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Srinivas Rao

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 10 Google Plus Users a-Sharing

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During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

Back in July, I did a huge link round-up on Google+ posts as part of our Brilliant Bloggers series. Since then, the platform has evolved and even more bloggers have weighed in with their opinions and advice about this social network. So today’s topic is Google+ and rest assured that I have some awesome links for you!

Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!

1. Google Plus – 5 Key Strategies to Get You Started by Wendy Moore at WendyMoore.net

If you’re brand new to Google+ and want to get started quickly, this is a great post to check out. Wendy covers five topics you need to understand to be successful on this platform. Since Google+ is slightly different from Twitter and Facebook, I really recommend you check out a helpful beginner’s guide before getting started. It’s much easier than wading through it yourself like I did the first few weeks! One of her great tips, for example, is about using keywords on Google+.

From the post:

Take advantage of keywords and phrases when posting content on Google +.

Keep in mind that Google Plus is powered by the king of search engines so what you’re sharing can be indexed. By using keywords, you can have a better chance of being ranked higher on Google searches.

After reading the rest of Wendy’s post, you can find more from her at Savvy Web Women. Wendy is also on Twitter @wendy_moore, and if you sign up for her mailing list, you can download a free copy of Savvy Success Tips: How to Use Social Media in Your Business.


 

2. Google Plus as a Storytelling Platform by Chris Brogan at ChrisBrogan.com

I don’t think it would be a valid list of top Google+ posts without mentioning something written by Chris Brogan! His Google+ presentation at BlogWorld with Guy Kawasaki was packed and for good reason – the guy knows what he’s talking about. He’s written tons of posts about Google+, but I definitely wanted to highlight this one, which talks about the value of this platform from a content marking standpoint. Writes Chris,

One great value of Google+ is that it makes a great platform for cultivating visibility. If your organization is hoping to “save a seat at the table” in between sales calls, one way to do this is to create compelling content that nurtures your business relationships by educating your community and by making them the hero in their own story. Said differently: If you want to nurture leads while they’re still at the wide end of the sales funnel, using Google+ is an effective addition to your content marketing strategies.

Chris is on Twitter @ChrisBrogan and you can also, of course, add him to your Google+ circles. He has a free email newsletter available to readers and is a the co-author of the New York Times bestseller book Trust Agents.


 

3. The Pros and Cons of Google+ Pages by Grandma Mary (Andrea Vahl) at AndreaVahl.com

If you haven’t yet been introduced to the Grandma Mary Show, you’re missing out! Grandma Mary is the alter ego of Andrea Vahl, and whatever her persona at the moment, I think this post is super smart. Google+ rolled out their new pages feature recently to allow businesses on Google+, but the system isn’t perfect – at least, it isn’t perfect yet. In this post, Grandma Mary goes over some of the points you need to understand about this platform if you want to create a page for your business, along with instructions for starting and whether or not you even need a page. From the post:

Why even have a page at all if you aren’t going to post there, aren’t going to circle anyone, and aren’t going to participate as your Brand Page?  If you don’t have time, if your audience isn’t there, then don’t create a Page, people!  This isn’t some land grab to see who can be in the most places at once!  If your customers are still all on Facebook, then stay on Facebook.  Take a poll – find out if they are over there!

Andrea is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and is the community manager for Social Media Examiner. You can also check out her various products to help you grow your business using social media. She’s on Twitter @AndreaVahl and @GrandmaMaryShow.


 

4. Public Posts: Are They Spam? by James Barraford at Media Tapper

This is actually a really interesting question, given that public posts are not only sent out to everyone who has you in a circle, but are also picked up by Google’s search engine. James weighs in with his opinion in this post, and also includes the opinion from some of his connections on Google+ about whether or not your public posts on this platform are spam. I think there are good arguments to be had on both sides of this debate, personally, and I certainly don’t want to see Google+ overrun with spammers and other undesirables. Still, I like to use Google+ for promotional purposes and almost all of my posts are public. So am I a spammer? Eek! Writes James,

The term spam gets tossed around a lot on Google Plus. I see it used frequently in situations where people don’t care for a particular post, thread, or superstar tech blogger. I don’t think I’ve seen a photograph of a beautiful mountain scene — that’s been shared dozens of times on my screen — be labeled as spam once. Have I seen +Robert Scoble resharers called spammers? You bet. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and often people forget they have the power of mute… or uncircle.

After checking out his post on Media Tapper, you can add James to your Google+ circles or follow him on Twitter @barraford.


