Get a Grip on Google Plus and Twitter: It’s All in the Lists

(Actually, in the case of Google+, it’s in the circles, but that didn’t sound nearly as poetic in the title.)Woman with tennis racket

Google+ and Twitter have become my favorite social networks for business. Like all online social media, they require time and ongoing effort to share content and interact with others. It’s not easy. But it can be easier if you have a system in place to streamline your activities.

Finding a way to effectively organize my G+ connections and Twitter followers has helped me immensely both in keeping tabs on and interacting with important contacts and in finding really good content worthy of sharing with the people who are following me. For both Google+ and Twitter, I use a similar approach for organizing the people and brands I’m following on those networks.

Two Google+ Circles and Twitter Lists that will simplify and streamline your social media efforts

VIPs

Create this list/circle and include all the connections you consider “VIPs.” Include clients, hot prospects, sources of referrals, etc.  It’s a list where you can place anyone you want to keep close tabs on and nurture relationships with. Keep the list relatively short (I’d recommend no more than 30 people or brands at any given time). On Twitter mark the list as private, so no one but you knows who is included (why risk hurting someone’s feelings or burn bridges when people discover they’re not on it!). Your VIPs may or may not be good sources of content that’s relevant to your audience. If not, it’s OK. This list is meant to ensure you stay on top of what these individuals are posting so you can show support, offer input, and give virtual high fives  to build goodwill.

Content Masters

It’s time consuming and frustrating to scroll through random posts in your newsfeed trying to pick out those that are meaningful to you and your followers. Instead, create a “Content Masters” list/circle and include people and brands who consistently post quality content that’s relevant to your audience and that you can glean knowledge and helpful tips from.  Make this list your “go to” place when you’re deciding what to post on your networks. It cuts through the noise, saves time,  and helps you stay on top of the content that matters most to you. As with the VIPs, you might also consider making this list a private one on Twitter to avoid hurt and hard feelings.

Related tips for managing your Google+ circles and Twitter lists…

  • Whenever following anyone new, take the extra 30 seconds it takes to view their posts/tweets to see if they’ll make good VIPs or Content Masters.
  • These lists are meant to be fluid. As relationships evolve and strategies change, remove people from your lists and add different people as you see fit.
  • For people you might not need to keep quite as close to the vest as VIPs and Content Masters, but who you don’t want to lose in the noise of the general newsfeed, create other lists/circles. Do it sparingly though. Only create a list or circle if you really intend to monitor and interact with the activity there. Otherwise, why bother?

 

While there’s no right or wrong way to manage your Google+ and Twitter connections, there are tips and tricks that can help you minimize your efforts and help you get a better return on them.  It usually takes a healthy dose of trial and error before finding a good system, so don’t get discouraged or throw in the towel. Keep trying until you discover an approach that works best for you.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

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The Plusses for Solopreneurs on Google+

Although Google+ has over 300 million active users, many solopreneurs and small biz owners still seem to view it with Google+ iconskeptism and doubt. Many have the impression it’s a ghost town…that no one they know or want to interact with is using it. Others don’t relish the idea of maintaining a presence on yet another social network.

I understand the arguments (OK, the first one not so much!), but if you haven’t already, I urge you to rethink using Google+ as business development tool. Like any social network, you get out of it what you put into it. I’ve found Google+ gives you a fighting a chance to get more for your efforts.

Here’s the short list of what I’ve found professionally beneficial about Google+:

  • Less labor-intensive to build a following

    I’ve been on G+ since Nov. 2011, and to date, 5001 people have me in their circles. Compare that to my business Facebook page which has been around since June 20, 2011 and has 289 fans and to Twitter where I’ve got 1,770 followers since Feb. 25, 2010. Up until recently, I wasn’t quite as active on G+ as I was on the other networks and still my numbers grew. Sure, social media follower counts aren’t everything, but in my case I’ve found the degree of quality interaction has risen along with my numbers. The key ALWAYS is to post content relevant to your target audience so the right people find and connect with you.

