This article is coming to come your way in three stages, or waves if you prefer an ocean metaphor. The final part will cover the 'how to' aspect of it all so you can apply the principles for social media marketing using Google+ for yourself.
So, why is this going to be different?
Well, at Plus Your Business we've written over 100 articles around Google+ and social media marketing: once you've created the content, learned the system of distribution, and the engagement processes you'll use on Google+, you'll really want to build your community, one relationship at a time. That is what this article is really about.
Before we get to that, here are some of our PYB resources for you on social media marketing...
3.Content Marketing using Google+ (inc. video series)
4. Social SEO using Google+ (inc. free videos series)
5. A transformation approach to social, with Jay Baer (inc. video series) And the free Quickstarter area has a load of resources on it all too.
Ok? Ready to get started with Part 1? Here we go!
Using Google+ to build lasting relationships
This is the first in a mini-series on some of the principles you can apply in relation to the concept of 'amplification'.
This one is on 'relationships and trust', next is on 'reputation' and then the third will be on amplifying the story that is being told.
By the end of the series, which is a very personal approach, you will know the basic components as well as what you need to do to apply the principles yourself.
Social is about trust.
As the web has become increasingly transparent, people have gained a great advantage over brands. Even some chap blogging in his spare room can reach the world, get 'decent' Search results and build a community on the web.
But how can companies build trust of people, as if they were people? And come to think of it, how do people build up trust in the first place? Let's explore.
Putting Google+ first
The website, this one right now, is where we are building our relationship. Every word you read is me talk to you, and I thank you for listening.
This is home base, where I store all of the content, and almost always where I will launch, as well as keep, the ‘big ideas’.
But Google+ is where I spend most of my days as I don't need to be 'manning the shop’ on this website; to build relationships, which I value so much, I need to be interacting with people and that I do on Google+
So, this is my view on social media ‘out-posts’ as Chris Brogan calls them: Once I’ve cooked (here), I then share the meal with you there, chatting with my friends (you), and I love it.
People often want me to 'be' on other platforms more.
That is like being in the best restaurant in the world and people telling me I should eat at another one. Why bother?
Just send food (content) from one to the other. And ok, maybe repackage a little to make sure it is palatable to that hungry crowd too.
But most of my friends I have on Google+ are...guess what? The same ones as over there now.
Why don't I just stay on Google+ and build the relationships really well instead of spreading myself thin?
This has been my approach. Why? Because I didn't have such a supportive network on the other platforms. I've been on Linkedin since 2004, on Facebook since 2007, on Twitter since 2010 (a late starter), but Google+ is the only one I consider to be home. This is why I've managed to build relationships. Why? Because I turn up every day, and when I am called too.
Now, here is the thing though. For those who know, they will see me a lot more on Twitter these days than ever before. The reason why? The brilliant Martin Holmes is helping to run my account for POSTING, but that is all. Why? As I need some help as PYB is sky rocketing.
Outsourcing social media management and relationships
So, here is my take on having someone else running your social accounts 100%... (and you know I do stand-up comedy right?)
That is a bit like asking how the food tastes, except with social it is.. "Oh, I got 25 retweets! How popular should I be feeling right now? It feels good, right?"
As it happens, at Plus Your Business we do run clients social media, including Brand Pages on Google+; and to do it the person has to represent that brand, know it, feel it, and be it when they are interacting. Posting is easy, it is the relationships that matter. This is where good, no AWESOME circle management techniques come into play and enable transfer of the ‘state of play’ of someone else picks up the account. Social media is not all about the numbers. It just as much about the people, your people, your community.
Sure, we all know that 'traffic' to the site is incredibly important, but behind every visitor is a person and we have the opportunity to build a relationship which each person, making the interaction about them - helping them, entertaining them and engaging with them. This is vital; and it is through conversation that information really flows.
As such, the same as with Google+, I answer tweets/messages/comments myself. Why? Well...
So, I am always the one who replies to comments, and experiences the social. This is I believe it key for me as I want to receive the digital feedback; if I don't we are missing out on the social conversation and simply taking social and turning it into a one-way broadcast channel.
