10 G+ tips for the day - How to encourage more people to follow you and engage with those you follow

Google+ is a social network composed of human beings in all different walks of life. Forgive me for stating the obvious. There are many professionals on here who are hoping to attract new contacts and there is nothing wrong with that. What is very important is to learn how to do this on this particular social network.

I hope the points I am going to outline below will help make your time on Google+ pleasant and productive for you and your followers.

1. The first thing that would be useful would be to observe how those professionals who are active on G+ engage with their followers. Follow such people a +Colby Brown and +Mike Shaw as well as others such as +Robert Scoble and +Lynette Young who are working in similar fields to your own and have huge followings. See how they interact. Watch what they post and how frequently. They have a huge following (many brought over from other social media where they honed their skills in this field) and we can learn from them.

You will observe that they are all about sharing and asking for feedback and input. They are interested in other members and will actively encourage their own followers to take a look at those members they feel are worth following. They are not only about themselves, but also about other people. That is what makes them successful on this and other social networks.

2. Make sure you fill in your profile page with information about yourself and a photograph, so that potential followers can see who you are and what you are about. Give them reasons to follow you.

3. Use the +1 button. If you see something you like, click it. It is free and it is a satisfying experience as it lets the poster know that you appreciated the post. Use it as if it were going out of style, as it is the G+ way of giving a thumbs up.

4. Make a comment. if you particularly appreciate the thoughts in a post or have a point to make to add to the discussion. Make a comment if you think the photograph is special in some way. There is no need to write an essay but do say something more than 'great', 'awesome' 'beautiful'. Google+ is also about learning to express ourselves again - in words as well as such content as photographs. Again, this is one step further than the thumbs up and really is starting to be engagement.

4. Make public posts.If posting a photograph, write a few words (or a few paragraphs) as a little story. What makes this image special to you? Where did you take it? People on G+ love a little story. If you do not make public posts, no potential followers will know the kind of content you post and will see no reason to follow you.

5. In your comments and in your postings, +Mention the poster, the photographer or relevant people to the topic. This brings the post to their attention and lets them know that you were thinking of them when making the point. (To do this, type + and then begin the person's name. The names will fill in automatically so click on the one you are looking for. This auto fills with the names most likely to relate to the comment you are making, such as the original poster, when you begin to type their names.) If they post content you find interesting and inspiring, add them to your circles.

6. Post interesting tidbits about your own life and work, but do not post only about your product that you are marketing. This will turn people off. There is room for your enthusiasm about your product, but in moderation and not in a sales pitch.

7. Take a bit of time to examine the posts of those you are following. Look at their photographs, read their thoughts. This will open you up to the people who follow them and if you find them also interesting add them. They will then take a look at you and possibly circle you too.

8. Share good posts to your followers, +mentioning the original poster and include the original permalink in the share so people can compliment the original poster. (Find the permalink right next to the name of the original poster. It is in the time stamp, so if you right click and save the link target, you can paste this in your posting.

9. Resist the temptation to use your posting to send people to another site too frequently (blog, offsite photo album or whatever). The very act of asking people to leave G+ to go somewhere else can be off-putting and your material will not get the audience it deserves. At times this is inevitable, but put enough content for people to see the value in clicking that link. Picasa photo albums are terrific, there should be no reason to post elsewhere. (One recent exception to this (photos) rule I have seen made by +Steven Kennard is sending readers to his performance photo galleries on his site. They are accompanied by the music of the peformer and so are lodged on the site.)

10. Our time is limited and it is tempting to go back to the safety of our friends and contacts on the social networks that are so comfortable to us. Don't just automatically gravitate to those and get stuck in there every day, but really take some time and expend the effort needed getting to know people on here and see how this network can work in with the ones you already know and love. Once you have a following and are following others on here, you will see that it is not necessarily a case of abandoning Facebook or Twitter, but of using them all for what each does best. Find what Google+ does best for you.

I can't say this often enough: if you want to have people following you, you should be following people yourself. There are lots of lists and suggestions for all interests and now you can ask people to share their circles with you directly. Ask your friends who invited you here. Tell them the kind of content you are interested in (photographs, writing, food etc.)

Then make comments. A comment does not need to be lengthy, just a few words. When people see your comments they go and check our your profile. If they like your content, they will circle you. You have to engage.
I hope these points might help some who are unsure of how to engage on this platform and it will help make this a pleasant and profitable experience in every way. Enjoy it!

Edit: One other comment added by +June B (thanks June) which is a very useful tip:

" I have a follower that is Portugeuse. He started posting comments and I could not understand, as I do not speak it, then I checked the more tab at the top and it has a translate tab....very useful. Now I can understand his comments and we can talk about the pictures. Excellent. So you can always comment on others posts in there own language. Great for getting more followers and you can also understand what they are writing."
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