I was the latter for quite a while. I created an account a number of years ago and just simply did not do anything with it other than an occasional post from my blog.
Recently, I have been spending a lot of time on GooglePlus (aka Google+, aka G+).
Today, I'll share why I have made a strategic switch as well as some resources to help you along your way.
Why I am Choosing to Spend More time on Google+
I initially decided to spend more time on Google Plus because I was seeing a number of colleagues who had their page rank increase and gain business as a direct result of the conversations they were having there. The SEO possibilities were just a no-brainer and Hangouts connecting to YouTube had me curious.
So, I decided to focus 2 weeks of my social media time on the platform, just to see what I could learn.
What I found surprised me. The depth of conversation I have experience on Google+ is second to none on social media. It's deeper and richer. I am not a real fan of surface-level conversations and I love that the conversation is more than that there. It's the only social network that encourages people to connect on a global, yet personal level.
Google+ Is Not a Good Place for ...
- Link bombing - When you simply cut and past a url and say nothing about it and don't participate in conversation.
- Farm games, mafia games or any other type of games (though there are a number of communities that discuss different gaming topics...)
- Conversations about "if you really like me you'll repost this" or "repost this if..." types of conversations.
- Pay-to-play - Having to pay for people to see your posts. --- If people circle you on Google+, they see your content. You do not have to pay for them to see what you have to say.
I'm in no way a Google Expert (though I've circled quite a few and if you ask nice, I'll share who you should follow on various topics.)
Below is a rather lengthy list of Google+ topics that you could check out to get you going. Many of them have diffrent takes on the same topic and since Google is forever changing, some info might be out of date tomorrow. I'll continue to update this as I find new resources.
Take Action Moment>> If you would like to be in my circle where I notify you of great Google+ tips, let me know and I'll add you to my "Interested in Google+" circle.
How-Tos of Google+
There are many really great articles out there on how to work on Google+. These are a few that I have found that got me started. I noted how long it took me to read each one so that you could decide how you want to spend your time.
GooglePlus Basic Etiquette Posting Tips by Ronnie Bincer (Reading Time: 3 minutes)
Being Awesome on Google+ In 15 Minutes a Day by Amanda Blain (Reading Time: 2.5 minutes)
Google+ Quick Reference Posted by Google+Helper (Reading Time: 1 minute - great for printing)
Definitive Guide to Getting Started on Google+ by Kimberly Reynolds (Reading Time: 4 minutes)
Google+ Guide for Newbies by Shamil Weerakoon -- This is a post that contains well over 20 resources on specific topics.
Google+ Hashtags - what are they and why should I care? by Ronnie Bincer (Reading Time:5 minutes)
Circles and Getting Discovered
3 Ways to Boost Your Visibility with Google+ Video with Denise Wakeman, MaAnna Stephenson and Stephan Hovnanian (View Time: 01:45:02)
Start by understanding that the more you interact with others, the more they will find you! So, consider going to this list of shared circles in dozens of topics. Shared Circles are groups of users you can add to your own circles with one click. Circle them and start a conversation.
Awesome List of 11 Google+ Directories by Creative Web Design (Reading Time: 5 minutes)
How to find a Shared Circle by Rahul Roy (Reading Time: 4 minutes)
Overview of the Features of Google+ Communities by Carece Slaughter (Reading Time: 4 minutes - pay special attention to the end on how to engage.)
Getting Started with Google+ Communities Google help document (Reading Time:3 minutes)
Complete Users Guide to Google+ Communities by Martin Shervington (Reading Time: 4 minutes + video)
If you'd like to watch the history of Google Communities unfold, check out these videos hosted by Ronnie Bincer:
Google+ Communities - What You Need to Know (part 1)
Google+ Communities - What We Know After 18 Hours (part 2)
Google+ Communities - What we know after 1 week (part 3)
Google+ Communities - What we know after 2 weeks (part 4) HOA
Google+ Communities - What we know after 4 weeks (pt. 5) 2013 a look ahead
Google Plus Communities - What we know after 2 Months (pt. 6)
Google+ Communities - What we know after 3 Months (part 7)
Google+ Communities - What we know after 4 Months (part 8)
Google Author Gives You Google Juice
If you really want to know about this topic, join Mark Traphagen's Google Authorship & Author Rank Community. They are highly active and cover the how-tos.
Google Author Rank and Authorship - What We Know So Far by Mark Traphagen (Reading Time: at least 10 minutes and more if you want to really take it in.)
Hangouts and Hangouts On Air (Yes, they are different)
7 Ways Businesses Can Use G+ Hangouts by Sarah Hill (Reading Time: 6 minutes)
How to Host a Hangout On Air by Sarah Hill (Viewing Time: 45 minutes)
10 Commandments of Participating in Hangouts by Sarah Hill (Reading Time: 2 minutes)
50+ Google+ Hangout Ideas by GPlusTuts (Reading Time: 3 minutes)
Thanks for reading! I’d appreciate if you would click here to share this post on Twitter. I’m sure you know a lot of people who also could use some help increasing their visibility and business.
Quick How-To Videos from Google
Your Profile: google.com/+/learnmore/profile
Get started: google.com/+/learnmore/getstarted/guide.html
Video resources: google.com/+/learnmore/resources/videos.html
Plus Google: google.com/+/learnmore/better/
People Mentioned in this Post - Click and Circle Them
Reasons Why Others Spend time on Google+
I sent a question out to my public stream asking why they spend time on Google+ and here is what they had to say:
Then there's the niche interest element. When describing Google+ to my clients I call it "Twitter for grownups" because it has all the discovery benefits of Twitter, but allows for actual conversations beyond 140 characters - and threaded, to boot. Last year there was all this hubbub about why more business leaders aren't using social media, and my reaction to that was: Because leaders communicate without the shackles of 140 characters, and outside the walled garden of Facebook. So, enter Google+, and I think we're seeing momentum gaining on its usefulness.
I regularly have Hangouts with clients to review work via screen sharing – a service Skype now charges for. If one wanted to, Google+ could outright replace a paid-for project management service like BaseCamp with G+'s Hangouts, Drive integration, and Circles for specific accounts.
I like the people over here, most of my friends on FB don't even talk anymore, but here I get interaction, we get discussions, we even meet face to face virtually. I like spending my time here since I get to meet new people that are becoming friends. I am building relationships that I believe will last. This is not just another social networking site, it is a community.
I will swipe through my Facebook feed looking for any posts from friends that are important but on Google+ I find that I spend a lot of time actually reading so much of the content. The fact is that Google is showing me things I have in my interest set and also seems to add new info into my "hot topics" that is relevant allowing me to broaden even more.
Additionally, Communities on + have been a great place to connect and interact with people. I am an active contributor in a running community and frequent several others and I have found friendship and likeness with people without needing to know all the personal details about their life, often we are only connected through the community and not even in each others circles.