Social Media Marketing

Why I’m Really Digging Google Plus And You Should Too

By Mike McGrail

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.33.52

Since 2013 slapped 2012 in the face and took over our calendars, I’ve been getting more and more involved with Google +. Many a neigh-sayer has claimed it is a waste of time and will ultimately fail – I (and a host of others) aren’t so sure. Read on to find out why Google + has snared a chunk of my social media affection.

The quality of discussion is high

I’ve had some really great debates and discussions via G+ recently, its functionality allows for flowing conversations and questions and comments that can easily be aimed at the appropriate participant by using the ‘+username’ action. The content that the people I have in my circles share seems to be of a higher quality than what digest via Twitter and LinkedIn – this facilitates a higher level of chatter and in-turn creates a much more valuable experience. Responses to any questions I’ve asked have also been in-depth and considered – spam also appears to be at a minimum, so threads are rarely over-run by nonsense alá LinkedIn Groups.

The basics work very well

When Facebook brought in the Timeline, they really messed up the way photos are displayed – a crazy move for a platform that harnesses images as a key component of user’s experiences. Google + takes your pic, scales it down and automatically displays the full image on your profile. Simple! It also makes it very easy to add a video, either from your computer, via URL or YouTube. The overall G+ interface is slick and clean, not cluttered with nasty ads and all other manner of nonsense.

The full pic is shown in the image preview on G+.

The full pic is shown in the image preview on G+.

It’s part of the Google infrastructure

I use Gmail and Google apps – G+ integrates beautifully with them, making transitioning between the two very easy. Many people are in the same boat as me and view the slickness of having all things in one place, under one sign-in, as a huge attraction.

Author Rank makes my blog posts stand out

If you search for my blog posts, the majority of the time, you’ll see a little photo of my face beside the Google search result. This is due to Author Rank. You can’t implement Author Rank without a Google + profile. The importance of AR hasn’t yet been really been defined by Google (although they are getting closer to doing so), however I’m sure it increases the CTR (click through rate) on my blog posts, and who doesn’t want that? The SEO (search engine optimisation) effects of Google+, its ‘+1′ mechanism and social signals in general should not be ignored! Get your content on Google +. Now!

Would the author's mug-shot make you click?

Would the author’s mug-shot make you click?

The apps are truly excellent

I use G+ a lot via my iPad, mainly due to the fact the app is just so damn pretty and easy to use. This is mirrored in the iPhone app. It has taken Facebook a long time to create an acceptable mobile app – Google Plus has achieved this early.

I like the tiled display of the iPad app.

I like the tiled display of the iPad app.

The community function is a winner

I recently set up a community on G+ for a group of writers that I’m trying to work with the rejuvenate the poor old Social Penguin Blog and so far I’ve found the functionality great, and again, the integration across my Gmail etc has been very helpful. Hangouts are pretty neat too and I expect usage of those to rapidly increase in Q1 of 2013.

It’s not Facebook

I keep Facebook for friends and family and tend to ask business associates etc to connect to me on LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook, however the conversation based functions on LinkedIn aren’t great, so G+ offers me a place where I can have more immersive interactions with people within my online business circles. I’ll ignore the fact that Facebook is becoming a more and more of shambles for users for now, that’s another post/rant for another day.

So what’s not to like?

Very little, other than the fact that some people I’d like to be able to converse etc with on the network aren’t using it. Public awareness is on the rise and active user numbers have rocketed recently - whether those people are there to stay remains to be seen, however I’m not sure a quieter place to hang around is such a bad thing.

I make no apologies for using the word ‘digging’ in this post. You dig?

Are you using Google +? Is it on your radar in 2013? What do you like/dislike about it? Please do tell in the comments below. You can follow Velocity Digital on G+ here.

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Mike McGrail

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About Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail has written 152 post in this blog.

Mike McGrail is the owner of Velocity Digital. He likes scotch and leather-bound books. Follow Mike's ramblings on Twitter. He also resides on Google Plus here.

  • Sam Weston

    Link to your / VelocityDigi’s Google+ page? ;)

  • Steven Sefton

    I’m loving G+ too especially communities, I’ve recently joined a community about Polar Bears and the conversations and pictures shared are better shared here than anywhere else on the web. Thanks for another great post Mike.

    • Mike McGrail

      Anywhere that has a great polar bear community is fine with me! Although, I’m more a penguin man…

  • Matthew Marley

    I’m with you on this one Mike, I think everyone knows how much of a G+ evangelist I am. And for a business it would be foolish for them not to embrace G+ especially now that the confirmed that Author Rank will be a ranking signal. Business should be getting on there just now, building their circles and engaging with other influencers as these are all key signals for author rank. Great post Mike!

    • Mike McGrail

      Thanks Matthew, I’m sick of people telling businesses to ignore G+, daft!

  • Andrew Baker

    I agree with most of your points Mike, I think out of the “big 4″ networks Google+ has the slickest interface and is well supported across devices… however I have a few issues with Google+

    Vanity URLs, we really should have these by now, granted a few lucky celeb type folk and well known brands have them #whoopwhoop, but if I join Facebook or Twitter I can immediately decide my own vanity URL rather than an obscure 21 digit reference number automatically selected for me in some far away data centre where the sun never shines. It just doesn’t speak “person” to me.

    Friends, I just can’t see the day when my real life circles will adopt it… unless Google bribe them that is, eg you must have a G+ profile to use Google search… about 10% of my friends use Twitter, it’s only taken them 2 years to twig and that’s with our day to day lives inundated with references to the “micro blog” network. Again I can’t see the day when I’m watching #BBCQT on a Thursday night and the man like Dimbleby interrupts Will Self to inform me I can follow the debate on Google+

    In an ideal World I wish Google+’s (that looks like an equation btw) usability could be ported to Facebook. Then again let’s see what it’s like when the ads arrive.

    Nice post…

    • Mike McGrail

      Hi Andrew, thanks for the comment! Couldn’t agree more re vanity URLs, they are very ugly right now and just not usable. On the friends front, I do think it will be a good while until (if) that happens. I think the accessibility and short-form nature of Twitter has allowed it to permeate in to everyday life, from the TV we watch to live-tweeting from events etc – G+ may struggle at that level. On the ad front, they will come I’m sure, howeverI wouldn’t expect them to get to the trashy level that Facebook has reached. I hope!

  • Scott Caldwell

    I love Google+. The communities aspect is definitely my favourite. Leaving an image post in the iOS Photography community for example actually receives comments and feedback, rather than the more mundane ‘like’ that has become the more popular option on Facebook. As you say though, out of my actual real-world friends I have the sum total of 1 currently using G+. I will continue preaching!

    • Mike McGrail

      Ah, will need to take a look at that community Scott. I’m glad you are noticing a higher level of quality comments too. Regarding ‘real-world’ friends, I think it could take a good while yet before it cracks the real mainstream, however, as Facebook usage is on the decline, people may be looking elsewhere sooner rather than later.

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  • Nicole C. Scott

    The most promising and awesome feature which I don’t see mentioned in the above blog is HANGOUTS! This in and of itself, makes G+ super sexy and far more appealing than any other social networking site out there, hands down… Especially now that the option exists to use this feature as your Page, or your Profile. Hangouts is extremely useful because of the shared screen feature, so I already use it privately for business and in training others on social networking strategies. Ideally a LOT more companies will be on board for the “On Air” portion… The early adopters of this particular part are the trendsetters this year. Once people figure out the beauty of Hangouts, I believe a great deal of people will be migrating soon.

    • Mike McGrail

      They are indeed excellent! Thanks for adding them to the list!

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