Learn how to contribute and get noticed on Google+
Google+ is a great way to create and energetic and collaborative community. While it’s a social network that builds off a Google account, it doesn’t just rely on existing contacts; rather it helps you make new ones. Then you can curate circles related to particular interests, whether it be design, business, entertainment, news and so on.
Plus when it comes to creating a profile, in the words of Guy Kawasaki, “Google+ gives you the best real estate around.” Your profile is crucial because people use it to decide whether to pay attention to you. Google+ provides space to introduce yourself and explain who you are along with room for a big cover photo.
Here are some top tips for quickly boosting results on Google+.
01. Pick a neutral screen name
Make it easy for people to find you and remember your screen name. It’s easiest to remember and type the most logical guess. Eg, ‘Guy Kawasaki’ not ‘G. Kawasaki,’ ‘GT Kawasaki.’ For example, @GuyKawasaki on Twitter is +GuyKawasaki on Google+.
02. Customize the URL
Get a vanity URL for your Google+ account so that people will see, for example, https://plus.google.com/+GuyKawasaki/posts, instead of, https://plus.google.com/+112374836634096795698/posts.
03. Optimize your profile
People do not study profiles to make a fair and informed decision. They spend a few seconds and make a snap decision and the important ramification is that your profile must convince people you are likeable, trustworthy, and competent.
Make the most of a Google+ profile by including contact information, skills, products and services, and take advantage of the significant amount of space in the ‘About’ section in order to give users a reason to follow you.
Don’t hold back on the details. Craft a bio that shares special insight into who you are and why you’re on Google+.
- What do you do and how does it benefit followers?
- What makes you unique and how will it translate into useful content?
- What are you passionate about? What do you do in your spare time and enjoy in your down time? People love to talk about what interests them. Give them the opportunity to engage with you around those topics they find most interesting.
- Link to all online properties: website, blog, social channels, etc. Allow followers to connect across the board.
Complete the profile – all of it. It looks more professional and reflects that you are engaged and active on the Google+ platform.
04. Craft a mantra
Google+ allows you to add a tagline to your profile, which appears on your Google+ hover card. Make this mantra-like: three to four words that explain your essence in a serious way. For example, Guy Kawasaki’s mantra is “I empower people.”
05. Include a good avatar
A good avatar shows your face and not much more. It doesn’t need to show your entire body nor your family, friends, dog, and the car. Google+ uses a circular format so get up close and personal or crop closely to fill the space.
Here’s how to put your best face forward:
- Symmetry makes a picture less interesting so don’t stick your face exactly in the middle. Stand of crop off center and/or hold your face at an angle.
- The source of light should come from in front of you rather than behind you, otherwise your face may be under-exposed unless you force a fill-flash.
06. Create a compelling cover photo
Create a compelling cover photo aligned with your professional or personal brand (that’s right, even if the profile is personal, there’s no reason not to think of it like a brand). Its purpose is to tell your story or a brand’s story and communicate information about what’s important to you or the brand.
- If it’s professional, include a logo and refer back to the brand style guide
- If it’s personal, communicate the passion in your life.
- Keep consistent across online platforms
If companies used different logos in different places, mass confusion would reign. Your picture is your social-media logo, so use the same one everywhere. This helps people recognize you around the web.
Note, the custom dimensions of a Google+ cover photo are 2120×1192 pixels.
07. Understand why contacts connect
To maximize Google+ it’s important to understand why users are spending time on the social network and why they have connected. Is it:
- Particular information they’re looking for?
- Insight and information and insider tips only found on social media?
- Deeper connections with their favorite businesses and brands?
- A community where they can share opinions with like-minded individuals?
- A way to be heard and find a voice in an often over-saturated social space?
- Answers to their most pressing questions?
- Advice on what to buy and whom to buy it from?
Be an active and engaged part of the conversation and use what you learn to tailor your own content.
08. Share fun, inspirational and educational content
One of the quickest ways to connect on any social network is to share what matters most to you, whether it’s personal or professional. The more you can stimulate engagement, the better chance of getting followers to come back for more. Some suggestions include:
- Share your thoughts, expertise, mission, vision and values
- Give a shout out to favorite blogs and websites
- Share inspirational thoughts, funny quotes and timely news stories
- Share other peoples content with context around it
- Don’t post and run away. Interact, connect and engage.
- Be grateful. Thank people that share your content
- Be personable and share details about your business in a fun and interactive way
- Follow people within your industry and niche and create a conversation. Get to know them, share their content and spread the good word about their business. This creates reciprocity and more meaningful interactions. It’s just good karma
- Repurpose your content. Just because it’s old to you, doesn’t mean it’s not new to someone else
09. Let your pictures do the talking
The saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer than in the online space. The objective is to produce a graphic that represents and positions your brand in the best possible light and Google+ offers a great place for pictures to take center stage.
The social media platform has the capacity to accommodate big, beautiful images and using the right specifications (800 x 1200) pictures can quickly capture Google+ followers’ attention. They also provide the opportunity to boost engagement through viral shares.
Use images to tell a visual story of who you are and give people a reason to follow you. Showcasing one of your hobbies or passions allows people a glimpse into who you are and what circles they could add you in.
10. Go anonymous
Finally, it’s good practice to view your Google+ profile (and all social media profiles) as others would view it. Open an ‘incognito window’ (a browser window that makes you anonymous; for example launch “New Incognito Window” from Chrome’s File menu).
Visual appeal combined with smart optimization is the perfect combination for a terrific Google+ profile. Commit every day to providing Google+ followers with a VIP experience that leaves them feeling acknowledged, informed and vital to your community.