Google Plus Gets It For Business

There are many more than three advantages for getting your business on Google+, but I thought I’d list a few that weren’t directly related to SEO.

We all know that social media puts a huge stress on a company’s time and financial resources.
Myths to the contrary, Social Media is not free nor easy.

Consultants tell brands to go where their clients are. It’s marketing 101.

So if their clients are on the internet, if they use Google Search, have a Gmail account, watch YouTube videos, read RSS feeds on their Google Reader or use Google Docs then yes, brands should be on Google Plus.

Google Plus pagesGoogle Brand Pages are similar to Google+ Profiles; all of the functions such as commenting, sharing, Hanging Out etc. are the same.

The differences are:

  • Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned.
  • Pages can be made for a variety of different entities whereas profiles can only be made for people.
  • Pages can have multiple administrators. It has only one owner but up to 50 managers.
  • The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public.
  • Pages have the +1 button. Appearing under your profile, this is a way for people to endorse you. The other is to include you in their circles, of course.
  • Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web. (But like profiles, they can +1 inside Google+.)
  • Pages don’t have the option to share to ‘Extended circles’. (friends of friends)
  • Pages can’t hangout on a mobile device.

 

Why should you want to stake a claim on Google Plus Pages?

1. You can follow your fans back.

You can place them in “circles”. This is a great management tool for segmenting your clients.

For example, you can have a circle for prospects, one for geographical area, one for past sales. It actually makes for a decent CRM system as you can move them through different circles as the sales cycle progresses.

Having your brand in their circles allows you the ability to interact with them as you would on your personal Google+ profile page.

You can then follow their updates, comments on their posts and +1 them as your Page.

 

Create a Google Plus Page 

2. You don’t have to spend big bucks to get your content seen


As Google Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz says in this video interview for Business Insider, Google’s not worried about meeting the next payroll, so there aren’t any ads now will there be sponsored posts in our streams for awhile.

As a brand, your reach is dependant on the quality of your content and promotion.

If someone likes what you have to say then circles you, everything you post will appear in their stream with these provisos:

   - That your post is shared to “public” (It’s the default)

   - That your follower hasn’t buried you in a seldom viewed circle or “muted” them.


The main difference with Facebook is that there is no algorithm that dictates who will see your content. The control is totally in the hands of the people following you.

 

3. You can do business on Business Pages

In case you haven’t heard, Google+ is Google.

All of the apps that you use for business are available on the Google+ platform, Google Drive, (docs), YouTube, Gmail (totally synced with G+) and the most heralded feature, Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts On Air.

With Hangouts, you can collaborate with clients in video conferencing of up to 10 people at a time. For educational institutions that have Google Apps for Education, that increases to 15pp.

These are virtual meetings where you can watch videos, share and edit Google documents, present a product or hold a focus group.

With Hangouts On Air, you can host your own TV style show on your business page. This is a great way to drive people to your Page. It’s a live broadcast that is publically viewable but participants must be invited.

Once completed, it’s immediately available for viewing on your Page or YouTube channel.

 

Google Plus HangoutThere are no third party apps needed to access these features or  have access to your personal information.

Your Google sign in is your key to all Google products.

Do you have a strategy for your Google+ Page?

 

How to Use Social Media as a Job Seeker

Common sense would dictate that if you are seeking employment and you use social media, you would use that network to locate your next job.

social media for job seekers

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Yeah, I would think that too. But it seems that people are either afraid to reach out to their social network (out of fear of looking weak or whatever) or simple lack of understanding how social media can help. As the marketing manager for a group of staffing agencies, I’m posting job seeker ideas, job postings and other resources out there on our various social media to help. While those posts seem to have some reach, I wonder how useful it is to someone looking for work. I wonder if the reason those posts aren’t helping as many people as they could is because job seekers simply aren’t using their social media that way. They’re doing themselves a huge disservice.

There are lots of articles out there about job seekers’ social networks being viewed as a recruitment tool. If a person is interviewed, generally, their social media is looked up and reviewed for anything that could harm their chances of getting hired. We don’t need to debate the ethics of this, but it IS happening and if you’re a job seeker you have to do what you can to limit any negative exposure.

