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Mick Sharpe
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Get the web working for you

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Finding your way
making it through your first months on Google+

You’ve arrived, eager to find out what all the fuss is about, looking to make friends, generate business or improve your visibility in search. Possibly all three. You’ve heard that Google+ is a boundless ocean of opportunity. You want to dive in but aren’t sure about the depth, the splash you will make or where the current will take you. If this is you then the first word of advice is relax.

Rome wasn’t built...

There’s a phrase around these parts, often coined by +martin shervington: Google+ is a marathon not a sprint. Once you take that deep breath and commit yourself to the long haul you’ll start to appreciate all this varied community has to offer. So…

Where to start?

First things first. Google+ is a public place and just as you would dress appropriately when out in public you need to make sure you have completed your profile information and uploaded a suitable headshot and cover image.

I’ve always been a strong believer in keeping a low profile when you first venture into unfamiliar territory. Put yourself in stealth mode and observe the interactions of other people. Of course to do that you will need some people in your sights. You can’t go wrong with any or all of the people in the 'Plus Your Business Academy' Founding Members Circle (http://goo.gl/t31MQp) I’m honoured to consider these people my friends.

Once you have added to your circles you should see some additional posts in your home stream. Take a look at both the posts and the comments. You should see a variety from short and humorous to lengthy and detailed. You should also see that in most cases the comments are helpful and move the conversation forward.

When you feel comfortable and you find a post or conversation that interests you then go ahead and click that +1 button (the original poster or commenter will notice). If you have a comment that will add to the conversation then by all means add the comment. Don’t be surprised if someone replies!

If you have nothing of value to add then I would always recommend restraint, keeping your powder dry!

For the skimmers

✔ Relax and take your time
✔ Add to your circles with care
✔ Start with comments
Add value to the conversation

(Yes the last one is a biggie!)

Next steps

When you’ve built up some confidence it’s time to look at broadening your horizons. Remember Google+ is Google and the search bar at the top of the page is your biggest ally. Search for your area of interest/expertise and you’ll be met with a list of posts, people, communities and events for you to explore. Go on add a few more people to your circles, join some communities and watch some events. Always remember to add value when you comment.

Hopefully by this stage you are gaining a following of people who like what you have to say. Don’t worry if this is only a small number of people. It’s better to have a few like-minded, interested connections than hundreds of totally disengaged followers.  

Making your first post

It’s a sad truth that the majority of early posts are met by rapturous silence. So how do you avoid this? Remember the golden rule of Google+ to add value? Well one of the best ways to start posting is to share a post that you find interesting and that you think those who follow you will find interesting. Then add your unique perspective to the post in your introduction. Be sure to +mention the post author and you will almost certainly get an appreciative comment for sharing and adding your thoughts.

Making it yours

Variety is the spice of life and so it is with Google+. Don’t be afraid to experiment with formatting, imagery and post length.

With practice you’ll get to know what works for your audience and more importantly what works for you. There is no absolute right or wrong way to Google+ - there is only your way. Once you find your way the real enjoyment starts and lots of new opportunities present themselves. It is then that you truly come to appreciate Google+ and the relationships you make here.

Skimmers part two

✔ Join communities
✔ Watch and comment on events
✔ Share interesting and useful content
✔ Experiment and find your way

Produced as part of the #PYBAcademy Trailblazer course alongside a great many other posts from fellow trailblazers.

You know who you are ;-)

#googleplustips

[Image credit] Me!
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On hold for the Summer

It won't have escaped your noticed that I've had less time available for the Plus in recent weeks. The outside demands on my time have not abated so I'm taking the opportunity to put the Friday Favourites on hold for the Summer. I hope this doesn't inconvenience those that have come to rely on the weekly posts.

With a little luck and lashings of coffee I'm hoping to be back on an even keel as we head into Autumn, ready to take up the Favourites again.

In the meantime I should be able to engage more than I have been recently, something that I have missed as the time demands rose.

So a big thank you for all the support you've shown thus far.

See you on the heap
 

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Third time’s the charm

Yes you’ve probably guessed from the title that this week saw another Herculean effort from +Chef Dennis Littley as he kicked off The Third Annual Virtual Bloggers Conference. Chef draws together experts to share advice and expertise on a wide range of topics of interest to bloggers and businesses looking to make the most of the connected world.

Twelve sessions over the weekend so you’re sure to find something of interest. I’m throwing in the whole list from +Ask Chef Dennis Productions because it’s all just too good for me to cherry pick one or two. Thanks for drawing in all this expertise Chef Dennis, a fantastic resource and reference for us all.

