Okay, so we know who owns G+ and who controls the search engine algorithm for the largest two search engines in the world. (Google and YouTube) And now Google Plus has added the metric that drove Twitter mad, and the dash for Followers on Google+ has begun. But I hope you won’t make the same mistakes I did when I was rushing to acquire followers on Twitter. Let’s look at what reach can gain you, and how you should add people on Google+.
The rush to reach. One measures of influence today is number of followers on Twitter. Sure there are other platforms, and for some segments these might be interesting, but Twitter is the king of reach and influence. And then there’s everything else. Your Facebook pages (though Zuck and Co. have let it be known they are going to squeeze you for every red cent of reach above about 5% of your FANS. Yep, that’s 5% of the people who WANT TO SEE YOUR UPDATES, are going to see them, unless you pay to BOOST your post.) And then we move quickly to UMV (unique monthly views) if you are an influencer. (That’s what we call bloggers these days, influencers.) You are only as big as your UMV number. That’s what marketers will pay you for, to reach your reach.
Then you’ve got things like Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Klout, Kred, and other networks. No one is measured on their Linkedin followers, or endorsements for that matter.
Okay, so what about G+? The little social network that doesn’t know what it wants to become.
Well, actually Google is quite clear that G+ will serve as your digital desktop for everything. Think of GMail, G-Docs, G-Drive, G-Voice, all funneled through your Google Plus pages and profiles. If you are an author and are trying to gain relevancy in Google’s search results, guess where Google goes for additional links and information? Yep, your Google Plus profile.
And as Google continues to ramp up the search results to reflect social popularity, one of the sources for that “influence” or “page rank” has to be your G+ profile and G+ shares, re-shares and +1s. So this means, if you are not dedicating any time to building your Google Plus following you are going to be sadly behind the curve in the coming years.
Google is rolling faster than we can imagine to embrace the social signals (what items are shared, commented on, “liked” or “plussed”) and using that information to better serve your search needs. And if Google Search is the engine that powers 80% of the paid and organic search market, well… what is your G+ influence worth now?
And we’re off to the races. And recently Google added “Followers” and “Views” to our G+ profile pages. And what this means is, they are upping the visibility of your Google Plus influence. And we’re back in the numbers/reach race to build bigger and bigger followings, regardless of their value to our business.
And one of the things that happened with Twitter is probably in-progress on Google now that they’ve opened up the “followers” can of worms. The spammers, who have focused mainly on Twitter and Facebook, are now starting to creep into, and spam up Google+. Here’s what that looks like.
Lots of profiles with no pictures and in foreign languages. And in theory, these “followers” up my value or influence. Except dead/spam followers don’t ever DO anything. And the real value of your network (on G+ or Twitter) is about actions. If you tweet a link with relevant information to your followers, how many people visit the link? Fake followers do nothing, ever. So while these three folks have lifted my “follower” score, they are unlikely to ever be “influenced” by me.
So how do you grow your “following” responsibly? It’s a great question. Start slow. If you’re organized you can use Circles to organize your follows. And start following REAL PEOPLE who are saying things you are interested in. If you’re working on a business account, follow people in your business. (A great way to learn what your competition is doing online is to follow their social accounts.) And often you find that people you follow (real people, that is) will follow you back.
Now one of the problems that happened with this rush to reach on Twitter was we built up huge followings of dead accounts. We followed everyone. And everyone followed us back. And nobody was ever really Following. No link you tweeted was ever retweeted or clicked on by your spam followers. And we developed a major problem on Twitter that exists today. (The Problem With Twitter — LINK) Lots and lots of activity and tweets and very little real interaction going on.
So in building your Google Plus account I would advise you to not just follow everyone who follows you. Often, as in the examples above, they are dead weight. You might get three new followers (of course these three are already following me, I am not following them) but you will get no activity juice from their following.
But don’t ignore Google Plus any longer. Just because you’ve heard it’s not as good as Facebook, or that only geeks are using it. Don’t delay, you need to begin building your LIVE GOOGLE PLUS network as soon as possible. You’re future Google Page Rank may depend on it more than you think. And when someone Google’s you, I can assure you the G+ linked information will show up ahead of most everything else.
If Google is the authority (and they are) then you’d better start playing by their rules. And they’ve made it clear that G+ is a cornerstone of their digital takeover. Here’s the current G+ dashboard.
Well, here’s what’s coming. Add to this dashboard Google Analytics, Google Voice, Google Search, AdWords Management, AdSense payments, Google Payments, and you can see Google is positioning themselves as the virtual office for the future. You don’t really need OFFICE today, because Google Docs has replicated the 20% of the features everyone uses of their flagship products. You CAN and will run businesses in the future without any OFFICE products, except to import and export their data formats. (And don’t get me started on Adobe’s Creative Cloud fiasco–that’s a whole different cluster.
Bottom Line: Get your Google + profile page in order, and start building your Google+ network. You’ll thank me later.