 

5. Google Plus Tips & Shortcuts by Andrew Shotland at Local SEO Guide

Holy resource list, Batman! Pretty much everything you every wondered how to do with Google+ is on this list, with tips about everything from Chrome Extensions to Searching to Hangouts. I can’t accurate describe to y’all how gosh darn useful this list is, and although hasn’t been updated super recently, it looks like Andrew does occasionally come back to add more information. This is one to bookmark, folks! Seriously. Even if you’re not using Google+ right now, bookmark this post so that when you’re ready to jump on board, you can make the process SO MUCH EASIER. Here are just a few examples of the tips and trick he includes in this post:

– If you make a post aimed at your “Friends” circle, people in that circle who aren’t yet inGoogle+ get mailed.

– After you add a circle in the ‘share’ dialog, hover over it and an option will appear to ‘notify about this post’. That helps you control whether people get mailed.

– You can share your G+ posts to Twitter and Facebook with this Google Chrome Extension.

You can add Andrew on Google+ here, as well find him on Twitter @localseoguide.


 

6. Study: Will You Abandon Facebook in Favor of Google+ by Brian Solis at BrianSolis.com

I love Brian’s blog because his posts are so in-depth and packed with information and analysis, and this post is no different. Brian polled nearly 2,000 people to see if they would leave Facebook to commit to Google+ instead. Many people are calling Google+ a game-changer, but there are still so many people still getting used to Facebook; I’m not sure the general public is ready to jump ship just yet. Still, those of us in the new media industry set the trends for everyone else in terms of social media, so I think Brian’s study is an important one.  From the post:

As I noted in my initial analysis, Google+ is not a Facebook or Twitter killer and I don’t think that’s the right lens for which to survey the social landscape. In the U.S., we have a few top traditional TV networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC. In social networking, we now have three top social networks to compete for global online attention and interaction. In this example, none of the traditional networks successfully captured the attention of every viewer possible nor did one network kill the other. Instead, the programming of each network attracts people through content, creativity, and timing, defining, segmenting and sharing the audience around shared interests. The same can be true in social networking.

Brian on Twitter @briansolis and you can also add him to your Google+ circles. He’s the author of Engage and The End of Business as Usual, both of which you can pick up on Amazon.


 

7. Why Google Plus Pages (Will) Beat Facebook. And Twitter by Caleb Garling at Wired

While I’m not sure I necessarily agree (or at least, I’m not ready to make a call either way at this point), I think Caleb makes a really compelling argument in this post, which pits Google+’s new pages feature against Facebook and Twitter. In the past few months, Google+ and Facebook have grown more and more alike as the companies try to one-up one another, but Caleb makes a good point that Google has the advantage of, well, being Google. Will Google’s advantage not be in the platform itself, but rather in their ability to draw on their other departments to promote and integrate Google+ profiles? Caleb writes,

This is where Google will have an advantage over Facebook: With a broad array of services like search and Gmail and Chrome and Android, Google offers tools that are fundamental to the online lives of so many people — and these can be tied to Google+. As Google+ evolves, Google will have the means to promote its social network — and the branded Pages within it — in ways that Facebook or Twitter cannot.

Check out the rest of Caleb’s post on Wired and then head to Google+ to add him to your circles or find him on Twitter @calebgarling.


 

8. How to Hold a Google+ Hangout and Why You Should by Marc Pitman at Social Media Examiner

Marc Pitman is pretty much the coolest guy in a bow tie ever (okay…the second coolest), and this post makes me like him even more – it’s everything you need to know about using Google+ for hangouts. I’ve personally never done it before, so I found his advice (and easy-to-follow instructions with pictures) super helpful. Actually, his post makes me want to check out this whole hangout thing, which is a real feat in itself, because I don’t really like being on camera (turning on my webcam makes me nervous!). From the post:

We all know that people only purchase from us when they know, like and trust us. That used to mean we needed to go to a lot of conferences to meet people. But a tool like Google+ Hangouts can help you do the interacting right from your desk. And as Google rolls out the ability to broadcast Hangouts, you’ll be able to extend your reach beyond the 10 people in the Hangout.

And as you do more Hangouts, and capture more images from those Hangouts, your company will stand out. People will know you’re approachable.

