I’m always amazed by Google+ profiles with over a million followers. How do people do it when most of us have a mere handful of friends on there? Viral marketing? Group eBook writing and promotion? Running on stage during one of those political debates? None of these seemed to account for arriving at that many followers.
(Because it actually boils down to a whole lot more)
In this post I’ll explain how to black belt in Google+. I’m no master, yet, but I have realized there are a few strategies out there to judo chop this social network that don’t exist at all on Facebook and Twitter. Let’s take a look.
Side-note: I only did Karate for a couple years and you’re free to judge me.
1) Enter the Dojo with respect
Entering Google+ is free and not as embarrassing as Facebook or Twitter – it’s harder to tell who has zero friends or followers on Google plus. But know this, Google plus users are focused. Your mom signs up for Facebook because it’s Facebook, but G+ users have specific goals and needs. Many of them work part or full-time on things like blogging or freelance consulting and use this space to network and improve.
2) Train wisely before the fight
Get your profile on track before “circling” people. This means at the very least a cover photo, tagline, and introduction with a link to your online work. Anything less and you’ll be laughed at pretty quickly. Have some fun with this step.
3) Learn from the masters
Like a new student at the dojo, find a few masters in your niche to study. In my case (blogging) it’s Brian Clark from CopyBlogger and Michael Martine from Remarkablogger. The flare they possess is uncanny and it gets them +1′s and visits. To find your masters, search a topic, then see who’s making the most noise.
4) Find the right opponent
You’d be crazy to fight a brown belt white stripe as an orange belt, you’d just get clobbered. So make sure when you start circling people, you’re doing it right. It’s a-okay to circle complete strangers as “friends” on Google+, and it’s not creepy like on Facebook. But you can do better. Use the search (again) to find Plusers who’re talking about your interests. Circling them won’t piss them off because everyone loves being added – it’s a great stat for them.
5) Define your Tiger Spirit
In Karate Kid (1984) the Tiger Spirit referred to your reason for fighting, a cause that fuels you. Now Google + is no fight, anyone who uses it knows it’s more of a booze-less office party you still have fun at. But knowing what you’re there to accomplish will make it a lot more fun – it’ll help you meet the right people and say the right things.
6) Challenge more opponents
After once successful interaction, go start a few more. Instead of just circling people frantically, lend your wisdom by commenting on and even +1ing relevant posts. For example, I recently wrote a post on how to upsell. By searching “upsell” in the G+ search I found others writing on that topic, and by posting comments into the search results I made a few new friends that same day.
7) Diversify your efforts
We all have a Facebook box and one of Twitter’s follow options on the blog, but nowadays you can do more. Go grab yourself a Google+ badge then customize it to your blog. You can change its width to get rid of some text if you’d like. This feature not only looks cool to the average user, but lets a reader circle you inline with one click, as opposed to taking two or even three clicks to get the job done. Believe it or not, but this can result in hundreds more (or less) followers.
8) Fight with style
Good copy is necessary to get your Google + posts clicked. If you ramble forever like you’re writing a diary entry you’ll totally lose people. Once your following starts growing, experiment with copy through brief text and attractive images in a few G+ posts, and see who responds. Just like on Facebook and Twitter, you can add your followers to posts, basically to say “hey!”
9) Leave the dojo
Armed with a growing presence on “the third social network”, leave the dojo to explore some other blogs via the age-old guest post technique. Once you land posts on a few decent blogs, make sure your byline includes a link to your Google+ profile in accordance with Authorship Guidelines. This link will drive traffic to your G+ profile and the guest post itself will position you as more of an authority figure.
10) Master the intangibles
Like on any social network, there are many things like personality and tone that may help (or hurt) you. You can do the above 9 things but be a total jerk deep down, and folks might not like you at all. Or, maybe you’re filled with empathy, understanding, and outwardly admirable qualities and you’ll amass a huge following in no time.
Either way, you owe it to yourself and your blogging – or whatever it is you do – to build up a profile on Google+. I’ve yet to hear one person regret it.
Guest Blogger Greg Narayan is the founder of Dear Blogger: The Blogging Answers Community. He loves answering comments each morning and helping folks decide where to start up a blog. For more, chat with Greg on Google+.