Google+ is often misunderstood, Guy Kawasaki said during a recent webinar with SmartBrief. People sign up for it and expect it to be like Facebook, full of friends and family. And when it turns out that Google+ isn’t full of people they already know, they get discouraged and wander off. But the very thing that turns some people off of Google+ is what makes it so worthwhile for people who know how to use it correctly.
Facebook is like a very big party, where you know everyone already. But Google+ is a smaller, more intimate party filled with people you don’t know yet — but who have interesting things to say on a variety of topics. If Facebook is for friends and family, Twitter is for sharing thoughts and opinions and LinkedIn is for self-promotion — then Google+ is for talking about things you’re most passionate about with new and exciting people.
But diving into this party can be daunting. Kawasaki gave attendees some of his top tips on getting more out of Google+.
- Post about your passions. Instead of promoting yourself or talking about the day-to-day aspects of your life, post about topics you really care about as a way of generating conversation. Keep your posts short and to the point.
- Comments are key. Responding to posts and engaging with commenters is the heart of Google+ networking. Respond to everyone who comments on your posts, and give Plus Mentions to all commenters. Comment on the posts of people you find interesting as a way of introducing yourself — but be sure to do so in a way that cuts to the chase and adds value. The plug-in “Replies and More for Google+” can make this much easier. Don’t get sucked into long arguments with negative commenters. Respond three times, then move on.
- Photos are a must. Photos make your posts more visually engaging, but when you’re sharing content from other sites, the associated photo won’t always be properly formatted. Take the time to make sure the photo looks good on Google+ — or if you’re stuck for a good image to go with your post, check out Wikimedia.
- Don’t look clueless. Asking someone for the reason he or she stopped following you or announcing that you’ve stopped following someone is an easy way to look like a fool on Google+. Posting too many self-promotional items and posing as an expert are other sure-fire ways to turn off potential followers.
If you truly want to master Google+, check out Kawasaki’s e-book “What the Plus!” for more tips and strategies.