Despite remaining in the shadows of rising social stars Pinterest and Instagram for the start of 2012, Google+ has been picking up a lot of steam from backstage. It’s been about a month or so since I interviewed Lynette Young, CEO of Purple Stripe Productions, and she has already been circled by over 300,000 more people, bringing her over a MILLION followers!
Here is my full Podcast Interview of Lynette Young: Women of Google+
Lynette Young is certainly no slouch when it comes to the social web since becoming one of the first podcasters to ever receive a six-figure sponsorship…and that was in her first year. Young is an avid user of Google+ and firmly believes that it is the future of online business. If you’ve ever stumbled around G+ before, you’ve probably heard of Women of Google+, another creation of Young’s.
It was certainly a pleasure to speak with one of the 50 most followed women on G+ and to have a chance to pick her brain. Given the fact that Google+ has barely been out for a year, I had to know how someone could achieve such a massive following in only a few months. When I asked what her secret was, I could hear her smile open up as she answered.
“I talk and I talk and I talk. Part of the thing for me is that Google+ was all of the things that we’ve learned over the past couple of years about what people should do if they’re trying to promote themselves personally or for a business or a brand. All the things that you should do.”
Lynette continues as she discusses the environment that pulled her to Google+. She quickly appreciated the fact that it seemed that you really had to walk the talk to be successful on G+. For Young, that meant continuously putting content out that her target market was interested in.
“The more content I put out there, the more followers I’ll get, the more shares I’ll get. I concentrate a lot of my own professional effort into Google+ because I like the platform. I still love all the other platforms but they have very narrow scope, use and tactics that you can do with them. I’ve always thought that Google+ offered a lot more.”
Lynette has got her formula figured out and it seems that she’s managed to do it successfully without making any of the most common social networks a major part of the attack plan. This surely comes as a relief to many business people who groan at the notion of another social network popping up to suck the little remaining time out of their precious schedules.
When Google+ first opened up, Young decided that she would get involved and use the platform a bit differently. She realized really early on that the playing field is more level on G+ than it’s competitor Facebook, attesting that activity on Google+ is very organic. Facebook can get awareness very quickly through ad placements but relying on organic growth via the News Feed is a pipe dream whereas organic growth is very realistic and common on Google+.
Lynette On Google+ Hangouts: A Tool For Business
Most people have the misconception that Google+ Hangouts are an over-hyped video chat but in reality, there is nothing out there that compares to it’s depth of function. Not only can you include 10 people in your chat, certain users have had advance access to the upcoming “Hangouts on Air” feature which allows you to broadcast your hangout to hundreds more users, with the ability for millions to tune-in right around the corner.
Hangouts allow you to do a lot of work-based processes as well, like collaborate on documents together. You can have whiteboard documents that you can open up together, you can watch videos together on YouTube, you can work on presentations or slides together in all of the Google docs and products that they have. So, it has really been beneficial for me to work with clients in there. I’ll have private Hangouts with just myself and another client, and we’ll work on documents together, or we’ll have conversations, or build content together, where that was next to impossible before even with products like Skype. So, I found that Hangouts are sort of the hidden gem within Google+.
The Current & Future SEO Benefits of Google+
I think everyone is just as eager as I am to find out what sort of SEO advantages Google+ can offer so that we can begin taking advantage of them. With Google’s tyrant rule in the online search domain, it’s obvious that their social network will have an integral role in the influence of search results. This is already obvious with posts shared by people within your G+ network showing up in related search results when logged into your Google account.
Young believes that one of the largest perks of Google+ is its close relationship to the search engine. She has done a few informal tests about putting content up on Google+ to see how fast it could be searched, how fast it will index and how quickly Google Alerts picks it up.
“Content that we’ve put out there that normally took two to three days for Google to pick up and finally get around to indexing, has been picked up in less than 15 minutes on Google+. If you do it in Google+, you’re going to get found first and a lot of times that makes a huge difference.”
Lynette Young’s Top 6 Tips For Google+
1. Make sure your “About Page” is completely filled out before circling anyone
2. Find the three main reasons you want to use G+
3. Begin circling people, leaving comments and interacting
4. Don’t concern yourself with being circled back, it will happen organically if you follow the previous step!
5. Ensure your profile, content and posts have great information in them before going out and asking people to connect with you
6. Always have a professional, clear photo of yourself as your profile photo
Lynette Young: You have to have a really well-defined funnel, a sales funnel. And I’ve seen some people design them, that the end is actually a like, friendship, or +1 (on G+) but there comes a point that you have to narrow it down and say, “How can we convert a lead to a sale?” You have to write that script out ahead of time. And when people start asking certain questions or start responding to your company brand online in a specific way, reach out to them offline, private message them, see if you can send them an email, and turn it that way. But, thinking that the relationship ends when they +1 you or they follow you, it doesn’t work, that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re going to go the next step and buy your product or buy your service. By not having that entire process drawn out, I see is the biggest failure in a lot of companies. They don’t understand that it will not automatically convert.