Do you remember as a kid how you loved the idea of speaking to someone on tv or radio? Well, with social media everyone is more accessible than ever. Now maybe people and brands can build relationships that build, develop and even transform both themselves and the people around them.
Yet is often seems brands are chasing the wrong thing - they think more followers will get them what they need, or even having more 'views' on their G+ page.
Looking more at Google+, connecting to a number e.g. 20 key influencers, could lead to huge amplification when those connections:
a) share content
b) +1 content, which now leads to viral spread into their network as if it was a share.
c) simply TALK about you as they've had a positive experience.
It returns to the same thing as it has done for me for the past few years:
The real power of Google+ is in the network, the people, the relationships.
If you want to know more about using Google+ for social media marketing then this is really the aspect to grasp more than anything about ‘numbers’ - it is people that click through to your website, and it is the community that will give your Search results. More on that here.
Trust comes from making promises, and delivering on them; from committing to relationships and being there when people need you. It takes time, and very often it takes suspending your needs by putting other people first (more of this in Part 2).
When you harness this on Google+, you will gain trust and reach at the same time. People will follow you more, engaging, and amplifying your messages as you become part of their story too (more in Part 3).
So, you may well be starting to see how there is an opportunity on Google+ to build a community around you, one person, one relationship at a time. This is really the true power of Google+ right now, as individuals and brands can find their tribe, their community based upon what they do. No longer do you need to have a lonely website, sitting in some quiet corner of the InterWebs. No, now you can reach out and connect. But it may need you to alter your view a little on things as people's attention will move to the 'next shiny object' very quickly unless you remember one thing...
So, when it comes to building trust, Google+ gives you the tools. From comment threads to Google Hangouts you have a spectrum of ways to get you and your brand known and loved. And the more you make it about them, the more people will feel 'you get it'. This is not about just 'setting up your Twitter/Pinterest/Google+ account' and distributing content. This is about building trust through every interaction. Everyone is waiting for you to arrive, to engage, to connect but you may not know it yet. See you there.
Reputation - meeting in 'the real world' changes everything.
Meeting in real life simply makes the good relationships even better, and even the more tepid ones can be built into a positive place too. Online by itself is sometimes just not enough.
This is what I learned from my time as a speaker and panel moderator at the Social Media World conference; it has taken my Google+ experience up a few levels.
Google+ - it is going to happen, no really, it is. And it going to be HUGE
Mike Stelzner started his keynote to the best part of 1800 people, and before long we were on to his recommendation to everyone there - learn more about Google+!
Instead of attending the event, I had a virtual ticket to the event so will pick and choose what I want to see later, and spent my time walking around the hallways. This is where I met many of the speakers. Why does this work for me? Well, I was looking to connect with people who other people are there to learn from, more than the content they were offering.
Most of the time people had 10/20 minutes that they'd be happy to stand, sit, or wander chatting.
I met Tim Washer in the restroom (awkward), and having connected on the subject of stand-up comedy (I am amateur and he is pro) it turned out he was 'opening' for me in my Google+ session.
Then, at the next day, at almost the final hour of the conference he decided to feature me in his comedy routine. Something about Wales not being a real country, if I recall. Did I feel honoured? YES! (and note, honoured with a 'u', of course).
So, here it is...
In essence, he amplified me into a new sphere and to a new audience who were not in the room at my presentation.
So, what is amplification?
In brief, amplification is not just when an idea is shared. Instead, it is when it is expanded, added to, and well, amplified!
It takes something 'further'.
At its most simple level, when someone leaves you a public comment on Google+, for instance, you can feature that in a blog post.
When Mike Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, however, called me before the event and asked for case studies for his keynote it was a chance to get the success of Helmet City out into the world, with the super-impressive Sarah Uyeyama at the helm of that page. As a Plus Your Business client we worked on generating real business value from social and search, so it was great to hear their story as part of the MAIN presentation at the event opening in front about 1800 people. This is amplifying them, and PYB too; and this is how people 'gain a reputation' - people talk about them in their circles. (And once it steps outside of their circles' circles it tends to mean a person has made it to being an 'authority'.)