Here are some simple tips for job seekers to use social media to help them land a job:

  • Facebook.  Go through your timeline and profile. Are there any party pics or posts that might be used against you in an interview? Adjust your settings to hide as much as you can. It IS your page and you can have what you want on it, but you should hide anything that would risk a potential job.
  • Twitter. If you have a Twitter account you’re probably safe with whatever you post. You will want to clean up your profile if you have the “egghead” image or don’t have a Twitter header image. Make yourself as presentable here as you would in a job interview, professional.
  • Blog. Your blog is the expression of who you are and everything about you. Unless you have a ton of profane laced posts, highly controversial subject matter, tons of nude pics or other questionable material you are probably safe. But just to be sure, you may want to go through past posts and see which ones could be used to keep you from getting a job. Again, I don’t want to start the ethical debate about this here. This is a tip that could be the difference between getting a job and staying unemployed. Also, you can use a few of your posts on the blog as a makeshift online resume; sharing your skill sets, proving you know your industry, and sharing info about how you might solve a specific business problem.
  • LinkedIn. Ah yes. LinkedIn. I’ve blogged over and over about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively. If you are an active job seeker there is NO excuse for not having a LinkedIn page. Seriously, if you don’t have one, go get one. Right now. Do it. I’ll wait. Use every resource you can find to put up a professional image of yourself, fill out every section completely and find contacts. Make it very clear that you are seeking a job and join as many local LinkedIn groups you can find. There are plenty of job seeker groups in LinkedIn which will help you in your job search. Just Google “using LinkedIn to get a job”, and you’ll find a ton of resources.

If you have a professional headshot, change your profile pic on ALL your social media accounts to this professional shot. If you don’t have one, go to WalMart or some other low cost option that shoots portraits. For $10, you can get a professional headshot. It’s worth the investment. Don’t settle for a camera phone pic in front of a white wall. That’s just lazy and lame.

If you are seeking a job, I’m sure it’s not always fun and it can be easy to get frustrated. I’ve been there, recently, and I know it sucks. But if you use your social network to help find a job, it could help ease the stress knowing you’re using every available tool. Did I miss anything? What other ways can you think of to use your social network to help find a job? Leave your comments below. Thanks!

How to Teach Social Media To Others

Quite often I am approached by friends or referrals with the request to teach them about the world of social media. Some just want to learn more about the industry I work in and others are dissatisfied with what schooling has taught them and want to know how social media and spending time on a social network can be something turned into a career. Whichever the case I am usually glad to sit down with them in person or over Skype and discuss what it is that I do exactly – with mixed reactions, but overall quite positive and inspired.

Here’s how I usually like to approach the conversation:

1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Social Media Expert” – quit calling me one: This is the one that comes up even before we have our first conversation. Usually the first line is “I heard you’re a social media expert” followed by “can you teach me how to do what you do?” For me I always tell the person to backtrack, then follow up by saying that there is no such thing as a social media expert – because there truly is none. The industry is changing by the second, so how can anyone be an expert? You can be an expert at the English language, at baking a cake or at organic chemistry compounds, but not social media. We are all learning on a daily basis, and will continue to do so, and I don’t think we’ll stop.

2. Relate the topic to something understandable: I like to relate one topic to another because it’s important that people are able to see parallels with how social media is to how their life is. Remarkably there are many similarities. One I like to use is to compare the social media ecosystem and the aspects involved there into the dating world. When you’re able to make sense of a familiar thing (dating) with the unfamiliar (social media) people catch on, and you can guarantee a few laughs too.

3. Emphasize the Process but Don’t Forget the Experience: In my young social media career I’ve been asked if I spend time on Facebook and Twitter all day. The answer is a clear and obvious no as my job involves enterprise communities but even if I did, I would also be spending time blogging, targeting who I follow and preparing analytics to see how well social media is doing. In teaching social media to others I like to emphasize the process of social media, from scheduling content to preparing content calendars to analyzing important data indicators. In the same sentence I also tell those learning not to forget the experience, namely the valuable conversations and relationships built over social media.