Session 1 - SEO and Your Blog: https://goo.gl/3XwRLV
Session 2 - How to Be a YouTube Show Host:  https://goo.gl/dakgNP
Session 3 - Engaging with Your Audience Online and IRL: https://goo.gl/S1vHPW
Session 4 - Ad Networks Revealed, Looking Behind the Curtain: https://goo.gl/eyNKUu
Session 5 - The Future of Hangouts: https://goo.gl/qUM2o6
Session 6 - Streaming Live Video with Periscope and Meerkat: https://goo.gl/Tk6323
Session 7 - Using LinkedIn to your Advantage: https://goo.gl/Er0hDD
Session 8 - Visual Strategies for your Blog and Social Media: https://goo.gl/kJt7rT  
Session 9 - The Ever Changing Facebook and How to Use it Effectively: https://goo.gl/Ug9nQj
Session 10 - So You Want to be a Podcaster: https://goo.gl/5zUXFS
Session 11 - Let’s Talk About WordPress: https://goo.gl/N4Yqid
Session 12 - Circloscope and Nod3x: https://goo.gl/mzidl4

In my favourite show of the week currently, +Stan Bush stepped up to the plate, representing the South in this week’s #RayBunch The Rise (and Fall?) of the Social Media Consultant (https://goo.gl/pECLfJ). Stan joined regulars +Ray Hiltz, +Jessica Dewell, +B.L. Ochman and +Scott Scowcroft looking beyond hiring Pinky and the Brain Social Media Consultants (thanks for that one Stan!) and clarifying some of the definitions used by businesses to mean different things. As always you’ll be entertained and may even start looking for your next Social Media Windsock (another Stanism). The show is taking a summer break so do take the chance to catch this before relaxing into the holiday season.

An energetic and enthusiastic contribution to This week's PYB show! (https://goo.gl/fom8sJ) from +Ramon Ray that had me (and +Travis Taylor and +martin shervington) smiling all the way through. A solid overview of how the modern stable of CRM systems for the small business can really make a difference to personalisation and profitability.

Managing emotions

If there’s one thing that’s certain it’s that we all have a reaction to any given situation, often heavily influenced by our competencies. To the onlooker these reactions can be baffling, particularly when unaware of any underlying influences. +Gina Fiedel explores the fact that Human Emotions Can’t Be Escaped – Even In Business (https://goo.gl/PNpWgq) drawing on a Kelsey Lynn Lundberg article Understanding The Emotional Response published on +A List Apart, for people who make websites. Emotions run high in business, particularly if you are having to deal with an unfamiliar subject. As Gina states: People are heavily invested in the outcome and nervous about how to get there. In these situations it behooves us, as the experts in our fields, to be sensitive to the feelings and emotions of those around us, address the underlying anxieties, and shift the emphasis back to positive collaboration. Sometimes you also need to develop rhino skin to be able to reach the point where you can progress! Many thanks Gina.

+David Kutcher advises that You should always establish and measure metrics, but don't let your numbers lead you astray (https://goo.gl/jCV8U6). It’s always worth paying attention when David talks metrics and this makes a lot of sense. Like David I’m a firm believer that analytics can inform your business decisions but that has to be tempered with a large dose of common sense. It’s the content that you brings you customers, not the greatest number of views, that should provide the focus of your content strategy.

Thinkers corner

More from the old dinosaurs of Europe this week as a ruling has a potentially catastrophic impact on those running comments on their blogs. +David Amerland covers the wider landscape in European Laws in Old vs New Fight (https://goo.gl/sH7ltS) while +Ana Hoffman gives us The Skinny in The European Court of Human Rights rules: websites can be declared liable for things people post in comments (https://goo.gl/KgvnOZ). Now I don’t think anyone would disagree with compelling a site owner to remove defamatory comments but to make them liable when a commenter turns out to be fake.

Also posted by Ana: Russia proposes the strictest Right to be Forgotten rules yet (https://goo.gl/3hMS8V). Ouch! Some potential problems if this ruling goes through putting the responsibility on the Search Engines to find every reference to information that a person may want deleted.

It would seem that we’re going to have a prolonged period of flux until the World gets to grips with the new frontier of technology and the hyper-connectedness that we all enjoy. The times, they are definitely a-changin’.

And finally…

A fascinating series of experiments highlighted by +David Amerland in Hockey Pucks and Mythril (https://goo.gl/quTxcN). This one showing the effect of thermite on a hockey puck. For those who are without an unhealthy interest in pyrotechnics David has kindly included a link to the Wikipedia Thermite entry. Off to the garage to find my magnesium strips!


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp   #WeekInReview   #Google +

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites   #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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Never finished

I think we may have had a week without any feature retirements on Google+ (and yes I’m touching wood as I write). There was, however, a new aspect to Local Search shared by +Ana Hoffman (you know Ana always finds the good stuff). Location Aware Search is live unannounced feature in Google Search App (https://goo.gl/r1oZiR) looks at the improvements demonstrated at the SMX Conference in Paris. Smarter and smarter.

I love to see success stories on Google+ and one such success story is that of the #EagleCo project. +Tim Sweeney and +Sanjiv Manifest joined +Zara Altair for Midweek Zap - Local Love (https://goo.gl/MYQOC9) to review the project from its birth to its evolution into +Go Local Online (GLO). If you’re involved in Local in any way you’ll get something from this show and great to see the team putting the experience gained to good use helping other communities boost their local online presence.

More collaboration on the Plus with Disruption: How Successful People Use Social Media for Business (https://goo.gl/yLGl6W). +Randy Milanovic joined forces with +Gina Fiedel, +Vincent Messina, +David Kutcher, +Jodi Kaplan, +Christine DeGraff and many more to produce a practical guide to using Social Media. Yes real life examples from real people. Who knew? I believe you can still pick this up from Amazon for free today and only $3 if you miss the free window. I’m half way through and it’s well worth a read and keeping handy for future reference.

