I’ll admit, I’m a Google fangirl. When I heard that Google+ was launched, I scoured my network to find someone on the platform and begged for an invite. I got it. I sent invitations to all my friends. Excitement ensued. My first post felt like “Mr. Watson, come here. I need you.”
Here we were on this awesome new platform. A revolution in connectivity. I speculated about what to name my circles (I have circles!), should they be like Dante’s circles of hell? One for people who hate puns, one for people who love puns…
Nothing. We felt like we were splashing around in the kiddie pool while everyone else was doing laps in the real pool: Facebook. After a few months, the biggest selling point for Google+ was that you could see your Facebook stream on it. And that’s when I abandoned my account. And no one missed me.
But now I’m back. Maybe it’s some Twitter buzz or this article I read or that my husband is talking about using it to meet a specific need in his workplace, but I added familiarizing myself with Google+ to my 2013 goal list. I don’t like to be out of the loop on social media topics.
So what now? How do you jump in and learn everything you can learn about a social media site? For starters, you need an account. Once you have an account, you have to login and participate, even if you’re confused or scared.
I’ve done this before; I know. I jumped into Twitter and Pinterest the same way, and Foursquare. Foursquare and I had a brief but maddening love affair. It was competitive errand running. The craft-beer loving neighbor/Mayor of Como Park Pavilion was in direct fierce battle with me, and he didn’t even know it. I checked in everywhere. I walked farther, shopped more, diversified my parking ramps and gas buying to get first check-ins. I racked up mayorships and badges. I experienced the frustration of a businesses not having a Foursquare check-in option. And then, I got bored. But I did it, and now I know what it’s all about. It was even fun. I’m not saying I’ll never got back.
Now, I’m making a point to go into Google+ everyday, checking out the communities, posting, commenting on posts, looking around. Here’s what I can tell you: I’m still confused. But it’s early in the year, and I’m positive I’ll figure it out. Expect a follow-up post: Confessions of a Google+ expert.
Bottom line, don’t let social media intimidate you. It’s built for you. You don’t need to start out an expert. Just start with an account. Start by logging in and listening; see what’s happening there. If you aren’t comfortable coming up with a plan for your business, there are people who can help. And, once you’re there, you’ll realize that social media is a great way to reach people in a meaningful way, to engage them with your brand, to become real to them in a virtual environment.