4. Introduce them to the community: The social media world is big and overwhelming from someone who might be a newcomer. I always take time to ask if they would like introductions to folks in the space already who are running their own businesses, have a day job in the industry, are engaging thought leaders or are new just like them. Finding someone to relate to can be one of the biggest pluses for staying in the industry once someone has joined.

I do find definite joy in being able to share my career with others. If there is any aspect of what I do that I can share with you please do let me know! I’d be glad to chat – and of course, explain how social media and dating have anything in common!

What’s Luck Got to do With It?

In a recent post by my buddy @jamesoliverjr, founder of WeMontage, he asked if successful entrepreneurs are just lucky. He concluded success boils down to luck, and he is not alone.

From a distance, some success stories defy logic, but a consistent pattern emerges upon closer examination. This is true for a number of successful entrepreneurs and peak performers of all types.

luck

photo credit: wilhei55 via photopin cc

Let’s see if we can uncover this mystery by dissecting one of these “lucky” individuals. For this experiment, Bill Gates is the perfect specimen.

So, what is the pattern?

Obsession

Many talk about following your passion but the ultra successful have something closer to obsession. To understand the difference, study the lyrics of the 1980s hit “Every Breath You Take” by The Police:

Every breath you take

And every move you make

Every bond you break, every step you take

I’ll be watching you

 

Every single day

And every word you say

Every game you play, every night you stay

I’ll be watching you

 

Oh can’t you see

You belong to me

How my poor heart aches

With every step you take…

 

Clearly, this guy needs a restraining order.

A passion is something you love but can do without, while an obsession is something you have to have now and will do almost anything to get. The word obsession carries a negative connotation, but how else would you describe someone like Gates? Judge for yourself.

In interviews, Gates describes his early exposure to programming and how he coded for up to twenty to thirty hours a week in his early teens. While his parents slept, he would sneak out in the middle of the night to code at a nearby university. The fact he did not have permission to use the university computers was not enough to stop him. He needed to code. By the time he was seventeen, Gates logged thousands of hours of programming experience. This during a time when few others had access to computers at all.

Passion? This behavior sounds like something much stronger and puts the next trait on autopilot.

Insane Effort

This is not ordinary effort but painstaking, tedious work that would make most people want to yank their eyeballs out. You would think this obsessed group has a special contract with the universe granting them 30 hours in a day. The difference is they steal time where others kill it. Instead of playing Farmville while standing in line at the DMV, they read, research, plan and write. They start the day hours before everyone else and stay up long after their friends enter dreamland.

Quick Action

An obsession is difficult to hide, because the obsessed become so consumed in the activity. If the need arises for someone with his or her skills, everyone knows whom to call.

This happened with Gates during his senior year of high school when he was asked to work on a project with TRW. He jumped at the opportunity to further pursue his obsession. He spent the spring coding under the tutelage of a much older and seasoned programmer, like the young padawan Sky Walker learning at the feet of Yoda.

Surely, those around him marveled over his stroke of “luck,” but he was not lucky. He was ready!

When opportunities come along, there is no need for the obsessed to get ready or prepare. Preparation happens years in advance.

Balance

Though this group is anything but balanced, they recognize the need to have others around them who are. Gates started Microsoft with Paul Allen, who was three years older and more mature. He later hired his friend Steve Ballmer to manage the business side of Microsoft. Would Gates have been as successful without his team of balancers? We can never know for sure, but I doubt it.

What’s Luck Got to do With It?

Even Gates describes himself as lucky because of the access he had to computers, but his small group of piers had the same access. What they lacked was the obsession.

We can all learn a lot by studying the lives of the so-called “lucky” instead of attributing their success to the alignment of the planets. Then, we need to analyze ourselves to see how we measure up.

If your obsession involves standing outside of Macy’s for hours watching the girl at the counter, seek professional help. If it is a skill or talent with the potential to provide value or solve problems, go for it. But find some strong personalities who can pull your head out of the weeds and provide you with a balanced focus.

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.

What do you think, is success dependent on luck, or the right sequence of actions? Please leave your comments below!

What Apps do you use on a Daily Basis?