As it was promised, so was it delivered

A small business must-see as +RightStart Websites kick off their new format Small Business WebTech Show with The Basics of Using Your Website As A Business Asset (https://goo.gl/9PgVYg). +Gina Fiedel joins +Marilyn Moore and +John Moore as co-host for the series with expert advice from the Black Knight, +Ammon Johns, digital marketer +Mary Iannotti and business development expert +Mike Bayes. You’ll learn about the level of investment needed for your website to continue to grow and become more valuable. You may have been enticed by the pay monthly, easy build website services. The panel look at some of the pitfalls of this approach to your business website and it’s worth watching for this advice alone. Take the time, make the effort and get the statue to your own company right, (Good phrase, Ammon). This is definitely a watch it all show but just in case you need to dip in and out quickly Marilyn has put together the #timestamp reference post here (https://goo.gl/vyjACY)

More useful advice for small business in this week’s +Geekspeak Guides 301 redirects and 404 Errors and Forgotten Steps (https://goo.gl/CZGJCi). +Susan Finch and +Yvonne Heimann share some great tips if you want to get your hands dirty, or at least be aware of what your web developers are doing for you. Particularly valuable tip to keep old sites active (with their analytics intact) when switching domains which will allow you to catch any old links that you may have forgotten about. A lot of useful stuff packed into a little under 25 minutes.

As ever +Ronnie Bincer keeps us up to date with Hangouts. Desktop Hangout Messaging gets "Stickers" (https://goo.gl/wBGTs0) introduces us to the new sticker feature in Desktop Google Hangouts (which has been available for some time on mobile). Another example of unifying the Google experience across all devices.

I’m not sure how they manage it but +Ray Hiltz and the rest of the #RayBunch team, +B.L. Ochman, +Jessica Dewell, +Randy Bowden and +Scott Scowcroft seem to find an interesting topic every single week. This week it’s Who is the Boss of You? Self-Employment: How Hard Can It Be? (https://goo.gl/W2GK8b). Working for yourself is great, isn’t it? Well like everything, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. I think Scott highlights an important point that there is much more opportunity for the budding entrepreneur in the current, well-connected world. Some fabulous takeouts. I have to admit to using something similar to B.L.’s takeout recently to try to manage tasks more effectively. And it works!

Relationships and their dynamics are the subject of This week's PYB show! (https://goo.gl/x7kH8o) as +Travis Taylor, +martin shervington and +David Amerland discuss getting the Google+ bug, understanding intent and intention and investing the time. Welcome to the global village square! Always an interesting discussion and well worth taking in with your favourite beverage while taking a break from your other tasks.

Thinkers corner

Every now and again it serves us well to stand back a little from the rapid development of all things Internet and just see where we might need to make some adjustments. +Eli Fennell flags up the darker side of this rapid evolution in Internet Hospital Pumps: The Perfect Tool for Assassination and Medical Mayhem? (https://goo.gl/E4vEZj), a share of an article by +Maximilian Teodorescu highlighting research that reveals that Internet connected drug infusion pumps are vulnerable to hacking. As Eli points out there are some areas that are just too risky to entrust to an emerging technology. As much as I’m in favour of technological advancements I do worry about the Internet of Things. I remain quite comfortable with a kettle that I have to switch on myself and a fridge that doesn’t tell me I’m out of beer.

Thinking about a different aspect of our future +Gideon Rosenblatt gives us Meat: The Habit We Don't Want to Give Up (or Talk About) (https://goo.gl/Y2ikZ8). Looking at the latest developments that hope to reduce our demand for meat production and therefore reduce the associated environmental impacts. I applaud any effort to mitigate the problems we make for ourselves and it will be interesting to see how this develops.

And finally…

This enjoyable share from +matthew rappaport came to via +Alan Stainer and +Eli Fennell. Ackbar’s Eleven (https://goo.gl/TkfFN0) is a humorous parody of Star Wars and Ocean’s Eleven created by +SYNAPTIC STUDIOS. I think it’s a trap!


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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The wires under the board

It feels like I’ve said this before! Another week and another change. Yep things are moving apace in what looks like Google’s move to rationalise the interface across all devices. Whether you’re frustrated or nonplussed (always wanted to use that word here) by the changes take a look at This week's PYB show - What's going on with G+? (https://goo.gl/05aAcu). +Travis Taylor, +martin shervington and +David Amerland look at the G+ landscape and the rapid evolution of the ecosystem. The only certainty is that more changes are inevitable. My advice, embrace, adapt and evolve along with it. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

I’m taking advantage of a somewhat quieter week (HOA wise) to throw in a short post - lots to catch up on before we move into summer. Coming back to the #RayBunch this week (I know, I’ve already slapped my own wrist for not getting around to last week’s show before I posted!). In Someone Is Watching You - Live Streaming Apps & Privacy (https://goo.gl/M4KHRR) +Ray Hiltz, +Scott Scowcroft, +Randy Bowden, +Jessica Dewell and +B.L. Ochman get down to the whys and wherefors of the latest batch of live streaming apps. As ever you get a very broad cross section of opinion with the show, from the benefits to the dark side. Technological advances always throw up some challenges. Enjoy this conversation.