You can find Marc at The Fundraising Coach and add him to your Google+ circles, as well as follow him on Twitter @marcapitman. He’s also the author of Ask Without Fear, which you can check out if you’re interested in fundraising


 

9. Using Google+ Ripples to Connect with Influencers by Casey Henry at SEOmoz

This post outlines a really smart way to use Google+ and one that I don’t see many other people talking about. I think one of the benefits of Google+, especially over Twitter (my first love), is that it is less noisy, so there’s a better chance of getting through to the top people in your niche. Since I don’t use Google+ a ton (yet!), I haven’t really looked into Ripples and why it might be helpful, but wow – I think Casey hits the nail on the head when it comes to why you should definitely check it out. In this industry, networking is everything. Writes Casey,

Sometimes getting an influencer to share your content can be very difficult, if not impossible. Ripples provides an easy way for you to investigate who are the influencers of the influencers. Let me give you an example of how this might work in a real world situation. Let’s say I write a blog post on Google Analytics and am hoping to get Avinash Kaushik to share it, since he is a leader in the Analytics area. However, I don’t have a direct relationship with Avinash, so I need to find someone approachable who does.

After checking out how Casey goes on to use Ripples to connect with Avinash, you can check him out on Twitter @caseyhen. His personal site is GR Web Designs.


 

10. 14 Bloggers Share 14 Awesome Tips For Using Google+ by Srinivas Rao at The Skool of Life (guest post for Social Mouths)

Y’all know that my mouth waters when I see lists that feature advice from a bunch of different people, so this is definitely a post I wanted to share! In this guest post for Social Mouths, Srini talks to people like Kelby Carr, Karl Staib, and Angela England about how they use Google+ as a way to connect with readers, drive traffic, find interesting content, build their communities, and more. From the post:

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on Google Plus and I’m finding that the quality of conversation with content creators is significantly higher there.

So I decided to put that theory to the test and ask some bloggers to share their best tips to on using Google Plus.

You can find Srini at The Skool of Life and BlogcastFM. He’s on Twitter @skooloflife, and you can add him to your Google+ circles here.


Quick Links

For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:

  1. Google Plus – 5 Key Strategies to Get You Started by Wendy Moore (@wendy_moore)
  2. Google Plus as a Storytelling Platform by Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan)
  3. The Pros and Cons of Google+ Pages by Grandma Mary (@AndreaVahl/@GrandmaMaryShow)
  4. Public Posts: Are They Spam by James Barraford (@barraford)
  5. Google Plus Tips & Shortcuts by Andrew Shotland (@localseoguide)
  6. Study: Will You Abandon Facebook in Favor of Google+ by Brian Solis (@briansolis)
  7. Why Google Plus Pages (Will) Beat Facebook. And Twitter by Caleb Garling (@calebgarling)
  8. How to Hold a Google+ Hangout and Why You Should by Marc Pitman (@marcapitman)
  9. Using Google+ Ripples to Connect with Influencers by Casey Henry (@caseyhen)
  10. 14 Bloggers Share 14 Awesome Tips For Using Google+ by Srinivas Rao (@skooloflife)

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List-Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing (this post)
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (Google+), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

Srinivas Rao Talks How to Maximize Engagement With Your Audience

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Session: How to Maximize Engagement With Your Audience
Speaker: Srinivas Rao

If you hang out around the blogosphere long enough you’ll hear the words “engagement with your audience” thrown around quite a bit. If you’re wondering what it means or how to create it, you’re not alone.  With the amount of tips and advice available on the web, things can seem overwhelming.  Fortunately, creating and maximizing engagement with your audience  can be boiled down to 4 essential elements.

Content

Content is really the heart of a blog.  Without good content you’re finished before you start. Like almost everything in life the ability to create great content is something you develop over time. My blogging friend Joel Runyon put it wisely when he said “you more or less suck at it for a while and you just suck a little less every single day.” The best habit you can develop in terms of creating good content is to write every single day. You don’t need to publish everything you write and you don’t even have to finish it. You just need to get into the habit of doing it and you will evolve as as a writer. If you can determine the core message of your blog and boil it down to a tagline that will have a big impact on creating a connection with your readers.

Communication

One of the most important things that people tend to forget or take for granted is that a blog is multi-format platform. 95% of communication is non-verbal, yet the the majority of bloggers stick primarily to writing as the only way they communicate with their audience. Given that we have content can be consumed in the forms of writing, audio, and video, in order to maximize engagement it’s important to communicate with your audience using different formats.

Connections

If content is the heart of a blog, then connections are its lifeblood. Underlying all the technology that social media puts at your disposal is people. Therefore relationships play an integral role in the growth of your blog. The right relationships cause your content to spread and result in opportunity.  The key to build relationships is to give more than you take, and leave people better than when you found them. There’s tremendous power in connecting purely for the sake of connecting with no end result in mind.