I’ve been reading a lot about different apps that my colleagues use to make their lives better and work load more manageable, so I thought I would make some additions and discuss some of the tools that I have in my tool kit. Lets go ahead and just follow through a typical day in my social media work world.
apps toolkit

photo credit: RLHyde via photopin cc

The Rules of the Day

I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the first tool in my tool kit, the “go to” tool that I rely the most on in my daily routine…my coffee maker…ha ha ha. Okay now that is out of the way, and I am still not sure if that was tongue in cheek or really a serious tool, lets look at the real work horses in my arsenal

First things First

I’m a huge fan of Google Chrome, it is far and away my browser. I click on it 4 times first thing, one for each monitor. If you are not using multiple monitors, you have no idea what you are missing. Nuff said

The Big Four

When I fire up the ole desktop I always start with the same set up. On my right hand screen I pull up IQTell, in the middle I pull up BundlePost, and to my left I place Hootsuite and Buffer. This is a routine that is rarely deviated from. IQTell I have spoken about before and really love this tool, it brings so much organization to my daily routine. They recently updated the display and it is even more efficient now. Lets test drive the other tools in my tool kit. BundlePost is by far one of my favorite apps/software tools. The way it integrates with Hootsuite is great. Managing multiple accounts, and keeping up to date with great relevant content is what Bundlepost does best. It is also useful in so many other ways. Robert, Julia, Rich the BP team provide a great useful tool that is utilized by many social media professionals. Thanks to the BundlePost team for all that you do.

Hootsuite just keeps getting better and better in my humble opinion. An absolute must for those that really want to keep your social media accounts organized. They continue to integrate additional social media platforms, including Google Plus, it is one of the few that connects nicely with G+. I spend a good amount of time each day on Hootsuite. If you are serious with social media, it is well worth the extra money to add the Hootsuite University to your account. A great way to learn how to really utilize Hootsuite to it fullest.

I continue to get a lot of use from Buffer, another great tool for scheduling and monitoring multiple accounts. I tend to use Buffer more for add-ons, and Facebook posts. Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide toolbar buttons which makes sharing great content a snap. When it’s 2:00 AM and you find some awesome content that fits perfectly with a client’s recent blog post, using Buffer is a snap to schedule that content for a  better time for your client’s audience.

Add a Little Spice to the Mix.

Now throughout the day I will work with Tweetsprout, ManageFlitter, Twitter, Linkedin and FB, definitely Pinterest,  and probably Mailchimp as well. Throughout the rest of my day I will normally visit, Triberr, Steamfeed, Listly, Stumbleupon, Scoopit, Google reader, Evernote of course, and that is all pretty much before my noon break. Depending on the day, I will most likely pull up one of my WP press blogs, as well as Tweetchat to engage in some great twitter chat action. I am sure that the apps being mentioned are being utilized by many other of my Social Media friends. If not the same apps, variations of them depending on personal taste, likes, and dislikes. With the speed and volume of content we deal with each day, it is just about a necessity to survive.

On the Road Again

I find myself writing more and more these days, and I love to hit the road and find a quiet place to sit and write, for that all I need is my Galaxy Note smartphone, and my Freedom Pro mini keyboard. Utilizing the blue tooth connection between these two tools,  I can create content any time of the day. The freedom to write from any place in a comfortable, efficient manner is a great perk to this career. The addition of the keyboard really makes all the difference between using thumbs and actually typing – being able to utilize a fully functioning keyboard is so much more efficient.

apps

There’s nothing holding us down, or keeping us back these days. Entire companies are being run from laptops, smartphones and the apps that keep us moving forward in an efficient, productive manner. The sky is the limit, and you are limited only by your imagination. Technology and social media are changing the way the world communicates, and does business.

So what tools do you utilize in the course of your day? I always love to learn about what my colleagues are utilizing, so share your the tools you have in your business tool kit.

You are the Face of Social Media

Ok kids, time to lose the egg and the faceless profiles. The first word in social media is SOCIAL. How about we get a little personal here and start humanizing the digital experience? No matter the reason you engage in social media activity, either for personal or professional reasons you did so to meet new people, learn, share, network and build relationships.