If your interest was piqued by last week’s inclusion of some +Manuel Saint-Victor wisdom in the And finally… section then take a look at the Midweek Zap - Your Naked Unconscious (https://goo.gl/3kaJ6V). Mani joins +Zara Altair to talk about your subconscious and understanding it. I always enjoy Mani’s guiding light through the twists and turns of neuroscience. Breathe everyone!

I wish there was a…

I flagged up +The Curious Marketer With Vin’s  The Fundamentals of Online Marketing Series a couple of weeks ago as a one to watch. Session 2 - Identifying and Understanding the RIGHT Target Market (https://goo.gl/xlcISh) sees +Vincent Messina and +Ammon Johns sharing more sage wisdom about making your business a success. Actually this is probably the most important lesson for a business - you first need to find a need, an itch that needs scratching. Then you need to understand how to communicate with those people with that itch! Just two shows in but such a lot of value already. Let’s all hobble past the Chiropodist!

I was torn between two +David Kutcher posts this week. Both very useful to website owners as you would expect. What the hell - have both! While "semantic search" is very technical, there are many non-technical things you can do to augment your semantic search strategy (https://goo.gl/djUkeD) looks at how you can move beyond microformatting and Schema to introduce greater value for your audience (click through to the article). The second When was the last time you did an experiment? (https://goo.gl/CThQo8), a share of an +InnerTrends’s article touches on one of my favourite topics testing. It’s often difficult to take those first steps into an experimentation mindset but once you do you won’t regret it. David and +InnerTrends make it clear why What if…? is the key to the evolution of any business and particularly so when applied to your website.

Thinkers corner

It’s not very often I include an event that hasn’t happened yet, actually this is a first. +John Moore asks Did you build your website as a business asset? (https://goo.gl/6I6R3l) and I think that this is one of the most important questions for any small business. John highlights that your website is a critical part of your business and that you maybe shouldn’t entrust this to the companies providing a free website, low monthly fee service. I have more than an inkling that this will be a great event given the calibre of the panel. Take a look at some of the views of the panelists. +Gina Fiedel hints at the real cost of going cheap in What Does A No Investment Online Business Asset Actually Cost? Answer: A Lot More Than You Think (https://goo.gl/SNYWIF) and +Ammon Johns raises more questions in Your Website as a Business Asset (https://goo.gl/y7aBrh) pointing out that for some businesses their website may be worth more to someone else than their entire business. Looking forward to next Wednesday - put it in your diary too.

Double time in Thinkers corner this week as +Randy Milanovic asks Are You Relying a Little Too Much on Marketing Automation? (https://goo.gl/3K3COH). It’s human nature to try to reduce the effort involved / energy expended in whatever we do but often that can backfire particularly when it comes to building and maintaining relationships on Social Media. I agree with Randy’s view but sadly also concur with his comment that the people utilising bad automation will never see his post. If you know who they are do them a favour and point them in the right direction.

And finally…

Be the follower! Three minutes of interesting people watching with a serious side - if you want something to succeed be the first follower. If it’s your idea embrace your first follower. Originally thrust under my nose by +Denis Labelle but since deleted so including a direct link to the YouTube video. (https://goo.gl/GRxQg1)

Yeah, that’s my bicep  Thirty minutes of enjoyable hokum shared by +Gideon Rosenblatt. Get yourself comfortable and take in the visual feast that is Kung Fury (https://goo.gl/7G3s57). No animals were harmed, etc. Tank you


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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I.O., I.O., It’s off to work…

Obviously the announcements from the Google Conference are filling the stream at the minute with a lot of thought and commentary coming from all quarters. If you want to pick up on some of the excitement then take a look at Talking about the latest from Google's conference! (https://goo.gl/qKgol3) with +martin shervington and +Travis Taylor enthusing about the changes and new features such as Photos, Android TV and Now on Tap. An appraisal of the opportunities for businesses to take advantage of the ecosystem.

+Ana Hoffman shares some thoughts in “Now on tap” to help you with what you need in the moment, anywhere on your phone (https://goo.gl/9t9jok). The first steps on the way to having a truly helpful personal assistant right at your finger tips. Things are definitely moving apace. Thanks Ana.

There was still some worry about the lack of mention of Google+ in some areas of the presentations but I liked +Stephan Hovnanian’s always sensible take in More affirmation that the bigger picture for Google+ has been about the connective data, not the social network that's supposed to "beat" any other network. (https://goo.gl/zmGzfi). The title pretty much sums it up but always wise to keep in mind Stephan’s advice. Whatever you’re here for - concentrate on the important stuff and remember that Google+ exists primarily as a means to gather more data about us, in order for Google to give us what we need!

Almost missed this but you may also want to take a look at I/O Break (https://goo.gl/KQ9cZ5). +Kristin Drysdale, +Ben Fisher and +Mark Traphagen discuss the event and even bring in some wider discussion on Collections and maintaining your disposable razors! There really is a mine of information on this platform.

Enough of IO for the moment and on with the rest of the week. +Randy Milanovic continues to deliver some great content in 5 Reasons Why Business Leaders Need to Be Social (https://goo.gl/HK0SYV). Randy hits the nail firmly on the head when looking at the main reason why some most business leaders are not using Social Media directly - it’s fear rather than a lack of time. This fear is surprising given the attributes of most business leaders.

