Gary: Lynette, welcome back to the show! I was looking at your Google Plus page today and you have 1.5 million followers, which has to put you as an authority in the world of Google Plus.
Lynette: There are some tricks that work across most social platforms, so we can probably talk about some of those here today.
Gary: Absolutely. Why should we be looking at Google Plus?
Lynette: Its funny that you bring that up because it has not been as much in favor with the general marketing public or even the general public as Twitter or Facebook, but I find that Google Plus is best used by brick and mortar stores. If you think about it, it’s a whole Google ecosystem. They own Google Maps and on Google Maps is Google Local. Google Plus hooks into Google Local, which are all of the pins on the map. So when I go and search for a restaurant in an area, you can hook all of your Google Plus into your Google Maps so that it spans across all of the Google properties, which makes it kind of seamless. In my opinion its one stop shopping for getting your online presence out there and working for you.
Gary: I didn’t know it was that incredible for this! But aren’t there two kinds of Google Plus pages aren’t there? Like one for me as a person and one for me as a business?
Lynette: Well there are three when you think about it. It has the regular profile for the person, an organization page, and the local page. The local page has a lot more functionality because you are a physical location, you can take reviews, you can put directions in there, your own photographs, and you can control what they see about you.
Gary: Ok so I need to get into the right one. How do I know the difference between the three? How do I know if I have the right page?
Lynette: When you first go into Google Plus, you are always going in under your profile. If you look at the upper hand left part of the screen, there is a little blue icon with a person in it and that just shows that you are on your personal page. If you scroll down a little, there is a drop down menu for your pages. When you set up your page that is when you get to choose if you are a business entity or if you are physical location. It’s set up similarly to Facebook, so you do have to set it up in the beginning.
Gary: I spent so much time on Google Plus that I didn’t even realize that when I put an image into one of my communities it automatically comes onto my page.
Lynette: It can because you have allowed that in your security settings. The nice thing is that you can go into your security settings and get pretty granular with it. I think it is pretty solid, but everyone has their own ideas of solid internet security. It doesn’t seem to want to trick you into exposing all of your information so you can go in there and choose where you want your pictures to show up. I have to agree though, that once you are in it so long you get blind to everything else that exists because you go on there for specific things.
Gary: I had been posting a picture of the day on my personal page, my Facebook page, and my community page and didn’t realize that it was posting twice. People must have been getting tired of seeing the same picture twice on my Google Plus and community pages!
Lynette: Here is a big difference between Google Plus and Facebook. I personally feel that Google Plus behaves more like Twitter. When you think about your Facebook wall, like mine for instance at facebook.com/lynetteradio, you see everything that I allow on my wall. If you remember years ago when people would spam people’s walls just to gain the eyeballs of the people on their page. That doesn’t really exist in Google Plus. On my Google Plus page, plus.google.com/pluslynetteyoung, they only see what I post. When you go in, you are looking at your home screen; however, when someone else is looking at your profile they only see the things that originate from you. I check it myself sometimes by opening an incognito window in Google Chrome so that I am not logged in. I put in my URL and can see exactly what other people see. A lot of what I do is behind the scenes in the community pages. Because of the number of followers I do have, I don’t usually blast out posts to all 1.5 million followers. A majority of the activity I do is within those community pages. I also make circles, which are groups of specific people or security groups, and I will put a post out just to that circle. I do that mostly because all of those followers are not interested in the same topics so I don’t want to necessarily share a post with everyone when only a few are interested in a given topic.
Gary: I actually have several groups and they are doing better than my page!
Lynette: I have a few things that I absolutely love in Google Plus. The local pages, like I already mentioned, and the groups and communities are probably more active than the general population because they can hone in and talk about what they are interested in.
Gary: Should someone spend more time working and developing their community than their page?
Lynette: Personally, I think there is more value in the communities and the feedback and interactions that you get from them over the page. The pages are in more of a broadcast mode while the communities are more peer-to-peer. You get more interactions that way. I have been finding that communities are where the gold is in the Google Plus platform.
Gary: What are some of these tips and secrets about Google Plus?
Lynette: Some of them we have already touched on. Local pages, hangouts, events, and communities are my four hidden nuggets of Google Plus. I think that people don’t realize how long it takes to grow communities or to get traction in an area and they just want to show up to a new place and bring over all of the success they have worked for somewhere else. I found the fast track to getting people to start following you are in communities, but my favorite feature is events. If you are a brick and mortar store, you can create events at your store and get people in the door. It doesn’t go away either so people can search and see what you have done in the past. I don’t think that enough people use this feature! They don’t have to be in person events either; you can do virtual events if that works for you better. Let’s say you are going to have a bat sale. You can get people to post pictures on the event after the fact with their new bat, which is user generated content. This type of content makes you much more powerful. Come up with unique ideas or twists on things, even if it is the same 10% off coupon. It is a way to draw people to your community.