No Face on Social Media

photo credit: Masked-Bob via photopin cc

Would you walk up to a prospect in person with your face covered up? What about wearing a logo mask over your head? That would be a bit awkward, don’t you think?

Technology is great, social media rocks. Mobile is cool and people are still people. While technology has changed the vehicles we use  the game is still the same, people want to do business with other people. Just because we use technology to help us run more efficiently, it doesn’t mean we should become completely impersonal.

It is well documented on this site the value of social media, from marketing to promotions, networking and referral traffic the list goes on and on. Social media does a lot. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. After all, this experience is all about YOU.  So go ahead and share a little about yourself.

Whether you are using social networks as an individual or as a brand, make it human. Humanize yourself and your brand by including a picture and a name. Make it clear with whom your audience is engaging with.

How do we go about doing this you ask? You can start by answering these questions about you and/or your brand?

1. Start with yourself.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your interests?
  • What makes you special, unique or different?
  • What is your role and relationship to your business?

2. Now for your business.

  • What business are you in?
  • How can you help?
  • Where do you operate?
  • Where can I find out more info? i.e. Include companies URL
  • Who are we engaging with (answer posts)?

Why is it important to attach a face to social media?

  1. Social Media is a great platform for networking but your goal should be to migrate the conversation and relationship into the “Real World”. In Real Life (IRL), we have names and faces that go along with our knowledge and personalities. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation with a person’s name instead of a brand name or a logo?
  2. People want to follow and engage with real people. By not including a picture, you will affect the number of people who follow or connect with you. No one wants to follow an egg on twitter. Nor do they want to network or connect with a faceless profile on LinkedIn.
  3. Social is all about sharing and building relationships. When it comes to Social Media, you have to give in-order to receive. The easiest way to give is to share, start by sharing something about yourself. Like a picture, where you live, what you like or what interests you. The easiest part of social media should be sharing information about you. There is no right or wrong answer, no trick question. Just be personal and be yourself, you know… be social.

How do you feel about profiles that don’t include a picture? Do you think spam or being are missing the point? Please leave a comment below!

 

Will Social Scores Take The Place of Fan Counts?

What’s Your Twitter Score?

Didn’t know you had one? The truth is, you don’t… at least not yet, but I have a hunch that eventually you will. And not just a Twitter score. I believe you’ll probably have a Facebook score, a Google score, a LinkedIn score and more…

Social Score

photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS via photopin cc

Why?

The number of fans and followers you have on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms is in some ways becoming irrelevant. While a large fan count may give you bragging rights among your friends, co-workers and peers, it’s beginning to mean a lot less in the real world. The real social value of fans and followers is in your relationship with them. Do they trust and engage with you? Do they take action by sharing, liking, or commenting on your content? Do they feel connected to you? These are the items that create real social currency.

A large fan count means nothing if fans are fake, bought or don’t engage. A large fan base does not equate to social success.

This is where so many people get it wrong in attempting to increase their Klout score. They add a ton of new people but they don’t engage with them or provide content that is valued and shared. The result? Their Klout score actually drops.

Klout and other social scoring platforms measure influence, relationships and engagement – not just the number of fans you have. So get ready, because if I’m right, like it or not, Klout-like scoring on many social sites (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc) is coming in the not-too-distant future.

In fact, social scoring by individual network is already taking place on many platforms like Klout and Empire Avenue, and although it may not be obvious, or public-facing on the actual social networking sites themselves, you can be certain its being explored and tested.

Twitter Reputation Score

According to Twitter founder Evan Williams, Twitter already uses an internal “reputation” score to determine which users they suggest in the “Who To Follow” section of each users Twitter page. While none of the specifics are known, below is a list of some of the criteria Twitter could use to calculate a social score.

• Retweets
• Mentions
• List Memberships
• Followers
• @Replies
• Retweets Ratios: Percentage of retweets against actual tweets
• Favorites: Ratio of favorited tweets to overall posts
• Frequency: How often does someone post or tweet and what is the response/engagement ration to those posts

While its not known if a Twitter “reputation score” will ever become public-facing, its easy to see how the value of this information and an aggregated score derived from it, would be much more valued than the number of followers or fans a person has.

