I don’t know if you heard about my Google Plus K1 Challenge but on December 1st I set a target of getting to 1,000 followers on Google Plus by December 31st. I hit that figure at about 2pm on Saturday 21st December and as of writing this the current count is 1,079 followers – happy days. In this post I’ll give a recap of what I did to more than double my follower count in 3 weeks and I hope that it may provide some help to you too.
In my original Google Plus K1 Challenge post I outlined some of the main things I was going to do to try hit my goal and now that I’ve hit it I’ll recap them and then expand where necessary.
- 1) Tell Your Story
This is more important than you think! People are interested in people – not what you do per se but who you are or what makes you different. From the outset I have been myself on Google Plus and have been open in telling my story and stating my goals and objectives. By telling your story you create the possibility of other people being able to relate to you on a human level but also helps you with your branding. I think it was my story telling/branding that initially got the ball rolling when Christine De Graff selected me as the first person for her #31People project and also Craig Chamberlin commented on my branding which in turn led to more exposure and interaction traction.
- 2) Pinterest
I think the use of Pinterest helped my content go further and I’m sure there would have been some knock on benefits for my follower count however I don’t think Pinterest was a huge driver for me. With that said I’ll continue to pin my blog posts and share via G+, it doesn’t make sense not to.
- 3) Communities
My toes are definitely dipped in the Google Plus Communities pool however I’m yet to make the acrobatic leap from the spring board into them. The biggest value I got from communities was from when other people shared my posts into them. If/when people share your posts to a community I think the community is a lot more receptive than if you share your own stuff.
- 4) Say Hi
THIS IS KEY!! I tried to say hello to as many people as I could when they circled me. Also, for most people who circled me, I checked out their profile and if they were talking about something that was of interest to me I then circled them back. It was Michelle Messenger who made me realise how useful saying hello is. She has just shy of 18k followers but when I said hello to her she said she was pleasantly surprised as it was a rare occurrence. So, if she has ~18,000 followers and it was rare for her then you could safely say that if you say hi to people you’ll have a chance of differentiating yourself from the rest of the 18k followers (or however many) which in turn may result in the person you said hi to helping you out or promoting you somewhat.
- 5) Cross Pollinate
Share you G+ updates via Facebook and Twitter to try and pull in some followers from your other networks. Whilst I cross promoted most of my posts and gained a few extra followers this way there was no real return. This might be due to my following on Facebook/Twitter but I also think that users who like Facebook and Twitter and don’t yet have a G+ account wouldn’t create one just for me (and that’s understandable enough I guess hehe). With that said I’ll continue to cross pollinate my Google Plus posts to other networks as, like Pinterest, it makes sense to do it and doesn’t take too much time.
- 6) HOA
My enthusiasm to do a HangOut on Air knows no bounds but is yet to still fully materialise. I have dipped my toes into the G+ silver screen with this Hangout On Air Open Casting Call and was bowled over yesterday when Martin Shervington invited me to join him and others for a Hangout. Needless to say I joined that Hangout and got my first taste of what it’s like to have a hangout with lots of people. After my first taste I’m now hungry for me so if you’d like to have me on as a guest for a hangout on air please, get in touch!
- 7) Free Info
DING DING DING!!! This is the money shot tip. Give people good info, help them out anyway you can and from that good things come. I don’t know how or why exactly, maybe it’s the universe or karma or whatever but it works. Help others, give good advice or info for free and it’ll come back to you in spades. With all of my G+ posts I try to give some insight or info into whatever I’m sharing which in turn might spark a discussion or re-shares. I recently created this Google Plus Hovercard Infographic which received about 100 reshares on Google Plus and helped get my name out there a bit. The hovercard infographic helped me increase my follower count a bit but, more importantly, it helped get the attention of some of the main influencers on G+ because, well, I think some of them thought it was good. And that is the key takeaway, the old “quality content” chestnut is a true one. Put out good stuff and it will get noticed by the people you want to see it.
Google Plus K1 Challenge – Round Up
Besides the above one of the other key things I did was to engage with people by leaving comments on their posts, +1-ing and/or re-sharing with a bit of added value (eg, giving my own insights on their post when re-sharing). This, combined with saying hello to people I think is the ticket to success. Here’s why:
- – if you say hello to someone, and if they are anything like Michele who rarely gets said hello to, then people are going to be much more inclined to remember you.
- – if you then comment/share their content and do so in a value add way then they’ll be more likely to remember you and help you.
- – if you put out good content then those who you’ve built up a rapport with will be more likely to share you stuff which will lead to more followers and then the cycle repeats.
In a way I know there is nothing revolutionary there but I’ll tell you what, it works!
Another thing I did throughout December was to try put up a funny gif a day. “But Rob, what good is a feckin’ gif to you, how does that benefit your business??” I hear you ask. Well, it’s all about how you structure them I suppose. My most recent gif has been viewed over 200,000 times, has received 936 +1s, 124 comments and 284 re-shares and helped me jump up in follower count. I also tied the gif into my G+ challenge and it big time helped me hit my target (it was also shared by a lot of influential plussers which helped me achieve my goal). Besides that do I do like a good gif and as I said at the start I’m trying to be myself on G+ and that includes the odd humorous gif here and there.
Google Plus K1 Challenge Highlights
Now that the dust has settled I’d like to point out some of the highlights and give thanks to those who have helped me along the way:
– Christine DeGraff featured me as the first person in her #31People project.
– Craig Chamberlin gave me a humbling shout out in his daily video (worth subscribing to his channel). I would have missed it if not for Randy Hilarski letting me know about it – again, the benefits of saying hi to people and engaging coming to fruition.
– Made it to the “Whats Hot” Page on Google Plus which considering I had less than 1000 followers at the time is a bit of a “Dear Diary” moment.
– Heidi Bouman pointed out to me that I was featured on the Circle Count “Cream of the Crop” page due to the amount of activity I received in a short period of time. This is a double win I think, firstly to make it to the cream of the crop but then for Heidi to let me know – thank you Heidi!
– David Amerland commented this in relation to Martin Shervington sharing my aforementioned gif : “Well +Robert Ryan if you’re that close and +martin shervington says you’re good, you’re good ;)” – given that I’m a bit of David Amerland fanboy I was eh, well, freakin’ chuffed to read that!
– Am now in the top 200 Google Plus Users in Ireland according to CircleCount – schweet!
– The broad stroke highlight is that I’ve had a chance to interact with some of the G+ luminaries like Andrij Harasewych, Emmett Smith
, Wade Harman, Mike Alton, Craig Fifield and many more – all because I kicked off the G+ challenge and tried to put myself out there.
If I have any parting advice to any of you who might be new to Google Plus it is this: don’t for one second think it is a ghost town as it isn’t just put yourself out there, engage and interact. My second piece of advice would be to come circle me ;)
I’m planning a new Google Plus mission which I’ll start in the new year but I’d also like to hear if you have any mission/challenges for me, if so, please comment below.
And, finally, once again, thank you all for your support on G+, it has been overwhelming, awesome and most appreciated. I’ve embedded my share of this post on Google Plus below – join the convo! :)