Google+ Communities: 5 Reasons You Should Care

Google+ finally has an answer to Facebook Groups. It’s called Google+ Communities. And while Google+ Communities aren’t unique and innovative like Google+ Hangouts, they just may be the feature that pushes Google+ beyond the “early adopters,” and into the mainstream of social media networks. My first reaction to the news about Google+ Communities was, “this sounds great, but really, do I need a reason to spend more time on social media?” Having played around in the new Google+ Communities, I’ve decided the result isn’t going to be more time spent, but rather time better spent. So, if you’re thinking Google+ Communities sound interesting, but you’re not sure you really have time to spend there, I encourage you to read on. There are at least 5 reasons you’ll want to rethink that position. What and Where Are Google+ Communities? I won’t give you a step-by-step “how to” on Google+ Communities here. Let’s just look at the basics so you can understand what they are. Then we’ll go into why you should care. Google+ Communities can be public or private. There are 2 types of public groups – one allows everyone to post and comment; the other allows only moderators to post, but everyone can comment. There are also 2 types of private groups – one that can be discovered through search, and one that is discoverable only to those who have the url. You can find your Google+ Communities by logging in to your Google+ profile and looking for the green icon on the left-hand side. It looks like this: When you click on the “Communities” icon, you’ll see thumbnails...

The Social Media Numbers Game: Is Bigger Really Better?

In much of life you may be judged by the company you keep, but in social media, you are judged by the numbers you keep.  The more fans, followers, and friends you have, the more successful you are deemed to be in social media.  The more connections you have and circles you are in, the greater number of people you are presumably influencing. Makes sense, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes the Numbers Lie One of the problems with focusing on your social media numbers is sometimes the numbers lie. It’s always possible to manipulate the numbers game. In fact, if you’ve been engaged in social media for any length of time at all, you’ve likely seen it done. You can buy 1,000 “targeted” Facebook fans for about $100-$200. Non-targeted fans are much cheaper. You can get 5000 Twitter followers for next to nothing. But, there are so many problems with these “too good to be true” answers to the social media numbers game. First of all, you will almost always be amazed to find that the people offering you these great deals have a couple of hundred fans/followers, at most. Which means they aren’t going to deliver you what they’ve promised either. Second, even if the promise is fulfilled, the engagement level of these new folks – yes, even the targeted ones – is going to be little to nothing. The payment is merely for following. You’ll be lucky if even a few of these new followers ever see your posts in their stream or news feed. People who are a fan of buying Facebook fans like to argue that no one will “Like”...

HootSuite Adds Google+ Pages for All Users

When I heard the “great news” that HootSuite had added Google+, my immediate thought was that it sounded too good to be true. And when I headed over to HootSuite to add my account, in fact my fears were confirmed. HootSuite did add Google+ Pages to its list of social media sites you can post to, but I use only my personal profile. The “why” behind that isn’t really relevant, but I did write an article about Google+ business pages once if you care to learn more about it. The reactions I’ve heard to this news are predictably mixed. Some people are overjoyed. Others are just sad that they can’t add their personal profile to HootSuite. And, there are still a large number of people saying “I just don’t get Google+.” For those of you in the first group of overjoyed Google+ users, I’ll show you how to add your Page to Hootsuite, and look at whether it works well. For those in the other two camps, it’s still worth talking about whether Google+ is relevant, so we’ll do that too. How to Add Google+ to HootSuite Adding your Page to HootSuite is easy.  Just log in to your HootSuite dashboard and first click on the little photo of you that appears in the upper left-hand corner. Then click on the button towards the bottom of the left side of the page that says “+ Add a Social Network.” Your screen will look like this: After you click “+ Add a Social Network,” it will bring up this screen: Select “Google+” on the left side of the screen. Then hit...

Google+ Events: 5 Features You Will Like

If you’ve logged into Google+ lately, you know there’s a new feature called “Events.” A notification pops up the first time you log in, but in case you just clicked away and ignored it, you can find “Events” in your left-hand sidebar: What are Google+ Events? Events are a feature you can use to . . . create events. Not a lot different than Facebook Events, but cooler because Google+ has some nice features that Facebook doesn’t have. Google+ Events have also been compared to Evite, for how they put Evite to shame. I suppose they could be viewed as competition for Evite, as they are another event management system. Google+ Events are easy to use.  Once you’re on the “Events” tab, just click on the red “create event” box in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  That will bring this screen up for you: There are five things I really like about events. 1. There Are Many Theme Pictures to Choose From As you can see up at the top, you can change the theme of your event.  They have all kinds of photos to represent birthdays, a night on the town, even a baby shower.  Not a big deal maybe, but a nice touch.  And, with how visual everything online is these days, having a relevant and catchy photo at the top of your invitation could increase responses. 2.  You Can Use Events to Create Hangouts Under the “advanced” settings of the “Event options” tab, you can use Events to create a Hangout. (See photo above). This is a great way to invite people to a...

Google+ Shopping in the Chrome Web Store

Making social media easier is always a good thing. But, there are so many tools out there. It’s hard to know what will help you, and what will just cause you more frustation. Google+ can be especially tricky because they haven’t publicly released an API. Which means it’s not easy to cross-post to Google+ and other networks, or to schedule posts within Google+. The tools that make it more convenient and less time-consuming to use Google+ are harder to come by. One place that has no lack of Google+ tools is the Chrome web store. If you do a search for Google+ within the Chrome web store, it returns somewhere around 500 results. Now some of these are kind of silly. Like installing a “1-” button to counter the “1+” feature.  Or turning your 1+ button into a Mario Brothers mushroom icon. Okay . . . And some of them just plain don’t work. I know because I’ve tried. And I wanted them to work. So I tried. And tried. And tried. Today I’m going to share with you five apps from the Chrome web store that will help you with Google+. I’m not saying they’re all “must haves.” It just depends on your preferences and what makes things easier for you. These five work (for me), and they are relevant to online business owners. At the least, they give you a good place to start when looking at the list of 500. 1. Replies Plus More for G+ This app adds the following features to your Google+ stream: – “Reply” and “Reply to Author” links for easy +mentions...

3 Easy Ways to Share on Social Media, and Why You Should be Doing It

On the surface, social media isn’t very hard to figure out. It’s simple to set up your accounts. From there, all you have to do is type something in the little box and hit the “share,” “post,” or “tweet” button. Done. Or maybe not. If that’s your social media philosophy, you’re a “broadcaster.” And if you’re using social media to build your business, it’s not likely a very successful philosophy. Because social media for business is about building relationships. Building relationships in real life involves talking back and forth, sharing ideas and information, and developing trust. You build relationships on social media the same way. So, if you’re a social media broadcaster, it’s akin to being a speaker at an event who takes the stage, delivers her message, and then leaves the event through the back door. You have no chance of building relationships through this avenue. One crucial part of building relationships online is sharing other people’s content. Sharing is good for two reasons. First, your friends appreciate it when you share their stuff. It helps them spread their message, make new connections, and ultimately make more money. There is really no greater honor than having someone share your content with their audience. Second, your friends appreciate it when you share other people’s good stuff with them. It helps them learn, grow, and find new connections. Sharing is good all around. Fortunately, social media sharing has been made simple these days. When you read a blog post; an article on a website; or a tweet, or status update on any social media site, sharing that content across all of...