AuthorRank

Google understands the importance of this and the anticipated launch of AuthorRank is probably a good indicator of where social scoring is headed.

Mike Arnesen (SEOMOZ Blog) posted one of the best articles to date on Google AuthorRank, its implications and how to prepare for it.

He points out in the article that in February of this year, the term “AuthorRank” first started to surface in the search industry and that AJ Kohn had speculated that the development could change the search game as we know it. AJ Kohn also stated that it would be “bigger than Panda and Penguin combined”.

That is BIG, and I agree with him.

He went on to say that AuthorRank wouldn’t be a replacement for PageRank, but would be used to inform PageRank, thereby enabling Google to rank high-quality content more appropriately. In other words – the higher your individual AuthorRank score – the more weight it would give to your PageRank and potentially, the higher your page will appear in the search results.

In the post, Arnesen goes on to say that Google considers over 200 ranking factors when determining where your sites rank in organic search, so it’s safe to say that they’ll also be using plenty of signals to calculate AuthorRank.

Here’s a shortlist he compiled of factors that Google is likely to use in their calculation:

• The average PageRank of an author’s content.
• The average number of +1s and Google+ shares the author’s content receives.
• The number of Google+ circles an author is in.
• Reciprocal connections to other high AuthorRank authors.
• The number and authority of sites an author’s content has been published to.
• The engagement level of an author’s native Google+ content (i.e., posts to Google+).
• The level of on-site engagement for an author’s content (i.e., comments and author’s responses to comments)
• Outside authority indicators (e.g., the presence of a Wikipedia page).
• YouTube subscribers and/or engagement on authored videos (speculation: multiple-attribution author markup for YouTube videos coming soon).
• Any number of importance/authority metrics on social networks that Google deems trustworthy enough (Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc.).
• Real world authority indicators like published works on Google Books or Google Scholar.

The point once again is the importance of an individual network/platform score that incorporates relevant social signals.

Universal or Combined Social Score

While a combined, universal score can be fun and interesting, a single score from each network based on the unique data from that platform makes the most sense. A high score on one platform does not necessarily translate to a high score across others. I may be a “Rockstar” on YouTube (I’m not) but have little to no influence anywhere else. A universal or combined score may, or may not pick that up.

A combined score is good however in the sense that it provides a single snapshot of the overall influence a person has across their social sphere.

Unqiue Platform Data

The most valued data and scoring will come from the unique characteristics of each platform.

For example, what if LinkedIn adopted social scoring in some manner. Imagine being a local business owner or job recruiter and having the ability to quickly search for potential candidates and filter them using a trusted, aggregated score based in part on the criteria below.

• Recommendations
• Endorsements
• Length(s) of employment
• Previous Positions/Titles
• Career path
• Weight of Connections (Position, Industry, Engagement)
• Member of Relevant Groups
• Active in Relevant Groups
• Achievements and Awards
• Community Service

The benefit and value of a more granular social score on each platform is obvious.

One Final thought.

Social scoring by network is part of the natural evolution of influence measurement, however; it must be relevant and highly accurate before it will gain wide acceptance in the mainstream. Its inevitable that the social networks will one day need to adopt a method of social scoring that offers a quick visual representation of a person, or company’s influence and social currency other than a “fan count”. My guess is that it will happen sooner, rather than later.

Social scores are coming.

Think I’m wrong? Bookmark this post and lets see if we’re not comparing our Facebook, Twitter and Google scores sometime in the near future.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Do You Blog Like Charlie Brown?

I recently wrote a post about what to do when you get writer’s block. Through the comments on the post itself and over Twitter, I’ve seen lot’s of ways people deal with the same situation. That got me to thinking of one of my favorite songs from my childhood. “Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. If you have not seen it, click here.  The song explores how four of the main characters attack the same homework assignment in very different ways.

Charlie Brown – Charlie Brown knows he needs to get his homework done, but he keeps putting it off. He is a classic procrastinator. I know I have a touch of classic Charlie Brown in my blogging style, I always think that I work better under pressure, this is not the case.