Creativity

Blogging is really an art form and we are all artists. It’s the opportunity to tap into the creative potential that we all possess. One of the great gifts we have at our disposal as bloggers is the ability to experiment with anything and everything. If you have an idea which doesn’t seem to have a purpose, then follow through on it. You never know where it will take you or how it will influence your audience. Take chances with your content and don’t remember that anything worth doing requires the courage to fail.

Hear what else Srinivas has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Srinivas Rao is the author of The Skool of Life and the host-cofounder of BlogcastFM. Download his FREE webinar on the the 7 pillars of Blog Traffic

Learning Versus Taking Action (and a new tool from BlogcastFM!)

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As bloggers, there is no lack of free information available to learn more about blogging – monetizing, building readership numbers, creating killer content, etc. The BlogWorld archives alone houses over 1000 posts (and counting!), and there are countless other blogging and social media sites online that you can check out.

But you can spend every day reading or watching videos or listening to podcasts about blogging…and do you actually implement the advice these bloggers? I talked about career inaction on After Graduation last week, and I know I’ve touched on it here at BlogWorld too. We want our blogs to be better. We want to make more money. We want to help more people. We want, we want, we want…but do we actually do anything to make those wants actually happen?

Often, the answer is no – and it’s not completely your fault.

Well, logically, it is your fault. It’s not fair to start blogging and expect someone to hold your hand or blame someone when you don’t get things done. Only you can make your blog successful. At the same time, blogs that give you advice – yes, even this one – rarely give you points of action or help in implementing their advice. I don’t know about you, but I often feel so overwhelmed by the sheer about of stuff I’m told to do, that I end up shutting down completely. If you don’t have a plan, it’s hard to make forward progress.

I am getting better at making a list of actionable steps as I read or listen to advice from bloggers I respect. But it’s about to get a whole lot easier thanks to some smart dudes.

Earlier this week, I finally took some time to check out BlogcastFM. I’ve definitely heard other people mention this site before, and I knew “of” Srini and Sid (the guys who run it), but we just haven’t crossed paths in the past. I just…didn’t take action. “I’ll get around to checking it out someday.”

The other night, I happened to be looking at my to-do list while on Twitter, and I saw Sid tweet that they were hanging out on Ustream answering questions about a new service they’d be providing, BlogcastFM Premium. I barely knew what the regular BlogcastFM was about, so I wasn’t really interested in anything “Premium,” but I thought to myself, “This is a perfect opportunity to cross something off my to-do list.

I’m a bit of an introvert, so crashing someone’s Ustream party is daunting for me, but I bit the bullet and showed up, while also heading to the BlogcastFM site. As often happens when I actually take action about something I’ve been putting off, I immediately wondered what had took me so freakin’ long. For those of you who have not yet checked out BlogcastFM, the site is filled with interviews with successful bloggers, both from the make-money-with-your-blog niche and other niches. You get to hear their stories and learn about what has and has not worked for them. I’ve already been steadily working through their archives, and the content is amazing.

Amazing…and overwhelming.

Which brings me back to my original point – it’s great to take the time to learn from other bloggers, but it’s hard to take action, especially when facing a site like BlogcastFM for the first time. Over 100 interviews, each which contain tons of advice? It’s pretty hard to get motivated because it feels like such a difficult task to get the ball rolling.

Just as I was thinking that during the Ustream chat, Srini and Sid started talking about what they were actually there to promote – their premium site. I kid you not, it was like one of those moments where the heavens sign down and you here, “AHHHHHHHHHHH.”

What Srini and Sid have done is create action plans for every interview. With premium access, you can download the interview as an MP3 (perfect if you’re on the go as often as I am), but more importantly, they’ve teamed up with Mike Tiojanco to help you actually take action. With every interview (12 per month, plus access to archives), you’ll get a workbook to help you digest the interview and a mindmap to help you organize your thoughts. The guys gave me access to their premium site to check it out for y’all, and I can tell you firsthand that the content is extremely interactive and high-quality. If you have a problem implementing all the good ideas you know would make your blog better, BlogcastFM Premium is a tool you should check out.

Please note – the final link in this post is an affiliate link, but anyone who’s read here knows how important I think it is to take actions to reach your goals! I would recommend BlogcastFM even if that wasn’t an affiliate link. You can also get their free ebook here if you’re not yet ready to take the step in purchasing anything right now!

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