Selling things online? Then you need to watch Query Intent, Capture And Conversion In E-Commerce (https://goo.gl/dMKIel). Even if you’re not selling you need to watch this. +Denver Prophit Jr., +David Kutcher and +David Amerland go deep into the Intent based approach that can really make a difference to your bottom line. You know there will be no fluff from the two Davids and this is full of sensible advice of how to satisfy your potential customer. Essentially this is what any e-commerce site needs to do. It will be a paradigm shift to many but there really is no getting around the change in approach needed to succeed in the ever more connected online world. Know yourself and your customer intimately!

Fond farewell

The time has come. Our favourite infotainment show The Mia Connect Power Chat is taking a break for while. Join +Mia Voss and a host of other #BatPackers for The Hiatus Show - The Mia Connect Power Chat (https://goo.gl/fWU5UJ) as they celebrate the relationships forged through the show and Google+. I’ll miss the Friday hijinks and mishaps Mia but looking forward to seeing what else is cooking. Thanks for all the fun.

Wordpress Wisdom

Always good to have a refresher on WordPress best practices and you can’t go wrong with this episode of the Midweek Zap - WordPress: Care & Feeding (https://goo.gl/0Hifch). +Zara Altair and +MaAnna Stephenson dish out the rapid-fire tips relating to backup, plugins (those to avoid and those worth seeking out), DDoS attacks and Schema Markup. MaAnna also points out that the days of easy, cheap DIY are well and truly over. Cheap hosting will trip you up, sooner rather than later. If you’re running a WordPress blog then do take the time to watch and absorb.

Thinkers corner

I’m always conscious of doing a good job and kick myself if I don’t quite manage to hit the mark (my mark, it has to be said, is often too high!). Two pieces highlight the importance of putting in the effort and not just dialling it in. Writing Content Truly From You And For Them What They Need [and] What You Truly Care About (https://goo.gl/V7cZhh) from +Gina Fiedel of +Fat Eyes Web Development uses a recent photo post to illustrate how easy it can be to get drawn into the content for numbers game when, in reality, little value comes from it. Always better to put a little bit of you into every piece and dig deep to make that relevant to your audience. Sometimes difficult, but then the good stuff often is. As ever click through to the article for the full #GinaExperience

Gina’s article was catalysed from +Danny Brown’s short, but incredibly sweet Be proud of every single word (https://goo.gl/L4tWsf) that highlights the sad world we create when driven by the pointless numbers. It seems clear from the comments on Danny’s blog article that the vacuous numbers game has permeated much business thinking. Don’t we all have a responsibility to combat this?

And finally…

You’ll know by now that I’m a fan of +ReachConnectUpliftWomen’s short, information-packed videos. In Neuromarketing and persuasion to increase your sales? (https://goo.gl/CZQIpR) +Lany Sullivan talks with +Mani Saint-Victor about the 4 areas of persuasion that you need to include in any sales pitch. It makes perfect sense when you appreciate that in most cases there will be many types of people that have a say on the value of your proposal.




Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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No stones on the pond

Well another week and another feature retired. Yes ripples are gone. As ever some strong feelings in the community, mostly from those in marketing, for whom Ripples were a very useful tool. As much as we may criticise Google’s decisions at times I can understand why they have removed the feature. +Eli Fennell shares some sensible thoughts on the retirement in Google+ Ripples Are No More (https://goo.gl/OFc1Y9). If you are wondering how you’re going to cope without ripples then never fear +Circloscope (https://goo.gl/9NnCJX) and +NOD3x (https://goo.gl/C1rrJY) have you covered and provide a whole lot more besides!

The recent changes to Google+ are also touched upon in this week’s The PYB show! (https://goo.gl/ebI1YD). Join +Travis Taylor, +martin shervington and +David Amerland as they discuss the forthcoming Android TV with the emphasis on voice search. The streamlining of the Google+ experience across all access points is discussed, ie the recent changes remove desktop-only features of Google+. Interesting as ever to speculate where the big G is heading. Always at the cutting edge of what’s happening +Plus Your Business! will keep you bang up to date.

Learn with Yoda

A great start to +The Curious Marketer With Vin’s new series The Fundamentals of Online Marketing with +Vincent Messina pulling in the Black Knight, +Ammon Johns for Session 1 - Understanding Marketing and Marketing Strategy (https://goo.gl/pp85pi). A really sensible explanation of the differences between objectives, strategy and tactics - I know, should be obvious but confusion abounds in the real world. I would hazard a guess and say that most people just starting out in business needs to grasp, at the very least, Ammon’s point to avoid competing on price. It’s a miserable place at the bottom so why hurry to get there? Also some really sensible discussion about putting your, presumably limited, resources where it matters most. Particularly relevant to your social media efforts - if your customers aren’t on Facebook or Google+ then you’re probably better off spending your time (and/or money) on something else. Really looking forward to the rest of this series.

More great business advice from +Randy Milanovic in When we know customers aren’t right, and don’t tell them so, we are almost karmically bound to suffer as a result. (https://goo.gl/xIEYcR). I think this falls into the realm of a business being confident enough to do the right thing. Just as it is all too easy to fall into the race to the bottom, we’re the cheapest trap (see the event above) we can become just as encumbered by taking on projects that we should have left alone or remaining silent when we should challenge our customers’ perceptions or approach. Randy hits the nail on the head - you will suffer in the long run if you don’t deal with issues that put the relationship out of balance. Some great quotes in the post too, particularly the last line attributed to Lyndsay Peters. Thanks Randy.

