Firstly I should say that I love Mashable. It’s an invaluable source of news on social media and technology and has a lubberly interface. They use all of the big-name social networks to share their content which is great, but I just can’t help thinking they’re getting their Google Plus profile wrong. Here’s why.

Google launched their most recent attempt at social media, Google+, earlier this year much to the confusion of the technological world. The whys, hows and wherefores weren’t initially clear. Why would I want to use something that looks like an ‘old-school’ Facebook but assumes I want to share long messages with people I hardly know?

This week I’ve been researching Google+ with a view of launching our own brand pages at work, and how it works has finally clicked. Here’s how I see it.

Google+ allows us to control our multiple online presences and decide who will be interested in which pieces of content. Unlike a solitary brand presence on Twitter we can direct certain messages to certain people (via circles). This works with the current thinking on how opt-in email marketing beats all other forms of marketing hands down in terms of getting a return. It also accepts that real people aren’t interested in just one thing. Which is why brands need to think carefully before launching.

We don’t all want a fruit cocktail

Considering the nature of google Plus and the circle element I would imagine that iff you set up a profile that bombards people with content on too wide a variety of topics, they’re soon going to switch off. The whole point of Google Plus is to consider which pieces of content suit which audiences. This is more definitely more work but necessary.

Let’s take Mashable for example:

Searching for Mashable's social presence

Above is a little diagram I’ve done of Mashable’s main social media presences. You can see that on Facebook and Twitter they use multiple profiles in order to reflect the different areas of content on their site. On Google+ so far they’ve only got one profile to represent all areas. So if I follow them I don’t get placed in a circle, and I have no idea which circle should I place them under?

I just want social media news people, make it happen!

So I’ve ranted a little but how would I solve this issue. Firstly rewind….


Planning a brand page

Ideally we’d know exactly why someone’s following our brand, we could then place them in the correct circle. But unless we ask them which circle they belong to then this isn’t realistic for a team of social media staff to deal with.

What would be easier to manage, is this process:

  • Do some background research into which topics share well on Google+
  • Create specific pages for specific topics
  • Share lots of content on these topics and engage people

This is a great way of proving your brand are experts in a certain field.


Search engine optimise your profile

There’s been lots of talk about how Google+ will affect search engine algorithms to a greater extent from now on, so it’s important to look at your own profile from the search engine side. Everyone with a profile should consider how they look on Google.

Here’s my snapshot:

Searching for my name in Google

(If you look at the profile below mine, it’s clear why it’s so important to be aware of how you look in Google and how comments you make on the internet stay with you. Those aren’t words for a future employer)

If you look at the description under my profile link (the top one obviously) you will see that these lines correspond to the first lines on my profile (see below).

My Google Plus profile

It’s really important that you get these spot on to promote either you or your company.

What next?

Make sure you get the hang of the concept behind any channel before you use it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Mashable do next and whether they use circles to the best of their abilities.

If you’re not sure who to follow, here’s a really good link to check out…

Shared circles directory by Chris Porter.

Also read my post Who to follow on Google+.

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