If you are a classic procrastinator, try and find ways to help yourself get out of the rut. Schedule a little time every day to get some writing done and just keep chugging along when you can. (I started this post yesterday when I had some downtime, and I’ll probably finish it tomorrow.)

Lucy VanPelt  – (One of my life’s personal heroes by the way) wants nothing to do with writing her book report. She counts every word to hit the bare minimum and most of her words were very, very, very ,very ,very – unhelpful.

What Lucy could do, is find a way to express herself in a format she enjoys. If you are a classic “Lucy” and do not enjoy blogging or writing but still want to get your message out, look for a different way to do it. A visual person might want to start making infographics. Are you a talker? Express yourself with video blogging.

Linus VanPelt -  Linus is a very conscientious researcher but he lets his research take over and go off into tangents and analogies that don’t quite make sense.

Don’t let your research take over your theme. If you start out with a topic that gets lost once you start putting words to paper (as it were) maybe the initial topic is not what you want to write about. Keep going into the direction of the research and make changes and tweaks accordingly.

Schroeder - Schroeder takes the subject and tries to find a way to explain it in a way that he finds the most entertaining. Using an analogy is a great way to explain things to people in a way that helps them understand new ideas in a familiar way.

I am a classic Schroeder, some of my most popular posts have used this method to compare social media and blogging to pop culture. Shoot – that is the basis of this post itself!

While I am sure there are 100 different variations of each listed above, every author is different. The point of this post is to get you to try to find your writing style. Once you find it, learn the best way to work with your type to best accentuate your posts.

Where do you fall into this scale? What is your Peanuts writing style?

3 Reasons Google Plus Can’t Be Ignored

Are you still deciding whether it’s worth investing in Google Plus?

If you work in social media, chances are you’re already on it because …well, that’s your job. If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely one of the millions who signed on during the hype, got dizzy going around in “circles” then abandoned it, leaving your page to lie there like a dead leaf on wet pavement.

GooglePlus

The number one Google+ question I get is not:

“How do I get started on Google+?”

Nope. It’s… “Do we really need another social media platform”?

Do we really need another type of tablet, smartphone, or toothpaste?

Ok, maybe not so much toothpaste.

Many say they don’t spend time on Google Plus because their clients aren’t there.

I say…”yet”.

How many of your clients were on Twitter a year after it started?

And unless your clients were university students, they probably weren’t on Facebook either.

Google Plus isn’t a small start-up with it’s beginnings in a student dorm or SXSW hallway.

It was developed by a company that owns 2 of the biggest search engines in the world; Google and YouTube and who have very deep pockets.

A year and a half after its debut, nearly 450 million people are now signed on to Google+.

Unlike its precursors, Buzz or Wave, Google Plus is not a social platform.

Google Plus is GOOGLE.

“Google+ is just an upgrade to Google,” says Vic Gundotra, senior Vice President Engineering for Google. “People have a hard time understanding that. I think they like to compare us  with other social competitors, and they see us through that lens instead of really seeing what’s happening: Google is taking its amazing products, and by bringing them together, they just become more awesome.”

As Mike Elgan puts it, Google took its various products and turned them into features of Google+, rather than treating Google+ as a standalone social network.

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Google+ 

1. Social Networking

Networking on Google+ is more like Twitter than Facebook. You can stalk, uh, follow anyone you want without their permission. The advantage over Twitter is that the platform allows limitless text and integrates with rest of Google.
Tip: Find and follow people who share interests (not necessarily DNA or school colours). A good source is Google+ Shared Circles. You can also circle your Gmail contacts who will receive a notification and then can decide to circle you back or not. Regardless, you can still share content with them from G+. They’ll just receive it in their mailbox instead

Video: Find People You Know

PDF: Getting Started with Google+ for Business

G+ Post: How to Interact Well on Google+

Google Plus

2. Content Marketing

Creating valuable and sharable content improves your Google search ranking as well as your brand recognition and influence.

Because of it’s reach and palette of features, some writers have chosen to use Google+ as their blogging platform. Although I always advocate having your own piece of internet real estate, they  make a good case.