If you’re a big fan of social sharing on your WordPress site then you should probably take a look at this week’s TNTBootcamp - Social Warfare (https://goo.gl/LZ2tr3). +Christine DeGraff and +Ronnie Bincer are joined by the team behind the Social Warfare plugin, +Dustin W. Stout, +Nicholas Cardot and +Jason T. Wiser. The team have put a lot of effort into controlling how your blog posts are shared across all the social platforms allowing customisation of images and text within a single plugin. Dustin gives a useful overview of the plugin setup. Take a look - it might be just what you need.

With a title of Is Content Curation Lazy Content Marketing? how I could I not include this week’s #RayBunch (https://goo.gl/B95pjN)? +Brooke Ballard joins +Ray Hiltz, +Scott Scowcroft, +Randy Bowden, +Jessica Dewell and +B.L. Ochman to talk about content curation. I think we all agree that whatever your terminology content that we share should have value for your audience otherwise we are just adding to the noise. As Scott highlights: it’s all about the relationship building - it’s that personal touch which is the tie-breaker. Besides the great conversation you need to watch this for Ray’s musical turn at the end of the show - close your eyes, it’s Billy Joel ;-)

Thinkers corner

Common sense seems to be de rigueur this week, further demonstrated by +Stephan Hovnanian’s Can Deflategate Make Us Better Marketers? (https://goo.gl/0PKE33). Stephan uses a recent scandal in sport to illustrate the fact that only a few people are actually vested in any subject matter - to the rest it’s either noise or invisible. Faced with this reality and the increasing content overload Stephan recommends a re-evaluation of how vested you are in the topics that take up your time and sums it up with a cracker of a bullet point: Prioritize time spent on Income Producing Activities, and simply not care about the rest. It may be a hard pill to swallow but there’s no denying the logic. Are you spending your time effectively?

And finally…

Well three actually, and all animal related! The first from +David Amerland showing why it’s unwise to sneak up on someone on a forest track! Don't Mess With the Swedes (https://goo.gl/uGcgk9)

The second from +James Dearsley is a marvellous time lapse video of the life stages of a bee. (https://goo.gl/4hahxd). I’ll not get on my Insects are Important soap box but just let this stand as a fascinating testament to the wonders of life.

The last piece, and one that makes me appreciate living in the relatively safe UK. It’s common knowledge that many of the world’s most dangerous animals call Australia their home. +Paul Snedden shares this post about an Orphaned Drop Bear Cub (https://goo.gl/FsRF9Y).

If you go down to the woods today...


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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Fundamentally OK

Another week in the wringer for me, with a dead connection on Tuesday and way too many things backing up on the task lists. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to search too hard to find some real treats for the weekend viewing schedule. So let’s get to it.

I almost forgot to come back to this show from +Front of Mind Coaching (+Greg Cooper) but glad I remembered in time for this post. The title says it all: The Secrets of a Successful LinkedIn Blog - by People Who Really Know (https://goo.gl/h2Zz26). Greg talks with three people that have really made the LinkedIn blogging platform work well for them, +Marc Miller, +Paul Shapiro and +Randy Milanovic. Lots of actionable advice here that can be applied beyond the LinkedIn platform. Don’t tease! Many thanks guys.

A long but fascinating discussion in last Friday’s +Network Round Table: The Softer Side of Business show: Honesty & Integrity in Business (https://goo.gl/u2GbY7). +David Amerland, +Oleg Moskalensky join +Kristin Drysdale, +Gina Fiedel and +Marilyn Moore to get to the nitty gritty of being honest in business in a discussion that that meanders around Mother Teresa, Hitler, the Beatles, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day Lewis! Happy to see Oleg launch Oleg’s Rants™ and inject his humour at various points through the show - a real treat. Always interesting to see just how honest we can, and should, be in any given situation. A part two is promised due to a nifty bit of bait and switch marketing from the ladies. I’m looking forward to it.

Let’s drop the R

David was up again for the never-to-be-missed #SMTPowerTalk (it’s all in production - big h/t to +John Ellis as ever). +Danny Brown joins David and co-host +Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales for Brand and Influence in Social Media Marketing (https://goo.gl/xDrix4). Common sense in bucket loads from Danny as he essentially talks about identifying your customers’ needs and the things that influence them. I really enjoyed Danny’s perceptions of the cultural differences between customers in the UK and continental North America. Reach vs Relevance, Noise vs Signal there’s a lot of good stuff in here including the value in the small business mindset - knowing your customer well enough to be relevant to your customer at every interaction. Last in the current series - a big thank you to +Social Media Today for giving us this opportunity. Please do give us another.

Another double from another David

This time from +David Kutcher. Firstly with +Zara Altair in the Midweek Zap - Foster Audience Growth (https://goo.gl/njL1wb). Lots of value in this and David kicks off with the essential starting point of defining and understanding their target audience, their needs and their information gathering process. Even if you just take this on board you’ll be improving your business immensely. Always admired David’s approach to analytics too - know your question! When you know your question you can use analytics to inform your whole website strategy, making gradual improvements over time that add up to a whole lot more.

