Google + for Artists & Designers
Today’s post is written by guest Fauxologist, Dana Tucker, of Nashville’s Bella Tucker. Dana and I taught the Building Your Online Brand workshop together last year at the IDAL convention. She has also written posts for us on Pinterest, Social Media Netiquette and a recap of the Design Bloggers Conference that we attended together in Los Angeles. She has also recently started her own Internet Marketing Agency, Forest Home Media. I think my dear friend is a fantastic person to guide us through Google+ — take it away, Dana!
I usually pride myself on being an early adapter to technology. I jumped in with both feet to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogging and Pinterest. As a matter of fact I am a little obsessive about checking in with my online friends. I am one of those people who keeps their phone within reach at all times. If I get a minute I will sneak a peak at my email and social networks. I LOVE being connected. So when the new social network Google + rolled out last summer I fully expected to jump right on the band wagon. BUT, by the time I finally got my invitation, I was tired. I was up to my eyeballs in connectivity. I had more online “friends” than I could physically manage. I had all the bases covered with all my other social networks, right? WRONG!
I read a lot of blogs from some very smart online marketing folks. They all kept preaching about Google +. I started really paying attention to what all the experts were saying. What I hadn’t previously considered was the way that actively participating on Google + can boost your Search Engine Results. Google, the world’s largest search engine responsible for around 65-70% of all online searches had invested time, money, resources, and egos into building it’s own social network. You better believe that they had big plans up their sleeves. The #1 search engine in the world who also owns the #2 search engine, YouTube is now paying very close attention to what people are doing and sharing on Google +. Factor in that Facebook does not currently allow Google to index its posts and you can start to see how it could be beneficial from a Search Engine Optimization perspective to have an account on Google +.
Here is an introductory video on Google +:
So how does it work? Here is the Cliff Notes version of Google +:
The single most important thing you can do on Google + is to completely fill out your profile. The most important piece of your profile is the “Employment”. This is what people will see when they hover over your name to decide whether or not to add you to their circles of people or businesses they are following. You should make the copy informative and clever. This is your elevator pitch on why someone should connect with you on Google +.
- Circles: This is the way that Google + allows you to organize the people you follow and how you share information with them. Adding people to a circle gives them permission to see something that you post. You won’t see what that person is posting unless they choose to follow you back. When you are setting up your circles please take the time to pay attention to how you are categorizing people. I promise this will come in handy later. Another great feature is that you can actually SHARE your circles. Send me a request and I’ll be happy to share my painting and interior design circles with you.
- Posts: This is like your Facebook status update. This is where you will share photos, videos, curated content, blog posts etc. When you post you will have the option of choosing who to share it with: “public”, “your circles”, “specific people”, or “specific circles”. For me, I like having control over who sees my posts. This is something that is hard to do on Facebook unless you have built a specific private list of friends. Another word about posting, Google will index your publicly shared posts. Use this to your advantage.
- Share: This works much like the Facebook share button. You can share relevant content with your circles.
- Comment/+1: Right below the posts is a comment box. This is where you jump in and join the conversation. That is the #1 way to build friends and circles on Google +. Also below the posts is the “+1″ button. Think of this as the Facebook “like” button. You would “+1″ anything that you would “like” on Facebook.
- Hangouts: This is a really cool concept. It is basically the ability to do a “Skype” type video chat with a group of people. You can also “share screens” like on Go To Meeting.
- Chat: This is Google +’s instant messaging service. You can chat with people right inside the Google + window.
Why you should join Google + today:
- Google is trolling Google + looking for relevant content to serve up in its Search Engine Results.
- Google is not indexing “Tweets”, “LinkedIn” posts or “Facebook” status updates. If you are using these as the sole means of your online marketing you are missing a HUGE potential audience.
- An effective Search Engine Optimization strategy needs to include organic search efforts. You have to do the leg work.
- Social signals are already influencing Google’s search results. It is predicted that in the future of SEO, social connections might be more important than gathering links.
- Pages and blog posts shared on Google + are crawled and indexed by Google’s search engine very quickly (under an hour in most cases) This could take months to happen otherwise.
- Let’s face it, you know you will end up with a profile eventually. People change. They move on to the next big thing. A few years ago everyone moved from MySpace to Facebook. Believe me, Google + is the next big thing, especially for businesses.
- Listen! It’s a great listening device. You can search by topic and even save searches for your keywords.
- There are also Google + business pages. These are very similar to Facebook pages but with the added bonus of being able to really help your organic search results when you link the two together along with your website. This creates authority for your website and online profiles.
Just like any other social network, Google + is a relationship building tool. People do business with people they know and trust. Invest the time to listen, comment, get to know people and share. It will provide huge rewards. Ready to start? You can “CIRCLE ME HERE”. I promise to circle you back.