This month I presented a Social Media Boot Camp for the Long Term Ecological Research Network. I followed up the group session with two days of one on one calls for the individual sites across the country. Each university had an opportunity to discuss any aspect of social media.
Much to my delight, everyone had questions about Google+. As I talked about Google+ with each call, I realized I really love Google+. I knew I liked it, but I didn’t know I loved it until I heard myself say it over and over again.
I now know, I’m huge fan of Google+. I was a little skeptical at first and I was afraid it was going to turn into one of those unloved Google products that laid dormant until they were laid to rest.
While it took a while to get started, Google+ is now on fire. It is growing rapidly and it is quickly becoming a must have tool for any online marketer.
Why I Absolutely Love Google+
- Connection – This may sound silly, but you can connect with people. LinkedIn is throwing up more and more roadblocks and Facebook is asking you to pay to message or promote your content. Google+ offers an opportunity to connect easily and effortlessly. Follow who you’d like and quickly be followed back. Why? Because Google provides nice reminders that make the process easy.
- Intimacy – Google+ does not have the mass of people on it like Facebook and Twitter, so by default it is more intimate. While the masses may technical have a Google+ account, they don’t all use it so the people you interact with are real people with similar interests. My business relationships on Google+ are far more personal than my relationships elsewhere.
- Longevity – Because of the intimacy factor mentioned above, my content stays current longer. If I post something on Twitter it stays relevant for a nanosecond. If I post something on Google+ it can stay relevant and in content streams for hours. As an advocate of content marketing, this is wonderful.
- Professionals – The active users of Google+ tend to be a bit more professional than I find on other networks. While I suspected this already, a conversation this week further solidified by assumptions. LinkedIn, the darling child of professionals, is now full of empty accounts, unsolicited emails, and c-level accounts managed by administrative assistants. I do not find any of that on Google+.
- Communities – I think the most underestimated feature of Google+ lies in its communities. Google+ communities are not only growing quickly, they are being used for real networking. People post great content, ask questions, offer solutions, and share information. I love my communities on Google+. I love the people and the information I obtain from them.
- Search Engine Optimization – Social signals (likes and shares) are ranking factors for SEO. The more love I receive from social media websites, the better my pages and posts rank in search engines. Personalized search takes this one step further by directly altering search results in Google based on Google+ connections. The more I connect, the more people that see me, the more traffic I receive.
- Authorship – Google authorship is the process of connecting a Google+ profile to an author’s content elsewhere on the web. It is what drives the profile images showing up in Google’s search results pages. It is not only great for click through rates, it is important for search as a whole. As Google moves away from inbound links as ranking factors and closer to authority and authorship, the importance of establishing yourself as an author on Google+ will only continue to grow. Me, being the web savvy gal that I am, set up authorship right away and now my smiling little face pops up across Google’s results pages.
- Limited Noise – Let me be brutally honest, I don’t care what you ate for dinner or if you checked into your gym. Or at least this is true when I’m on Twitter. On Facebook you may share your deepest secrets with me, but on Twitter it kind of drives me crazy. Google+ puts an end to all that. For some reason, very few people seem to share their meals, gyms trips, and rants. This reduces the noise and let’s you focus on what’s really important.
- Limited Spammers – Spammers are limited on Google+. It might be because the bottom feeding spammers haven’t figured it out yet or because Google makes the barrier to entry high. I don’t know the exact reason, but I love it. Instead of seeing hashtags filled with a ton of useless (aka spammy) posts, I see real content that I’m actually interested in. I had always suspected this, but I did some spam based searches one weekend to prove it to myself.
- Automatic Hashtags – While Twitter has had hashtags for a while and Facebook just started to use them, Google+ not only allows them, they auto tag content if I forget. Sometimes the tags are crazy and I have to delete them, but for the most part they are accurate and helpful. And I quietly thank Google for having my back when I failed to use them.
Are You on Google+? Drop Me in a Circle