Analytics was the subject of the David’s next appearance on the +ReachConnectUpliftWomen show with +Lany Sullivan. Google Analytics, Landing Pages, Bounce Rate and so much more in less than 20 minutes (https://goo.gl/5Fhz6f) does exactly what it says on the tin! David shows how to set up your Google Analytics dashboards to extract the data you need to really get some solid data to direct your future decisions. Don’t get hung up on the bounce rate! Excellent advice in a show that doesn’t demand a huge chunk of time.

At the risk of being pilloried for being a #RayBunch fanboy (OK that boat has probably long since sailed!) #RayBunch 79 Is Sharing Really Caring? (https://goo.gl/MsmDYj) looks at how we share things on Social Media, our expectations from sharing and why we share. The mix of views from the team of +Ray Hiltz, +Jessica Dewell, +B.L. Ochman, +Randy Bowden and +Scott Scowcroft really set this 30 minute show on its own. Thoughtful, informative and entertaining.

+RightStart Websites continue their steadfast support for the Small Business Owner with the Small Business WebTech Show. +martin shervington joins +John Moore and +Marilyn Moore for Building Your Brand on Google Plus (https://goo.gl/RmJXwP). Martin has amassed a great deal of knowledge and expertise relating to Google+, much of it available on the Plus Your Business website. This packed hour absolutely flew by as Martin relayed a sensible approach for a small business owner looking to make some headway with Google’s social layer. Looking forward to seeing what the new format brings to the next show.

For the self conscious out there join +Dustin W. Stout and +Joey Giangola for Fearlessly Questioning Comparing Yourself  (https://goo.gl/mlxhMK). Yep we’ve all done it, compared ourselves to others. sometimes it can spur us on to greater things. At the other end of the spectrum it can totally stifle you, preventing any kind of growth. I’m sure it’s also something that changes as you grow and become more comfortable in your own skin (yep sometimes ageing is a good thing!)

Thinkers corner

A long read from +Padraig Ó Raghaill but one that raises some interesting points about our use of data. Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet (https://goo.gl/ONMXiy) questions the logic behind some of the rules and regulations seemingly justified by good data. Of course, safety is important, but Padraig makes some very good points, backed up with data, that the rules we impose may have the opposite effect than they were intended to achieve. You may want to click through to the article to get the embedded imagery but do take the time to read. Above all else it should make you think about constantly testing your own actions - don’t make the decision based on the data at hand and then assume it will have the desired effect. Gather more data, review and revise. Thanks Padraig.

And finally…

Another absorbing post from +Fat Eyes Web Development (that’s +Gina Fiedel in old money in case you didn’t know). When Design & Marketing Still Mean Something
Make It Better Than Good Enough (https://goo.gl/3PcIg4) asks if we settle for good enough too often? Should we be making more of an effort at times, striving for perfection and creating something that stands out from the rest. It’s a delicate balance, particularly in the business realm. As usual Gina sets the scene with some strong imagery in her words. Tell me you weren’t with her under the Glass Table.


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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Collectomania

It’s no surprise that collections are the hot topic of the week. Google’s new feature allowing you to group your posts by topic is a good thing but has had unforeseen consequences for me this week. It seems that many are going through their posts and adding to collections, as you might expect. As I look through the stream for Friday Favourite candidates I’m finding more and more collection posts from the past, rather than current items which has slowed me down a tad. It will probably settle down as people sort out their collections or maybe I should include some of the choice reposts?  Anyhow on to the current content I did manage to find.

We now know who to blame thank for the always excellent #RayBunch show - +martin shervington! Martin joins +Ray Hiltz, +B.L. Ochman, +Jessica Dewell, +Randy Bowden and +Scott Scowcroft for The Evolution of Google+ and Communities (https://goo.gl/MAEEiF). Martin challenges the assumptions of how we use this platform and details some of the changes happening in the +Plus Your Business! Community, the move to a paid Academy model and a switch to a lead by example methodology. Get out of your comfort zone and find out what it’s all about.

Martin was up for a second helping this week as he, +Mary Stovall, +Travis Taylor, +Ronnie Bincer and +George Cohn get Talking about Google+ Collections! (https://goo.gl/Jl1k1a). An early doors look at the Google+ landscape following the launch of the collections. As you would expect some great tips here and the most important one from Ronnie warning that you shouldn’t delete a  collection if you want to keep the posts within it. You need to remove the posts from the collection first!

I’m always happy to see a fellow Brit in an HOA (we need more accents on G+). Well this week +Jason Darrell joins +Zara Altair for Midweek Zap - Your Semantic X-Factor (https://goo.gl/hPxQRA). You may know Jason from his posts to the Google Semantic Search Community (https://goo.gl/ZQYfdo) or his thorough and insightful comments on the post of others. In this show Jason talks about aligning your digital footprint across the many touch points online. Jason also introduces the Semantic X-ray - a methodology to assist business owners in getting their online content in order, narrowing focus, defluffing and improving readability. Jason has also very kindly shared this methodology in the event comments. Nice job Jason.