Tip: Take advantage of all the content creation tools that Google+ offers including images, video and Hangouts. A major advantage of Google+ is that you can do this all on the same platform.

Video: Formatting your posts with bold, italic and strikeout text

Blog Post:Why I blog on Google+ (And how)

G+ Post: How to Participate in Hangouts and Hangouts On Air

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The top reason businesses stake a claim on Google+ is because of the perceived SEO benefits of being on Google property. The assumption is true – to a point.

You can’t just set up a Google+ Page then walk away expecting to rank #1 in search for your keywords.

Google has made it relatively easy though for you to optimize your chances of doing just that with G+ badges for your website and AuthorRank (rel=author) to improve.

Tip: One of the best ways to optimize your Google+ presence for SEO is to make sure your Profile Page is complete and filled with “keyword” rich texts.

Video: How to Create a Google Plus Business Page in Under 3 Minutes

Blog post: 10 Dead Simple Tips to Take Advantage of Google+ for SEO

G+ post: Why Is There a Search Boost for Businesses on G+?

Google Plus

In closing, I’d like to share this video just released from a Google+ friend of mine, Martin Shervington who was the first to invite me to a public Hangout and who has since helped many “newbies” get “plussed”.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FOGc8E0gMY&w=560&h=315]

Everything you need to know about Google Plus but were afraid to ask!

What’s your biggest Google+ challenge? Please leave a comment below!

My Favorite Things to use with WordPress Part 2

In my last post I discussed some of my favorite things to use with WordPress. After posting I realized I wanted to add a few more plugins to the list. A common misconception is that you should only have the bare bones minimum of plugins. This isn’t necessarily true. If the authors are keeping their plugins up to date then the more the merrier. The WordPress Codex actually has implemented a new warning if you are searching for a plugin. If the plugin is out of date it will let you know it hasn’t been updated in x amount of years. Look for plugins that have been recently updated, have good support, and are compatible with most recent versions of WordPress.

Enjoy!

Display Widgets Plugin 

This plugin easily allows you to display different widgets on different pages just by easily selecting which page title you want it to appear on. I’ve tried out a few others like Widget context, but this one is much better.

Ultimate Maintenance Mode Plugin

If you are launching a clients site and are not ready to flip it on yet, or you need to work on a clients site. This plugin takes an actual screen shot of the live version if the site and niceley displays a custom message. In essence it is actually creating a custom maintenance mode image in seconds. You can upload your own custom message, but why would you?

Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On

In my last post I talked about Gravity forms and Mailchimp separately. Well, this add-on plugin allows them to integrate easily. Perfect for a form widget.

“The Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On gives you an easy way to integrate all of your online forms with the MailChimp email marketing service. Collect and add subscribers to your email marketing lists automatically when a form is submitted.”

WP 125 Plugin
If you have affiliate ads and want to display them in your sidebar then this plugin is for you. It tracks clicks, and set expire dates. You can also upload a custom ad like a “You ad here” image and have it link to a form to contact you so people can contact you about purchasing ad space on your site.

Security Ninja Plugin
My top recommendation for security is keep your plugins and WP up to date, but if plugins are your thing Security Ninja will make you feel warm and fuzzy.

    perform 27+ security tests including brute-force attacks
    check your site for security vulnerabilities and holes
    take preventive measures against attacks
    don’t let script kiddies hack your site
    prevent 0-day exploit attacks
    use included code snippets for quick fixes
    extensive help and descriptions of tests included

FontPress – Font Manager Plugin
Woo themes comes with all Google fonts installed and Genesis utilizes Typekit, but if you aren’t using one of the two then this plugin is great for editing fonts if you don’t feel comfortable editing your .css.
“With FontPress you can easily customize any text of your theme by using any font you want.”

WordPress Events Calendar Plugin

Want to display events? WP events calendar creates posts out of your individual events and even includes Google Maps.

Akismet Plugin

This one is often left of peoples list because it already sits in your dashboard. It is a free spam filter for your site and it works. Activate the key and keep your site spam free!

What are your favourite WordPress plugins? Please leave a comment below!