have to make sure, by the way, that these specific photos are HIGH QUALITY; otherwise, no one will take you seriously.
- Apart from that, you have to make sure that your “Story” section is filled with interesting and accurate information about you. This ensures that others who want to connect with others like you can find you in search (and would be more willing to add you to their circles when you add them). The tagline is especially important, because it gives people a good idea of what you, as an expert, can offer them.
- The work section on Google+ is also important in that it is a testament to your own qualifications when you’re talking about certain topics, based on your professional experience. The Location and Basic/Contact Information makes you look even more human to other searchers, and the Links section provides more insight into your personality by showing where else you post and what kind of content you produce. Think of the last one as something like a PBX, in which you have different “phone lines” connected to one “trunk line”.
You’re not posting interesting content (if you post at all)
If you have an account on G+ and want to use it to win awesome friends as well as to influence people, then you need to commit to create engaging content for it. That is to say, Google+ is not a ‘make it and leave it’ kind of thing in this context. In order to sustain your relevance there, you need some proof of activity. This goes beyond just updating your profile; you need to have something to post every day; and that “something” needs to be relevant to the interests of your network. Therefore…
- You have to make sure that you’re talking to the right audience by using their profile pages to determine whether or not they share your interests before you add them to your Circles.
- Join or create a community that is relevant to your interests.
- You have to keep track of what the people in your Google+ Circles or Communities are blowing up over, and make a post about that—you can use the “What’s Hot” feature, if you want.
- Give another person a shout-out if your post is in response to or is inspired by his or her post.
- Want to make your posts look interesting?
You’re not maximizing the tools
Do you use the G+ tools available to you, like Hangouts on Air, Events, and the like? You absolutely should start experimenting with them, because they offer a whole new level of experience when it comes to engaging with other people. If you want to come off as truly interesting and relevant, you have to be willing to put yourself out there with these tools.
Google+ can only be beneficial to you if you know how to wield it, so make sure that you make good use of your account.