Let's be honest, Google+ is here to stay. Strictly out of pride, Google is pretty unlikely to pull the plug on this + thing anytime soon and let those FB people have a big laugh at their expense. Actually, that seems far from the case, as it stands now, Google and it's Plus Baby seems to be picking up steam. Google+ is not the unknown it was when it first came out, but there are still tons of people (bloggers) who are unsure of what to make of it and how it could assist them. So we enlisted the help of two terrific food bloggers Irvin of Eat The Love and Chef Dennis of A Culinary Journey. They both have embraced Google+ from the onset and have the results and tips to convert the non-believers or aid those who have an account but need to give it some TLC. They have both written very long, detailed and informative posts regarding Google+ which generated tons of comments and a bunch of +1's, so we asked them to provide their Top 5 Google+ tips and in the spirit of building community and helping out fellow bloggers, they were kind enough to oblige. Below are their tips and of course their original posts.
5 Tips on Google+ from Irvin Lin
1. The more active you are on G+, the better the experience. Like all social media networks, if you just bounce in, every now and then, you won’t really get it. G+ works like Facebook or Twitter in that you can develop real relationships with people, some of whom can become RIL friends (in real life friends) but only if you invest time in it. It’s pretty hard to become friends with anyone if you don’t know them initially and you only briefly check in once a month with them. To get the most out of G+ you have to use it frequently.
2. Share photos or videos, not just links or status updates. Google+ was designed for a richer media experience. The stream moves fast, much like Twitter. Unlike Twitter, the network was designed for sharing photos and videos. In fact, Google consulted with photographers when they built the network to help them maximize their experience. Not only are photos beautifully displayed on Google+ (check out their mobile app, which blows Facebook out of the water), there’s less compression on the jpgs, leading to higher quality images. You can even do limited editing of the photo through Picasa, Google’s photo editing program.
3. Reach a difference audience than Twitter and Facebook. The large majority of food bloggers are on Twitter and Facebook. But if you are looking to expand beyond that core community, Google+ is a great way to reach photographers, tech people and early adapters. Keep in mind that Google+ has only been around for a year (it’s beta launch was at the end of June 2011) so it’s still growing and finding it’s footing. That said, the chance to start on the ground floor and build an audience in G+ should be a big incentive. The ability to develop relationships with professional photographers around the world and learn from them is invaluable for those who are looking to improve their photography skills or take the photography to the next level.
4. Understand that Google+ is more than just sharing status updates or photos. From Google Hangouts (group video chats) to searchable hashtags like Twitter to tracking how your posts on G+ is shared via Ripples, Google+ is a robust network that acts as a supplement to your blog brand. In addition, sharing your blog posts on Google+ immediately gets your blog post indexed on Google itself. This is doubly important as Google search results are starting to weigh social media sharing in its results more than traditional SEO practices. The phrase “sharing is caring” means more and more nowadays, and Google+ is another way to share.
5. Don’t stress about it. The reality is food blogging is a time consuming process. From developing the recipe, to taking the photos, to writing the blog post, it’s surprising any of us actually have time to sleep. Add on to that all the social media that you need to do, whether it’s the bare minimum Facebook and Twitter, to the additional Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram, submissions to Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Serious Eats, Tasteologie, Kitchen Artistry etc. having one more thing to do can seem daunting and overwhelming. Google+ is a great resource and a great network to be on, but if you can’t fit it, if it doesn’t resonate with you, then don’t worry about. Real life should always take precedence over virtual life. Go read a book. Take a walk. Play with your kid. And if you have time for it, if you want to do a little virtual exploring, then check out Google+. You may like it. Or maybe not. Either way it’ll always be there for you tomorrow. That’s the beauty of social media. It’s not really going anywhere. You know, unless it’s Friendster. 😉
Irvin Lin - The Food Bloggers Guide to Google+
Irvin Lin has been applauded for his talents in the kitchen as a baker and behind the computer as a graphic designer. He has been recognized by Saveur amongst others for his ridiculously sweet creations and has one pretty phenomenal closet of clothes!
5 Tips on Google+ from Chef Dennis
1. Be Complete. Completely fill out your profile, including a picture of yourself. You want to connect with people and make new friends. If you don’t share information about yourself, you won’t seem interesting enough to follow. This doesn’t mean you have to share secrets, but if your profile doesn’t look interesting, I’ll just assume you’re too lazy to fill it out and I will ignore you. Once ignored you’re going to have to work at getting someone to follow you, so save yourself time and effort and set up your profile!
2. Be a good G+ neighbor. Share something on your homepage. If you want me to reciprocate and follow you, but you have nothing to share, why should I follow you? If I follow you, it’s because you shared something funny, or interesting. You want to entertain people as much as inform them. But here is where the tricky part comes in. This doesn’t mean over sharing! I see some Plussers (as in G-plusser) sharing every picture they’ve seen on the web, one right after another. I’ve also seen bloggers sharing the same posts over and over again. To me these both seem like spam, and I will either stop following you or put you in a circle that’s turned off! (You can re-share your own post but don’t do it more than once and if you do just make sure to do it at a different time, to try and capture a different audience.)
Share your friends posts or anything you may find interesting. Sharing good content will get you noticed, even if it’s not always your content!
3. Comments = Bonus points. Leave comments and +1’s for friends and interesting people! When you leave a comment, remember to add the person’s name after the comment or somewhere in the comment. Just also want to add the + before their name, such as "+Chef Dennis Littley." Every time you’re name is mentioned on G+, it’s like receiving bonus points on the search engine. And of course if you leave comments with the "Plussers" name, when they thank you they should leave your name as well. It’s a bit of a game, but definitely worth the effort!
4. Consistency! Be consistent with your postings. Nothing is worse than looking through a Plussers Page and seeing gaps of weeks or even months between postings. Why would someone follow you if you’re not consistently posting? If you’re a blogger remember that all of your old posts are new again for Google+ , so go through your archive and start posting them on Google+! Just remember not to flood the stream and to be consistent. I like to feature an old post twice a week on days that I don’t have a new post.
5. Use it all. Try to see the big picture and use everything that Google has to offer on G+. Hangouts are a great way to connect with fellow bloggers, and Google loves it when you use them! Google owns Zagat, and is looking for food professionals to leave reviews of any restaurant they may have dined in. You can find listings in the Local tab under More on the sidebar. This also gives you more exposure on the search engines!
6. Bonus! If you have a Google office in your city or nearby, reach out to them. The folks in the Google office love to help, and are there to get more people fully using Google+ , so take advantage of them , they can be a great asset.
Chef Dennis - The Food Bloggers Guide to Google+
My name is Dennis Littley or "Chef Dennis" as I'm known both at work and across the blogosphere, I am an Executive Chef, Culinary Instructor, Recipe Developer, Photographer and Pot Washer. And for a little over two years a Food Blogger.
Thank you to both Irvin and Dennis for sharing their Google+ knowledge. Now, let's meet up in the circle world!