Chris Brogan is the author of the new book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything.
As a Google+ skeptic (heck, I’m skeptical of all new social media) I was interested to learn more, so I sat down and watched this video where Michael Stelzner ofSocialmediaexaminer.com interviewed Brogan about howGoogle+ can help small businesses.
As a freelancer, you are running a small business—a very small business that probably includes just you. And you should think of yourself as a small business when it comes to representing yourself both online and in the real world. If you are thinking about creating a page on Google+, you might want to watch the video for yourself (or check out Chris Brogan’s book)—here are some snippets and take-aways from Brogan’s interview:
“Most small businesses are approaching [Google+] thinking, ‘I just figured out Facebook, why are you doing this to me?’ First off, no one is doing this to you. Sorry, technology is always adapting, you have to adapt with it. We all don’t still have car phones, we have mobile phones, it’s the same thing.” —Chris Brogan
True, technology is always changing. But it doesn’t mean that every social networking site makes sense for you. Heck, we could all spend the majority of our time trolling different social media sites all day long—but finding what works best for you and your career is what is important.
I haven’t joined Google+ for a very simple reason—I don’t have time right now. Creating a new social media circle takes time and a lot of effort. I’m not going to start something new if I don’t have the time to cultivate it. It’s sort of like having a blog that you never update—it just makes you look bad. I already use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and, for me, I’m OK with it. Find what is right for you and go for it. Do some research into Google+ and see if it makes sense for you before you jump in head first.
The good thing about Google+ that I learned is that your information is indexed by Google—the number one search engine in the world. Brogan points out that this happens quickly, faster than your own website. Brogan says that Google+ answers the question, “How do I keep giving away for free as much as I can to show my value to my colleagues who refer me.” Google+ works for him because he has built a vast network. If you don’t take the time to build your network and circles in Google+, who is going to hear you? If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it….yadda, yadda, you get the picture.
Brogan is a proponent of sharing personal stuff on Google+. He says that the more you share personally the more people can connect with you. An example he offers: He recently bought a juicer and has been juicing and talking about it on Google+. He Met head of marketing at a huge hotel chain who saw his juicing stuff on Google+ and was interested in talking to him more about juicing. Then she asked him a business question. It’s another way to connect to people.
By sharing personal information on Google+, Brogan argues, people get a sense of the kind of person you are and the kind of person you are not. And they can discern if you are the kind of person they would like to work with.
“By sharing those personal things, there is a strategy point there to say ‘you know who I am in 360, and you really know I’m this guy and you can do business with me.’” —Chris Brogan
So, should small businesses (aka: freelancers) get personal on Google+?
Brogan suggests the balance should be one-quarter personal and three-quarters about your business. You don’t want to be a machine, but you want to be efficient in what you do on Google+.
Brogan also suggests you take the time to really use your circles (groups of people you have decided to pay attention to). You can set up different circles to discuss different aspects of your business. For example, you can set up a circle where you discuss marketing, or generating leads, or web design. “The more you can isolate, segregate, and understand how you want to group things,” Brogan says, “you can use [circles] in a very smart way that allows you to not overflood things.”
That way, people who only want to discuss the merits of massage therapy don’t have to listen to you pontificate about proper grammar.
The downside of Google+? “It’s not that great yet at saying ‘this is what’s happening immediately.’ I use Twitter for the now, for real time,” Brogan says. So even though the most powerful search engine in the world has it’s own social media arm, it is not all things to everyone—yet.
There’s another book circulating about Google+ for business from HubSpot called How to use Google+ for Business. You can download it for free here.
We’d love to hear your feedback on either Chris Brogan’s book or the eBook from HubSpot. Are they useful? What did you learn?
AUTHOR Melanie Brooks
Melanie Brooks has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites from Maine to New Jersey covering topics from weddings to WiFi.