Hey bloggers do you want to use Google+ like the Pros?

Darren Rowse is one of the most famous Pro bloggers around and those of you who follow him know how good he is about teaching blogging as well as photography.  He has written a great blog post about how blogging pros use Google+ which provides 4 tactics:

  1. Cross promote an offering
  2. Day-in-the-life reportage
  3. Personal brand mini-blogging
  4. Close curation

You can read more about each in his post.  I wanted to add my own thoughts to these and point out that Google+ provides such a rich feature set in which you can get your message out.

Videos

For example, Darren talks about how Gary Vaynerchuck uses a lot fo videos and this is a very powerful way to get your message heard than just text alone or even with pictures and text.  Google+ allows you post links to YouTube videos or you can post a quick video that you record of yourself directly  from within Google+ and this is a feature I don’t see too many people using so far which is a shame.  This allows you to say what you want instead of typing in a whole bunch of text and I would encourage you to use this more and experiment and see what kind of engagement you get from these posts.

Personal Brand

This is another area that is often lost on people in that Google+ really offers you a chance to develop and promote your personal brand, or put simply what you are about.  There was uproar at the start when Google+ came out that it didn’t allow people to use their aliases as they had become known as on things like Twitter but really this about people getting to know you and the things you care about.  So when you post things ensure they are about those things that you care about and this will also allow people who are similar to you and have shared interests to find you and you can engage and interact.  Decide what it is you want to be known for and then use Google+ accordingly to back that up.  Of course your profile page should reflect this too so there is consistency in what you’re saying and what you’re posting.

Curation

It’s not easy to find time to write original articles and posts but to further strengthen your Personal Brand look to share things that are interesting to you and those who share your interests and passions.  Just like Darren mentions Gina Trapani you know the kinds of things you expect to read from Gina and if she is writing her own stuff, finding other stuff on Google+ to share or finding stuff out there on the internet to post into Google+ you know it’s going to be along the lines of her passions.  Do the same and become known as a good source of information (original or curated) for what you want to be known for.

There was much debate about whether Google+ replaces the need for blogging but I think they complement each other well.  Continue to write you blog posts on your platform and then use Google+ as a place to share that content and have discussions around the topics you’ve posted about.  This way you’ve got the best of both worlds that you are keeping your content safe while encouraging people to comment and discuss the topics.

What about you?  Have you got any additional ways that Darren and I have not covered that would be useful to Bloggers using Google+?

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Improved way to finding Google+ Hangouts

This week we saw a major interface refresh of Google+ which has had a lot of people talking and there is plenty to like but I wanted to point out one of those things that I’ve found to very useful and that is a much easier and nicer way to find Hangouts.  Rather than compare it with what it used to be like before I’m going to cut to the chase and describe how it is now.  The new interface now has a Ribbon down the left hand side which provides access to various elements of Google+ and among these is an icon for Hangouts (incidentally you can customise this Ribbon to add/remove/re-order icons).  When you click this Hangout icon it takes you to a page which if you’re not familiar you can learn more about Hangouts and it provides links to various other topics related to how you can make the most of Hangouts.

Below this what you will see is a list of Hangouts that you are able to join and the profile pictures of the people who are currently in those Hangouts.  This gives you a central place to find Hangouts that you might want to join in on whereas before you would see it within the stream when looking through posts of your Circles and its for that reason I really like this as it makes it easy to find.

Some things you should know about Hangouts is that they can hold up-to 10 people only and you can join hangouts from your phone which I’ve always thought was cool.  The Hangouts you’ll see listed for you to be able to join will be determined by whether or not you’ve been invited to that Hangout specifically or the Hangout has been opened up to people of Circles that you are a part of or perhaps they’re Hangouts that are open up to Public meaning anyone can join them.

A nice enhancement to this I’d like to see is titles to go along with the Hangouts that are displayed.  So for example if someone starts a Hangout from a post and therefore it’s about that the subject matter of that post then it would nice to know that so you know what you’re getting yourself into from the start (and can decide if you want to join in or not).  Similarly it’s not possible to apply a subject when to the Hangout when you start it simply by clicking the Start a Hangout button.  This will come I’m sure but for now Hangouts remain one of the key unique things that differentiate Google+ from other social network so join in and experience them and have fun!

Google Plus Mobile App Hashtags

Watch out Twitter because the Google+ mobile app just got updated and it now has hashtag support. This is a major development because I truly believe that the more the mobile app improves the more that people will use it and hashtags will play a big part in this.

Hashtags allow you to assign tag your posts with words so that people can click on them and find all other posts that have also been tagged with the same word. A very popular use I can give you an example of from Twitter is TV shows where a hashtag is defined and people post tweets about the show using this. If you want to follow along and be part of the conversation about that show you can click on the hashtag and see everyone’s tweets using that hashtag. An example would be #BBCApprentice which is used for The Apprentice series that is airing right now.

Until now Google+ had the same functionality but it wasn’t available from the mobile app. Since many people access social networking sites from their mobiles you didn’t quite see the same usage. Using the #BBCApprentice hashtag as the example I couldn’t find many tweets on Google+ using that but it goes crazy over on Twitter (and Facebook I hear).

With this update you can now click on the hashtags on Google+ just as you would on the web or on Twitter and you will be able to see all related posts.

I predict a big change in usage as a result of this. So go ahead, start using hashtags today in your Google+ posts.

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