7 Things Chris Brogan Taught Me About Google+ and Why it Matters

Carol Tice

Google+ graphicDo freelance writers really need to learn about Google+? After all, aren’t we already doing enough on LinkedIn/Twitter/Pinterest/You Name It?

It turns out, Google+ is different. And we really should get on it and use it, because it offers some unique advantages over other platforms. It’s a great place to build your authority, get known, connect with thought leaders, and raise awareness about your services — all while helping your search results, too.

How did I find this all out? I had a chance to read Chris Brogan’s book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, and to host Chris for a one-hour chat yesterday on the Freelance Writers Den Open House Call for July.

As you all may know I am not very technical, so I expected to find this topic a slog. But I actually ended up staying up until 1 a.m. reading the book! It’s not just a how-to guide on basics of how to get set up on Google+, but a primer on how to interact on social media in a way that’s authentic, productive, and even fun.

If you missed it, here are a few of the key points on why Google+ matters:

  1. Duh — Google and YouTube. Google+ is the only social media platform that can raise your rankings on Google search, as Google can see into what’s happening on Google+. It can’t see what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter. As Google owns YouTube, Google+ has also quickly become a great place for sharing video and photos, too.
  2. Fine-tuning your message. One big advantage here is that you define different circles — and then you can connect to them selectively. You could post to everybody on Google+, or just to your one circle of fellow craft beer lovers (and not your circle of Internet marketers). This to me is a big improvement over Twitter, where you can make lists…but you can’t send a tweet to only the people on one of those lists. It’s more like a rolodex where you can keep contacts, so it’s not that useful. On Google+ you can also choose to disallow comments on your post, or to prevent further sharing. To sum up, there’s a higher level of flexibility and control.
  3. Friendsurf and find people. Chris gave a great tip for a way to connect with people. If you want to connect with a big thought leader, look at their circles and “friendsurf” — find and connect with friends of theirs who share interests with you. Then, when you start responding and commenting on the thought leaders’ posts, if they check you out, they’ll see you have friends in common. You’ll seem less like of a stalker. One final observation here: the difference between Google+ and Facebook, Chris says, is on Facebook we connect to people we know, while on Google+ people are connecting to people who have common interests. Speaking of trying to make connections…
  4. Skip the +1s. Chris’s observation is that giving a post a Google +1 — the equivalent of a Facebook “like” — doesn’t seem to do much, either for the post or for getting a thought leader’s attention. If you want to be helpful, either share or comment on a post.
  5. Hang out. Google’s Hangouts feature is unique in social media. If you’re looking to take some of your virtual connections to a deeper level, you can hop on here with a group of them and have a chat, with up to 10 people at once. Seeing people’s faces and talking live really helps create a stronger bond with your contacts.
  6. Have a personality. Google+ seems even more resistant to direct sales messages than Twitter or Facebook. So how can you make waves? Share useful information and be human. Chris says he gets more responses to comments and photos about his personal interests or how his day is going, and that the casual interactions that result have led to real business for him. I tried it out yesterday with two posts on the same topic, one straightforward and one a more personal take on the same thing — and immediately got more engagement on the personal one. I think this is a rule I’ll be putting more into use on all my social media platforms, not just Google+.
  7. Bring a campfire. The best social marketers have a catalyzing topic that draws their people in and keeps them engaged — not something they sell but simply something of interest to their audience. How does this work? Well…I’ll just let Chris explain this one:

[hana-flv-player video=”https://freelancewritersden.com/Media/Denopen-Brogan-Cut.mp4″ width=”175″ height=”100″ description=”” player=”2″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”false” /]

(Download link if you can’t see that: https://freelancewritersden.com/Media/Denopen-Brogan-Cut.mp4)

What do you think of Google+? Leave a comment and share your view.

Google+ graphic: Flickr – Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net


  1. Sarah

    Thanks for summing up the points, I wasn’t able to get to the live call last night but I am very interested to see how Google+ develops.

