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It seems everyone is banging the Google+ drum these days.

And it’s not just the early adopters or geeky types with facial hair any more. Even normal humans are using Google+.

But you can’t face another social media platform, can you?

Here are the three main reasons I hear for not using Google+:

1)    Distraction:
With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, who has time to squeeze any more social media? I hear you. But let me tell you: since I started using Google+ I’m using the other platforms less often. Instead of paying for useless likes on Facebook, or tweeting into the maelstrom of Twitter noise, I can interact with an audience that is interested, relevant and useful on Google+.

2)    My friends aren’t on it:
Everyone you know is on Facebook (you’ve spent years connecting with them), but none of them are on Google+. Well, how about making some new friends? Or business acquaintances. This quote sums it up nicely:

 “Facebook helps you to keep in touch with the people you already know. Google+ helps you to get in touch with the people you would like to know.”

3)    It won’t last long:
Yes, Google has launched a few things over the years that haven’t stood the test of time. But in terms of usage, Google+ is quickly overtaking other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. Facebook still rules, but for how long?

Tips for making the most of Google+

Just like any social media platform you should like things, comment on posts,  help others, join in discussions, post different types of content and above all, experiment.

But here are some tips that could enhance your experience:

  • Don’t be afraid: Unlike “friending” in Facebook, you don’t have to know someone to add them to a circle. If you like what someone’s saying, or you share a mutual interest, add them to your circles. (You can always remove them later.)
  • Choose a strong picture: Google prefers a good clean headshot as your profile picture.
  • Be consistent: Use the same name, email address, image and profile info across all your social networks.
  • Write more: You can pretty much write as much as you want in a Google+ post, so go crazy. You can even cut and paste entire blog posts there.
  • Edit: If you make a mistake, it’s super easy to fix it no matter how long ago you posted it. Just click the little down arrow next to you post and click ‘edit’.
  • Use keywords: Use keywords in your profile and your posts so people can easily find your content. The hash symbol works in the same way as it does on Twitter.
  • Add a G+ button to your site: This makes it easy for you and your followers to share your content.
  • Use search: Search for things you’re interested in and a variety of people, pages and communities will pop up.
  • Join a community: My favourite feature of Google+ is the communities. These are groups (public or private) of like-minded souls who share a common interest and offer help and advice. There are communities for everything (join my copywriting one here if you’re interested). And if you can’t find one you like, set up your own. It only takes a few seconds.
  • Mention people: You can mention people in your post (by using either the + or the @ symbol), and they’ll be notified.
  • Format your posts:
    • Bold by putting asterisks around the phrase (*Make this bold*)
    • Italicise by putting underscores around the phrase (_Make this italic_)
    • Strikethrough by putting hyphens around the phrase (-make this strikethrough-)
  • Try hanging out: Hangouts let you chat privately (Hangout on Air) or publically with others. You can use them for meetings, information chats, interviews and webinars. Google+ will also turn your Hangout on Airs into YouTube videos.

Of course, you don’t have to do everything at once. Just try something new each week. I haven’t tried a hangout yet, but it’s next on my list. I might even use it to record some mini-tutorials.

What about Author Rank?

How could I write an entire article about Google+ without mentioning Author Rank?  Okay, let me say quickly that Author Rank is important. (If you want to know more, read this excellent article series “What is Author Rank?” by the talented Amy Lynn Andrews).

There’s no hard proof that setting up your Google Authorship will have a positive impact on your ranking position. But I noticed a difference almost immediately.

Here’s are some useful Google+ resources:

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How to make Google+ a real PLUS for your business was last modified: by