People amplify 'you' when they have proximity
Here is the next thing I want to tell you. When you build relationships through Google Hangouts, they really 'feel' real when you meet with people; that is because they are.
For me, a comment thread if rarely enough to feel truly connected.
And when you are present, proximate, you connect further.
If you are not there, you are not 'in their mind', lingering like tang of a delicious vindaloo curry...well, then they are less likely to amplify your story simple as they are not thinking about you.
Chris Brogan and have ‘met’ in Google hangouts a couple of times, and bounced emails over the past year. He has been super supportive. So when I heard he was signing books at the conference I dashed upstairs to meet him in person. As you can see below.
But it was later in the day that I realized the importance of the meeting within that context, when someone said “You know Chris gave you a BIG shout out in his talk.”
I didn’t know as I was giving my Google+ presentation at the same time. Apparently, he said that he has no intention about telling people about Google+, they can come and see me instead (and I re-created the quote above with his permission as the sound didn't get recorded for that section of his talk).
This really is an incredibly kind gesture, and he knows I think that as we regularly chat back and forth by email.
But as you’ll see in Part 3 of this post on social media marketing using Google+, it doesn’t end there.
The amplification, the story building, the relationship continued.
So, is this all about me? No, it is about amplifying each other.
If they weren't there, well, then the spice would not flow.
Another thing I know is that the wave over there is not better than this wave. If you try to paddle to that wave, it has gone by the time you get there. Sure, there is positional awareness but that is different (e.g. being in the hallways). When I was with people, I did my best to be 100% with them. It really helped.
Suspending any personal agenda: "How can I help?" Sometimes this can be a way of saying "stop talking now and tell me what you want!" But due to Larry Benet doing a GREAT set up from the start of the conference, attendees genuinely set out to help each other like I’ve never seen before. And when people asked me what I wanted, I said nothing but 'this'. Really, nothing, nada, nadarama, just this.
I didn't want to try and nail down business, or grab an interview with people, or get a testimonial from there as to how great they thought I was (you can lol at that one), I simply chatted and once in a while said "hey, how can I help you?"
As you will have seen, I've been quietly building a relationship with Jay Baer for a few months now. And I have a lot to 'gain' through authority building in the wider marketing world; but relationships need to be both ways. With the ‘attitude of chatting’ and asking how I can help, he told me of his interest in reach analytics (my words) so I made sure I hooked him up with people I think could support his business in the future.
After the event, as the relationship developed I asked him if I could have a quote around what he once said when I interviewed him.
But relationships need to be build over many interactions; with Google+ taking off RIGHT NOW when he asked if I would like to write for his site: www.convinceandconvert.com I jumped at the chance. This is the post and what he wrote about me when sharing on Google+:
All in all...
The result of the conference has been for the Plus Your Business to be put on the map, for trust to be ‘felt’ (that we know what we are doing), and relationships build more than online alone.
This Google+ thing is going to happen folks, and if you allow yourself to be shaped by the experience it will transform how you see and use social media for your marketing.
And finally, as you can see when you build relationships, people will start to talk about you. And this is what ‘reputation’ is all about.
So, on a final note...please don't quote yourself. Why? Well, you simply won't have to.
How to enable other people to amplify you and your content!
When you create content you want people to a) see it, and b) share it with their network.
But so often people feel the need to tell people they are great. As you can see in Part 2, you really don't have to - just make it easy enough for others to do the work for you.
When someone says ‘nice things’ about you, you can really amp it up.
And now, on this post I can tell more people about his positive experience and amplify both his and the Plus Your Business approach to Google+, which builds brand and creates even more trust in the approaches we have been taking.
What about you?!
Well, it is always about you, or at least we do our best to make be. So, here are a few tips on how you can help other people find out how amazing you and you business are...
1. Write/produce content worth talking about. Simple.
2. Tap into 'explosive visual responses' - when people see BIG, BRIGHT IMAGES, they will experience an emotional response that encourages them to engage.