    I think one of the key things is not to compare it with Facebook but to come to it with fresh eyes. I think that the whole circle aspect is really key to sharing the right content with the right people!


    P.S. Don’t forget to set up a Google+ page for your website/business and to add Google Author Verification to make your blog posts stand out.

    • Carol Tice

      I know I’ve got to get on that Author deal and get my face showing up…hopefully next week I can get to that!

  2. Cathie Ericson

    Thanks for sharing this. I also had a similar initial reaction…ONE more social network?! I’m just getting the hang of Twitter! But I agree that G+ seems to have lots of useful applications.

    As for the personal postings, I agree. My LinkedIn is all business, where I post articles that I think my “network” would find interesting…always with some commentary/summary.

    Then on Twitter, it’s a little business-y, but certainly with a personal spin. There too, when I RT, I always add a comment of my own before just resending an article. I am still building my network, and I know it takes time, but I feel good about the information I am sending out there.

    Again, appreciate this summary of why G+ would be beneficial. I am looking forward to reading the book and reinvigorating the account I started months ago!

  3. Christine

    Although I have resisted to create a G+ account yet, I feel now totally assured by your points. I haven’t known that Google+ is something different; but I already know that relations and connection are on of the most important tools for a freelance blogger/writer. I think I should create my profile account this weekend:)

  4. J. Delancy

    I attended the webinar yesterday and it negated many of the issues that I had with social media. Brogan did make a very interesting point when he stated that we must be mindful of the social platform, its culture and the type of interactions that take place. Facebook is different from LinkedIn, which is different from Google+ and Twitter.
    I probably won’t be joining Google+ anytime soon (hey, someone has got to be the curmudgeon) primarily because I’ve never found a social media platform that I liked, but I will keep my notes on this webinar handy.

  5. Thomas

    Wow, I guess I had the wrong impression about Google+-truth be told-I’ve always had a bit of reticence to do anything with Google.

    I’m gonna see what I can do with it now. Can’t wait to hire a social media manager though. It would be nice to fill the days with just writing and editing for a change. 🙂

  6. Tom Bentley

    Just circling Chris Brogan and following his posts is a good example of what he’s talking about. He mixes business, personal curiosity, social exchanges and plain goofiness in his stuff, and that’s what he was getting at, being a human online. But I’m with Thomas on the need for a social media manager—keeping up on the various platforms (if “keeping up” even makes sense) is challenging.

  7. Marisa

    These are all good points…though I have my doubts about whether or not Google+ is going to “happen” it seems as though it’s entered an over-saturated social media market, in which people are burned out from creating tons of profiles and trying to update regularly.

    I think it has some real merits over other platforms, the question being will people jump on board at significant levels? Maybe I’m just not aware of its current status, are people jumping on?

    • Carol Tice

      200 million+ so far, Marisa…seems like it’s achieving some critical mass in my view.

  8. Sara

    Interesting article. I feel a little exhausted by social media as well… and I love it, so I can imagine what it would be like if you didn’t. I also love my husband and children ;). I think it’s interesting how you connect with google+ via interests and comments rather than just with people you know.

  9. linda

    I was on the chat and found it useful, even as someone who already uses Google+. I started using Google+ several months ago and found it really boosted my SEO (there’s that Google ranking factor), but what I really like is that you can call someone what they are ‘friend, family, acquaintance, following’ rather than have them lumped into one group. As Chris explained and you capture in your post, you can set up various circles and not worry that your family might be sick of your sharing business or motivational or fill-in-the-blank info/stories. It’s freer than FB in that regard since you can have a page for your website on FB but to ‘like’ other sites you have to use your personal account (hence, comingling professional and personal). I took notes on the chat but your post covers them all nicely, thanks for hosting Chris.

    • Carol Tice

      Glad you were able to make it! I’ve done a bit to fix up my profile since the talk and hope to do much more shortly. I also love the idea of being able to send to different subsets of your connections.


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