In 2011 Google made its fourth attempt at social networking with the launch of Google+. Initially, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the Big G’s social network. The main reason was that there were a lot of users thanks to Plus being included with other Google properties like Gmail. For Freelancers, Google+ was a promising social network thanks to the Authorship feature which could help leverage you as an authority figure.
In 2014, however, Google had discounted the Authorship service. And many have begun to question if Google+ is on its last legs. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t appear that Google+ is going to go quietly into the night. The Big G is making some adjustments so that Plus can be used more as a connection platform as opposed to a social network.
So, yeah. Google+ still matters for freelancers looking to make relevant connections by networking in community groups. Besides, Plus gives us the ability to interact with other Google products like Drive and Hangouts so that we can collaborate more easily with others.
If you have a Google+ account, or thinking about creating one, here are the best ways to get the most of it as a Freelancer.
Optimize Your Profile
When creating your profile you can choose between a personal or business account.
Personal accounts are great if:
- Your business name is your actual name.
- Your network to find new clients.
- You do subcontract as a solopreneur.
Business accounts are ideal if:
- You have an actual business name.
- You work with local clients with the help of Google Local.
- You have a logo that is a major part of your brand’s identity.
- You’re running an agency.
Once you determined that, you can start setting up your profile. Whether it’s a personal or business account, make sure that your profile includes:
- An image that reflects your brand’s identity.
- A ten-word tagline that is interesting and summarizes what you do.
- A lift of the products and services that you offer.
- Include relevant keywords in your copy.
- Contact information.
According to Stone Temple Consulting, Google+ is a small, but vibrant community. Because of this, it’s important that you encourage engagement that will make your account attractive to potential clients.
Steady Demand suggests that if you want to encourage more engagement, keep the following tips in mind:
- A post on Google+ is considered by Google to be a web page, which means that titles are very important. Keep your titles under 40 characters and make them bold using an asterisk.
- Let your readers know what your post is about by including a summary that is around 159 characters.
- Your posts can gain more value if they include links.
- Include your own voice in your posts.
- Ask your audience a question.
- Add relevant hashtags.
- Explore Google+ by seeing which topics are trending; it could give you inspiration for posts.
One of the best features that Google+ provides freelancers is the ability to join Communities. Instead of finding influencers or clients individually in Circles, you can get your face in front of thousands of potential clients and fellow freelancers.
Because this is a Google product, the Big G will actually suggest the Communities that you should join. If you’re not digging those suggestions, you can search for the groups that you want to join by simply doing a search inquiry. For example, if you’re a freelance writer you could join the Freelance Writers or Freelance Writers Network.
When searching for Communities, look for groups that are:
- Large. This will vary depending on your niche, but joining a group with just a handful of people probably won’t take you that far.
- Active. How many posts does the group have? When was the last post?
- Relevant. Common sense, but keep your search limited to groups that are relevant to your niche.
Google+ allows you to tag other Plus users that you follow. This is a simple way to grab the attention of influencers and tap into their audience so that you can gain more followers. Remember, don’t tag people just for the sake of name-dropping. Ask for their advice or feedback. Share a relevant post or piece of information.
Google+ may not be as relevant as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook for some freelancers, it’s still an active community where freelancers can make valuable connections and build their brand if they have an active profile and network with the right groups. However, because there’s still some uncertainty with the future of Google+, don’t forget to share your content, links, etc. on other social networks so that if Google+ disappears, you still have a presence elsewhere.