3. Make sure your Google+ posts and videos are 'embeddable' on other people's websites. This is a great way for your content to grow legs across the web.
Here is an example of a post:
As you can see, I am making it really easy for people to take my PYB content and embed it on their own site.
4. Make sure you are on people's radar - before you send your BIG content out there, make some effort to build relationship and on Google+, it will more likely a) you'll be circled, and b) your content will flow in their streams.
And engage with people in a positive way and you are VERY likely they will tell their friends, on and off line. Your reputation will come in this way.
I’ve found that seemingly private interactions very quickly become public content when people are happy with how they experienced the exchange. They will even amplify on Hangout-On-Air, so know that every exchange matters, and sometimes more than you’ll now at the time.
5. Just before you share that BIG content, remind people you still care - engage with them first if you want engagement.
Put simply - the same as in Part 2, if you are ‘there’ people will have you more on their radar.
6. Create 'list type' blog posts about influencers in YOUR NICHE; but the more noisy the market for content, the more effort you will have to go to.
This is a great way to bring people together and MAKE IT ABOUT THEM more than about you.
7. If you use infographics, make sure people can embed them on their own site too (check out this from Copyblogger for more on that) It can be a little more work, but how about graphics/infographics about the people around you? Use their quotes and help edify them.
8. Hangout with people and really build relationships with them - interview people who you want to connect with further, this will break down the barriers and hopefully lead to them naturally engaging in the future.
This has been pivotal to building relationships on Google+
9. Produce your content in a way that suit many different formats e.g. audio (MP3s), video, blog posts, presentations, PDFs, etc. - not everything will be sharable by people, so make it easy to match their style.
10. Be creative, amplify and tell a story to those would want to listen
As we come to the come to the end of this piece on social media marketing using Google+, this final point has to be one that deserves a little visual storytelling...
You remember I said in Part 2 that Chris Brogan said some very kind words about me in his presentation? Well, instead of leaving it there, I thought I would keep the story going and to say thank you created a Super-Plusto character, then have two t-shirts made for him and his good lady, Jacq.
BUT it goes even further as here is the book that probably connected myself and Chris when I read it and started to bounce some emails...
So, what did I do? I took the character and continued to tell the story, amplifying along the way. This character is called ‘Super Plusto’ and as you can see has a ‘CB’ (Chris Brogan) on his chest, as a way of saying thanks to Chris.
This is the main point I want to leave you with in relation to social media marketing using Google+ - It is not the thing, it is what you do with the thing. Everything becomes an opportunity to storytell. Everything can be amplified, by you, by others. I’ve been building a relationship with Erno Rubik quite simply due to by passion about the Rubik’s Cube. Having dropped him a message, and him sending positive vibes back:
Through to running a fun campaign on ‘Rubik’s Tuesday’ including creating the character below:
Then, Erno spontaneously (i.e. I didn’t notify him, just used a hashtag) picked up a post I did and shared it on:
All of this amplifies the content, telling and continuing the story. It is not the thing, it is what you do with the thing. When you see that, you become a storyteller and social media is all about connecting through the stories we tell.
Now here is the punchline - this article would not have been created without Chris Brogan. Why? Well, it was that single phrase: “It’s not about the…” as the start to the title of his book that got into my head, and around which our relationship pivots. Sometimes, as he told me when we met, “subtle is the best way.”
And why all the ‘Plusto’ characters? Well there is something I just launched and I want you to be ready to become a part of it all.
Social media marketing is about having conversations that continue from place to place, getting spread, changed and amplified. With 'threaded comments' on Google+ and on YouTube (unlike Twitter) you can find yourself travelling from place to place, conversation to conversation as people and content combine into a unique perspective based on who is 'there. As a brand you can pick up on this too, you are ALLOWED to join in and very often welcomed. If you want to market yourself, be real, be human and seek the connections with people. The online world of marketing is changing very quickly and Google+, at less that three years old, is going to transform social for years to come. I look forward to seeing you all there. And remember, don't quote yourself, it is not the thing, and that you cannot outsource relationships, and you'll do just fine.