  • Effective at driving discovery of your content

While no one (to my knowledge) has proven that  G+ directly improves search ranking, it without a doubt increases exposure of your content online through shares by others. Just as I’ve found it’s easier to build a following on Google+, I’ve also discovered the people using the network professionally generally seem more inclined than those on other networks to share good content and engage with other users.

  • Doesn’t penalize you for branding yourself

Unlike Facebook, Google+ doesn’t care if your personal profile’s cover photo represents you professionally, and the folks at Google don’t mind if your photo contains more than 20% text content. My cover photo is my logo – which is almost entirely text.  You can post business-related content through your personal profile with abandon. No you can’t post spammy crap without penalty, but that’s the same for any network.

  • Doesn’t select what it thinks you want to see

    Unlike your Facebook fans, G+ users have complete control over how much or how little they want to see from you in their stream.

    Google+ lets YOU decide what you want to see. It doesn’t decide for you.

  • Doesn’t litter your followers’ streams

G+ lets you decide if the people who circle you see everything you +1 so you can actively engage with others without flooding your followers with your activity beyond your own posts and shares.

  • Pro-power of Communities

Google+ Communities are kind of sort of the equivalent of Linkedin Groups. The communities enable professionals with like or complementary interests to share information and engage in conversations that matter to them. Although I haven’t embraced the professional power of Google+ Communities nearly to the degree I should be, I feel impelled to mention them to you. They are the place to be if you want to expand your industry knowledge and build business relationships.

Keep in mind, as with any other social network, you need to commit to Google+ for the long haul to get results. Social media is about building relationships, building authority in your field, and building trust. THAT’s how you effectively covert connections into customers. It takes patience. It also takes using your G+ profile in a way that will build your brand. I use mine mainly for posting about small biz, solopreneurship, marketing, social, media and freelancing…it’s got a “business casual” tone to it, but I also regularly post content that’s non-business focused (and often humorous) so people get to know me better.

Have you been missing out by avoiding Google+? There’s no better time than now to get started using it to build our brand. Just remember…Ultimately, you control how other G+ users will perceive you through the type of content you’re posting. Don’t expect to make strides professionally through G+ if your feed consists of little more than kitty photos and “JackAss” style videos.

Your turn! What successes and challenges have you experienced with using Google+ professionally?

 

By Dawn Mentzer

Keeping Up With Connections: Looking for Best Practices!

The Ultimate Challenge

It’s what I find most challenging to stay on top of on social media (especially on Twitter andSocial media followers Google+)…reviewing the profiles of people who have just followed me, to see if their content, industry, or affiliations make following them back the right thing to do. I know that there are probably a hundred or so people among my Twitter followers and Google+ circles who I should be following, but I can’t keep up! And so, I’m begging. I’m pleading for you to share your thoughts, ideas and best practices on efficiently and effectively checking out profiles/posts to decide who to follow back.

What I Don’t Want

I don’t want to follow everyone. And I don’t expect everyone who I follow to follow me. If you don’t enforce some level of selectivity, picking out relevant content in your news feeds becomes a nightmare. I forget where I read it, but someone, somewhere wrote something to the effect of “When I follow everyone; I follow no one.” Truth! If you have to ferret through too many posts/tweets that are completely unrelated to anything that’s within your frame of interest, you’re distracting yourself from the content that really matters. That means the folks who should be getting your attention won’t be getting nearly as much as they deserve, and you could be missing out on some really good stuff.

Help!

How do you manage it?

Do you set aside a certain time of day/week/month to review and organize connections?

Do you put new connections into lists/specific circles as soon as you add them, or do you go back later and classify/categorize?

Do any of you follow everyone back, and then go back later to remove them if their content isn’t relevant?

Please comment here, send me an email or share your suggestions on my Facebook page, via Twitter or on Google+. I’m looking forward to learning from you and sharing your ideas with others in a future post! Thanks in advance for your help!!


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