Yesterday I asked whether Google+ would be the next shiny new failure.
Today I posit a collection of ideas on how we could create a better experience for ourselves at Google+ and get great results right from the beginning.
1. Learn as much as you can before you start
Wade through that information before you start. That way, you’ll also save a lot of time figuring out everything at once, and be able to dive right in.
2. Fill out your profile if you want connections
If you’re trying to avoid people adding you, sure, have a blank profile. Even if most of the people you’ll add already know you, add a profile picture, a little about what you do or your company, and share at least one post in public.
If you want people to add you, make sure there’s content on every tab you make visible. Google+ revolves around a classification system using Circles, which lets you sort people, as well as the content you share, into groups. If people don’t know how to sort you, they’ll probably put you in a circle they don’t view often.
3. Think strategy
While we may not know Google’s entire strategy with Google+, we do know it has both sharing and collaboration functions so far. That’s enough to start shaping strategies of our own. Think about how Google+ fits in to your social media presence in those terms.
Who are the people you want to share with? What are you doing to make people want you as a sharer? Flooding your stream with just blog posts won’t work in an environment built to segment attention.
What makes you stop paying attention to people attempting to share with you? Are you sure you’re not doing similar things, but with a different audience?
Being useful and of interest is going to be of premium importance now that it’s easy to ignore you, and for you to ignore others. The flip side of that is it’s equally as easy to zero in on people who talk about things we are deeply intrigued by as well.
4. Forget the numbers
It doesn’t matter how many people you are following or how many people have Circled you. Popularity isn’t important, and the sites measuring popularity of people in Google+ are truly missing the point. Size of audience only matters in broadcast mediums, and even then only if you’re hoping to hit a tiny percentage rather than engage the entire group.
In the Google+ environment a person can be in your audience but also be completely ignoring you.
(As they can in Twitter and Facebook. Google+ just makes this easier and obvious.)
So a person with 100,000 followers and 100 listening has the same true audience as a person with 100 people who are all listening.
Quality is your mission. Be the song people want to hear and not the static between stations.
5. What are you talking about?
Say and share things that can connect you to the people around you. People look at your profile, read the default landing page (the About page), then look at your posts to decide where to place you.
Where do you think people will place you if all you talk about on Google+ is … Google+?
Think about what you want your conversations to be about. Find those conversations and join them or start them.
6. Seek as much as you share
By accident or not, Google+ makes it easier to have full conversations rather than comments in passing. (Someone wrote an excellent article on commentary vs conversation that I lost on Google+ before I learned how to bookmark. If anyone knows about it, please reply with the link!)
You’re missing out if you don’t give equal time to listening and talking. People are discussing problems they’re having that you can solve. They’re sharing tips on hobbies that you’re interested in. They’re telling a joke you’d love.
Indulge in some two-way communication. You may be surprised at the impact it has on you.
Those are my early tips on Google+. I’ll be back another time with a round-up of usage tips for new people. (Some are already on my profile - you don’t have to add me to have a look.)
Of course, these are just ideas I came up with. If you have input as to how we can make our social media experiences better – in Google+ or elsewhere – please share them – let’s make this a community project.
Image: Lukinosity via Flickr, Creative Commons