Gary: If I did that coupon idea, let’s say for 30% off of bats, would it everyone be able to see it or would it be opened up to the entire world.
Lynette: You can choose actually. You can make it public, which means its open to everyone and the search engines, don’t forget about that, or you can make it private. You can make it only open to a VIP circle of your best customers or members of a team and you can invite them in for exclusive deals. More than likely you would want to make it public so everyone in the world can see you.
Gary: So you would say that the top 2 things to get into with Google Plus are events and communities?
Lynette: Yes exactly.
Gary: So what else do I need to know here? I think I am on the track with the communities I just need to figure out how to get more people on here. I don’t know if my niche is so small or because only a certain number of interested people are on Google Plus. The events are a big deal. I can see where this can be very popular because I could do a sale once a month every month on here. If it is open to the whole world the I can see where this could be a really big deal.
Lynette: The nice thing too is that if it is public on Google Plus and these are all tied together as Google Properties, if you create an event it looks attractive in search. If someone searches for something that has your keywords for your event, it is something that they can find value in and the Google search engine will make it look attractive to them in the results. Where normally on a website you have to use a lot of code to make something look good, you don’t have to do that here because Google Plus and the search engine are connected as Google properties so it will automatically format it to be eye catching. Another cool thing about events is that if a person responds yes or maybe to attending an event it is automatically synced with their Google Calendar, which I live by.
Gary: Should I follow a lot of people? I follow very few people, could that be what is hurting me?
Lynette: I’m going to say it’s not killing you, but it’s not helping you either.
Gary: For instance on Instagram I was trying to get followers and I followed like 5,000 people, got rid of them all, and ended up with 8,000 followers who are very involved by liking and commenting on pictures I post. Even though I only follow 30 people now, I still have 8,000 followers. Is it the same idea with Google Plus?
Lynette: The limit I believe is 5,000 for you to follow and an unlimited amount can follow you. You do have to be diligent with putting people in circles, which are like lists. I have circles that are for local people, professional friends, etc. You want to have manageable lists.
Gary: I would have three circles: personal friends, softball people I want to buy softball stuff from me, and podcast people who are not personal friends.
Lynette: Well there you go! Another interesting thing about these circles is that you can sort your circles into how active people are. That way you are only really paying attention to those who are active and can not look at the rest of the “noise”.
Gary: Is my problem that I am not communicating much? I mean I love Facebook and I communicate on there all day long! I just don’t want to be neglecting these other platforms.
Lynette: It’s because you are comfortable there! It really isn’t possible to dedicate the necessary amount of time to each and every social media platform to make each one powerful. You just can’t dedicate the time needed for each platform, especially when you also run an actual business.
Gary: I want to know how to get the maximum results on each platform with minimal interaction. I think I have done that well on Pinterest and Instagram already.
Lynette: You already have a good thing going with your photo of the day. You are giving people a reason to come back every day to see what you post. You are asking for user-generated content, you are already hitting all of those things that make social media tick and work well. You don’t have to use every single feature in the platform to consider it a success. You are already doing something that is bringing traffic and eyeballs to that community. You may want to come up with a supplement to the photo of the day to keep it interesting and fresh. That could help create more traffic and bring more eyeballs to your page. People might bring their friends in too, which will bring your follower number up. You can ask for themed pictures for holidays or for specific softball equipment and that user generated content will help you out for sure.
Gary: I thought that if I were to search softball on Google Images, I don’t see any of my photos. If I go and search Women’s College World Series, I see a ton of my photos that are on my blog, not directly on Google.
Lynette: Before you load a photograph up to Google, make sure that the file name has a keyword that you would use to search for it on Google. When you upload it to the actual community and you click on the photo and can see the details, it will show your file name. That is what Google is pulling from so make sure it says softball photo of the day with the date or something like that. From there it should start to get into the image search.
Gary: This was a great conversation for me. Is there anything you want to leave us with as a tip that we have not covered yet?
Lynette: Try to follow 20 people a week if you can. Take 5 or 10 minutes and go through your communities. It’s a nice way to acknowledge their interaction in the community.
Gary: Where should people hunt for you if they want to get in touch with you?
Lynette: The best place to get to me is at lynetteyoung.com.
Gary: I do appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today about Google Plus!
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