It’s time to start thinking about Google+ differently than Facebook.
They are both social networks, but they are not the same. Google+ excels at targeted conversation that builds connections, being a kind of mix between Facebook and Quora and LinkedIn. It gives you some tools that help you use it differently than if it were just another version of Facebook.
Google+ Is Not Facebook
When G+ first came out, it was mainly compared to Facebook. People focused on whether or not it was “winning” over Facebook, if it had proven itself to be a valid social network.
This, of course, led most of us to treat Google+ too casually. We did little more than shared the same content on Google+ that we had on Facebook. We spent more time responding over on Facebook because we’re told that that’s where all the people were and all the conversation was there, anyway (mainly since we hadn’t tried to develop any on our G+ property). We treated Google+ as an after-thought, a dumping ground for links, devoting our energy to our Facebook fans.
Google+ is not Facebook. It is not just a social network. It has different users. It has different options. It is featured more prominently in Google searches (extremely important!). It’s time to treat it as it’s own animal.
Google is clearly intending Google+ to stay, and they are serious about giving your posts on the G+ network some serious prime real estate in a Google search. Remember that above anything else: what happens on Google+ definitely doesn’t stay on Google+. It’s found in Google searches. The same isn’t always said of Facebook content.
Rule 1: Treat Google+ as a different animal, and not a lesser version of Facebook.
Google+ As A Blog
For some bloggers, Google+ is a viable option for blogging, while for others it works best as a supplement only.
Making G+ Your Only blog
Google+ works as a replacement blogging platform for those who use blogging mainly as a way to put an idea, question, or concept out for discussion and inspiration. If you want wide-open discussion and lots of conversation above all else, then consider moving your blog.
Google+ works as a form of microblogging (think Twitter or Tumblr). Most bloggers already use Twitter and microblogging in addition to their blog. For those using Chrome, adding the G+ Twitter extension helps you share your content on Twitter if you feel that’s important. You’ll find a lot of artists and photographers on Google+, making use of its features to promote their images.
Making G+ A Serious Blog Supplement
Some of us (like me) use blogging a bit differently. I still like to have my own content on my “own property”, meaning I don’t want to put all of my blogging efforts into a platform I can’t completely control. I see a blog as an important part of a website’s SEO, and as an archive of useful content. I am also aware of the different ways people are accessing its content (feed readers, magazine-style apps, etc.). So I keep my blog on my own site.
However, this doesn’t mean I can’t share a link to a blog post and expound on it further on Google+, like a blog post appendix or a follow-up. In this situation, sharing the links to each new blog post is a bare minimum requirement. Consider what you do on Facebook: you ask questions. You note highlights. You have photo albums. If you’re not doing this over on Google+, you’re barely making use of the network at all.
Those of you using Blogger as your blogging platform can connect your Blogger account to your Google+ account. This allows you to share your blog posts with specific circles on your Google+ profile easily with each post.
Whether you push your blog content to G+ or send your G+ to a separate blog (using something like Pluss.es), do make the connection to be more than one of link-sharing only.
Rule 2: Think of Google+ as a serious part of your blogging realm, and not just a link dump.
Google+ As A Niche Forum
Google+ is a great piece of property for discussion. Conversation can get fairly active there.
Using Google+ Circles, you can make your content target-specific by sharing it with specific circles. Use Google Hangouts and invite an entire Circle for live video chat. Set up an event and invite a Circle. Share a photo album with a Circle. Google+ is perfectly set up for be specific with content and discussion. Use it like a forum. Ask questions that you think people in your Circles might be able to answer. Use your Circles to find new content for your blog, and answer the questions you need answers too.
But before any of this happens? Make sure you set up your Circles well. Specific names with the right people in the right circles (whether they follow you or not) is going to make this work best.
Rule 3: Embrace the targeted conversational strengths of Google+, and make them work for you.