Melonie Dodaro: Yes.
Lynette Young: An email address is still king. I mean, everything revolves on email addresses, email list, and if you get people to a certain point, you can ask for their email address or offer them something that will require them to enter their email address, and then you have to pick up like you would normally, if they came in off your website or they got your whatever off of your business card. So, as long as the process is set up behind the scenes, it’s just the front end that’s different. In this case, it’s Google+.
Melonie Dodaro: Exactly. They need to have a clear path to take that relationship from social media to the next level and it don’t necessarily need to be offline. You’re right, email is great, so is phone, or in person meetings, depending on the type of business you are, and if you’re working within a geographical area. I always teach to take that relationship offline as quickly as possible and bring it to the next level.
Lynette Young: Yes, the quicker you can narrow it, so it’s not a public conversation and it’s a private conversation, the easier it’s going to be. For example, I’m working right now with a very, very traditional B2B company that is 100 or something years old and they said, “How do we use social media? How do we use Google+?” They didn’t really dip into Facebook too much, but Google+ they’re willing to do. They weren’t sure what their end goal should be. They thought perhaps it was when somebody would follow them. And I said, no, the win for you is when they say, “Can you please have a sales person call us?” And then the way that you normally do your business kicks in, your salespeople come out, that kind of thing. But, they were looking at it as a win for them when they got followed or circled because they didn’t understand that there needed to be that transition from online to offline.
Melonie Dodaro: Yes, absolutely. So what would you say to all these people who are overwhelmed, and there’s just so many social networks out there it seems like there’s a new one popping up every day, do you feel like it’s necessary to keep up with every social site out there or do you think that it’s better just to focus on a couple?
Lynette Young: I absolutely think it’s important to focus on a couple. My industry and your industry are little different, it’s our job to know what’s going on but the idea is you need to know where your audience is and where your particular clients are. For example B2B they’re much more receptive to going into LinkedIn and that’s always been a huge success for the business-to-business companies that I’ve worked for. Retail is totally different so I work with companies to make sure that they understand the ecosystems of each platform and what would best fit them because they don’t have all day and all week or five people to dedicate to this full-time. I usually try to do three main things. I teach them about having a home base of their own content, their website has to be up to par, they have to have fairly regularly updated content that’s relevant then go out to one major platform, let’s say it’s Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+, or LinkedIn. And then pick a minor just so you can get a little bit more exposure. But there’s no reason for a lot of companies to be trying to be all over the place, it’s just a waste of time and it’s going to get them frustrated honestly.
Melonie Dodaro: Yes, yes, I agree. Are there any great Google+ tools that help to streamline any kind of processes? For example Facebook and Twitter have tons of different apps that allow you to schedule posts and organize followers and so forth. Is there anything for Google+ yet?
Lynette Young: It’s coming out. A lot of them are either android or IOS, iPhone, iPad applications or they are plug-ins for the Chrome browser and Firefox browser as well too. And what this allows you to do is add functionality to your browser itself for Google+ rather than mess around with the application itself. So, I’ve seen quite a few go out there, obviously the Chrome store online is the best place to find those but I actually have one site that I absolutely love as a professional, there’s two of them I should say, one is called www.circlecount.com. This allows me to get the charts for the movers and the shakers and what were popular posts, that I can go through the publicly available information on Google+ and I can see trending topics. I can see hot topics, and I can see who’s gaining quickly on follower accounts, and what business pages are doing well. So I get a feel for the types of things that people are actively talking about in Google+ right now. The other one that I really love is called www.PlusDemographics.com. And that allows me to run a lot of statistics. I want to say it’s like Klout and it allows me to run a lot of statistics on a broad and get consolidated analytics. So these are a couple of places that I use daily for professional tools.
Melonie Dodaro: So, www.CircleAccount.com and www.PlusDemographics.com?
Lynette Young: www.PlusDemographics.com, yes.
Melonie Dodaro: Okay, terrific. So, any final words that you’d like to share with people that are really looking to use social media and Google+ to grow their business?
Lynette Young: Yes, I would say go in there and start engaging on a personal level first because you’re going to get a real good sense if you go in there first as a person rather than coming in there storming the castle as a brand. The population in Google+ is extremely tolerant of companies and brands, if they work well and they behave like human beings and don’t auto-dump content and that sort of thing. So if you’re looking to get started I would spend a good solid week just poking around the system as yourself, as a person, to see what other people are interested in, see the communities that are cropping up, there’s photography, there’s cooking, there’s all kinds of things, there’s actually a group in there for CPAs, for accountants and such. So anything you can dream of is probably in there. But by looking and watching how the people interact and what they’re wanting, I think is the best way to start but you have to use this as just one tactic in your overall strategy plan. Because if you just go in here wanting to push buttons and dump content it won’t work, you have to figure out what you want out of the system first before you go in so when you go in you know what you’re looking for, you know the types of people you want to connect with and that sort of thing.
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