The coffee shops in my town are terrible.
Most of them aren’t even shops, they are trailers on wheels plopped down in the middle of gas station parking lots.
To indulge in a hot beverage I sit in my car, I drive up to a little window, order, receive my drink, make a little small talk over some really loud music and then I drive away. I know, right? Not very conducive to meeting someone and sharing a cup of coffee and some conversation.
“Here’s your coffee, I want to talk about a business deal with you, oh, and buckle your seatbelt.”
My other alternatives are a big conglomerate with bad drinks that I have to give up a child to buy and nothing I can eat (of all the companies you’d think they’d jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, but noooooo) or a national chain bookstore with hard chairs and uninspired drinks or a trek across town to an overcrowded hangout jam packed with unemployed millennials wearing white headphones and infinity scarves. Uh, no thanks.
Where is the love people? Where is the love?
You know, this coffee shop conundrum kinda reminds me of social media these days. You’ve got your quick-‘n-go trailer (Twitter). Your 20-something hangout (Instagram) and your big multi-national conglomerate that keeps changing the menu, the prices (or the privacy settings) and has made you a creature of habit (Facebook).
But what if there was a shop where the barista knew your name, the couches were like warm hugs and the drinks were ambrosia on your tongue? And there was more – room for business meetings or quiet chats, cool art on the walls, plenty of outlets for your laptop and free wi-fi.
And then, what if they didn’t care if you stayed all day, they served good, healthy, hearty food and your friends filtered in and out all day with interesting conversation, not just complaints?
Sign me up!
This place exists in the social media world and it’s called Google Plus.
Don’t you roll your eyes at me girlfriend! Before you get all hot and bothered and make up some excuse about why you can’t handle another social media outlet in your life, hear me out. I’ve got some reasons why you can’t afford NOT to add this platform to your life.
If you think you can just take what you know from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and apply it to G+ let me just tell you right now, fugetaboutit.
There is no comparison, so let’s just start fresh from the beginning.
Here are 4 reasons why Google Plus is like the best coffee shop ever!
Most people find their way to G+ because of the SEO value. Google pulls their search engine optimization from your site, but they LOVE to see it on G+. It’s like extra credit that always results in an A.
If you have a blog, website, ebook, photography business, write about essential oils or make funny videos, you’d better be sharing them on G+ because that’s how they end up at the top of the list in searches. Google doesn’t give a flying pony that you’ve shared your info on Facebook.
Ok, that might not be totally true, but the point is, you’ve got to get it into the right position to be noticed.
Think of it like this, you know that guy who somehow attends every single NFL game with his John 3:16 sign? He knows exactly where to sit, every single time so that his message gets maximum exposure on TV. Right? He never sits in the nosebleed section hoping to be noticed. He’s front and center right behind the goal posts so that you see his sign after every single field goal. Kapish?
Get Noticed = Google+
A+ Article: SEO Using Google Plus
2. Social Layering
The beauty of Google+ is something called social layering.
Google has enabled all of its products to interact with one another. Alone, any one of these products is pretty good. All together, they make for something spectacular.
So as you are negotiating around Google+ you are going to be able to do a lot of different things without having to leave the platform. It’s an amazing way to interact with different kinds of people on different levels. As a blogger this is important because you will find people in your niche you want to connect with and you can do it seamlessly in G+. You can see their videos, search for more articles they may have written and “circle” them for relationship building.
You know, it’s kind of like that cake right there. Sure, a green cake is nice, or a yellow one or the purple one, but what if you could have all of them all the time? You can. That’s social layering. All the goodies, all the time. The fact that you get to interact with experts in their fields and meet people you’d never come into contact with otherwise is just the icing on top.
Layers of interaction = Google+
A+ Article: Why Writers Need To Be On Google+
The best way to describe circles is to start by saying, “forget about everything you think you know about following and liking other people.”
There, now we can begin.
Circles are a very organic and easy way to find and interact with (Remember the cake? Layers of interaction.) other people, including experts, on G+. You create the circles you want. You post to those circles whenever you want. You control who is in, who is out, who sees your stuff and who gets “No soup. One year!”
As a blogger you might start a circle called “Audience.” When you link up your latest blog post you send it to that circle, so that they can see what you’ve been writing.
If you have have a circle called “Knitting”, you probably aren’t going to send them a post about woodworking. That’s why you choose who sees what you post.
To your “Family” circle, you can send photos of your kids, but they don’t have to be public, for the whole world to see. Keep it in the family, girl.
If you have a question about something technical, such as WordPress, you might want to make it public so that you can get responses from people who know their stuff.
When people circle you back you don’t have to do anything. It just means that they will see what you post publicly.
Another great feature is the “mute” button. Perhaps you circle someone because they are an expert at social marketing, but you don’t want to see all the other stuff they post. You don’t have to kick them out of your circle – just “mute” them from the little arrow in the top right corner of their post. Easy peasy.
Circles are the most like real life of any of the social media platforms. Remember that coffee shop I talked about at the beginning? The one where your friends come in and out all day long? The one where you see people you want to connect with, not just people from high school you haven’t seen in 20 years? Yeah, that.
Meaningful connections = Google+
4. Communities & Hangouts
So based on the premise of #2, G+ is really the multi-tool of social networking. It allows you to use Google’s products for better communication, productivity and media sharing to engage readers and interact with people who have interests similar to yours in a way that is easy and fun.
Two of the ways you can do that are with communities and hangouts.
Both allow you to get top notch mentoring from experts in different areas of expertise. When you join a community you are getting a seat in a classroom full of experts who share their knowledge. By interacting in a community you use social media to it’s fullest potential. You engage and learn in a way never before seen.
When you participate in a Hangout with people in your circles or watch a Hangout on Air (HOA) you have a front row seat in that classroom. You get to listen to the experts, on your own time schedule, engage in the form of comments and read what others have taken away from the experience. It’s interactive.
The absolute key to Google+ is interaction. I recently heard a good ratio for G+: Share 5 times what you post. This means, share other people’s content 5 times more than your own. This is where the value of G+ rests. On sharing what you learn. It’s the central core of why this platform works. It’s all in the interactions.
By interacting with others and then sharing their content you create a true social community.
Community = Google+
A+ Article: Communities for Beginners
Well, there you have it. Mind you, this is just the tip of the iceberg and I will be visiting this issue again and again. But for now, that ought to give you plenty to think about. Have fun and don’t forget to ask questions if you have them.
I would love to see you at my favorite coffee shop so why not get started today?
Awesome Coffee Shop = Google +
You can do this!