Join the best guests talking about the latest news in The Mid Week Marketing Mix (https://goo.gl/S8YbJA). +Mark Schaefer discusses his latest book The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business. +Thomas Power introduces his klout70 project utilising Whatsapp private groups. +kara wood takes on the latest digital media news including the social media world rallying to help those affected by the Nepal tragedy and a look at the new Google+ Collections. As usual +The Digital Marketing Bureau provides you with the quick link #timestamp summary here (https://goo.gl/KWDfjB)

+Randy Milanovic shows how you can get through the tough times without harming your business in Keeping Your Business Afloat in a Downturn the KAYAK Way (https://goo.gl/PI3cmX). I can certainly vouch for this approach as it has seen us through the recent, (ongoing?), recession in the UK. The fact that you’re not reliant on throwing more cash at traditional channels to chase fewer and fewer clients is the major plus point. Isn’t it just common sense to use the slow times to continue to build trust with your existing and potential customers, increasing your authority in your field? Another excellent piece from Randy.

Always interested in finding out what others think of Google+ particularly those that have been here from the outset. +Mike Elgan shares his views in How to fix Google+. (https://goo.gl/tnDws1). Some interesting suggestions that Mike believes could increase the visible engagement on Google+ including increasing, or removing, the current circle limit of 5000. I still have a way to go on this one but I’m sure for some, including Mike, this is a pain. I agree with Mike’s call for more filters on the stream, or better default settings, particularly the ability to hide posts in communities of which you are not a member. Take a look and share your thoughts.

Thinkers corner

It’s been a little while since we enjoyed some #MarkoKoolAid so it’s time to quench that thirst. +Bruce Marko’s The Last Free Thing (https://goo.gl/IxSzDc) explores hope as only he can. We all need hope at different times in our lives, for ourselves, for others, for a change, for staying the same. Soak it in and enjoy this piece from Bruce. I think I need to find that sign post ;-)

+David Kutcher posted this to his I'm ranting again... and you like it. collection and I can openly admit I do like it! Pretty websites...are rarely websites that convert as well as unpretty ones. (https://goo.gl/Xov5s8) refers to a +Seth Godin blog suggesting you can either have a pretty website or one that makes money (my summary). As usual a great debate ensues in the comments some of which revolved around Seth terminology. I’m not sure if there was a later addition to Seth’s article that clarified things further but it seems to me that… I’ll actually stop there because I think it’s too sweeping a statement. I can think of examples that would support and refute Seth’s view. Then again I’m not sure of how much money they are making so Seth may actually be right or wrong! What do you think?

And finally…

+Eric Enge delivers some good advice in this blog article for +Plus Your Business! . 8 Rules To Get Started With Content Marketing (https://goo.gl/tXQ5ek) will keep you on the right lines when content marketing for your business. For me the quality over quantity tip is always the first thing I start with when talking with clients. It might seem like an awful lot of effort for what looks like little output but quality will have a life of its own, quantity just adds to the noise out there. And we all know how we feel about the noise! The aim should always be an increase in your visibility and authority.


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp  #WeekInReview  #Google+

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites  #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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Oh, What a May Day!

May! What? How did that happen? Apart from things flying by at an alarming rate it’s a cracking content week as usual on the Plus.

It was Name the Snake day on this week’s +The Mia Connect Power Chat (http://goo.gl/d3W7tu). Yes, really! You know it’s never an ordinary show with +Mia Voss. This Animal Happy Hour show featured +Yvonne DiVita and +Tom Collins of +BlogPaws, Robert Semrow of +PetWorldInsider, co-presenter at the BlogPaws 2015 event +Denise Wakeman, #HillsOfAfrica’s +Sandy Salle and Executive Director of the Center for Snake Conservation, +Cameron Young. Now I’ve had snakes before so knew what was likely to happen - and it did at around 33 minutes! Animals and entertaining, informative conversation - what’s not to like?

And if you need a little more Mia, there’s more entertaining, wine-propelled conversation on the +Jess + Scott + You Show: Selfishness: Scott Point / Jess Counterpoint (http://goo.gl/uiQjQ7). Mia joins +Jessica Dewell and +Scott Scowcroft for a conversation around selfishness, gender and age differences, education and empowerment that really draws you in. Smiling at many points throughout this including this advice from Jess for men, never get catty with a woman. We will outcat you every time! Ouch, been there and have the scars!

Jess and Scott are, of course, regulars on my #havetosee show, The Ray Lunch Bunch. In The Medium is Not the Message (http://goo.gl/715fv2) +Mark Traphagen joins +Ray Hiltz and the rest of the #RayBunch +B.L. Ochman and +Randy Bowden for a lively conversation about social media and business. Touching on the negatives of recent times, personal brand representatives and the issues of differing platforms this is, as ever, well worth the 35 minutes. Great takeouts from the panel - I’ve got to take the Are you addicted to Technology? quiz shared by B.L. I’m also glad I can still put my pre-Internet brain into gear when necessary. Enjoy it.

The withdrawal symptoms start to kick in if I go too long without an article from +Gina Fiedel. Well, I have my #GinaFix for this week in Target Your Ideal Customer While Harnessing Brand Identity On Your Website (http://goo.gl/5ggRxz). Gina highlights the delicate balancing act between form and function bringing in the #GinaTwist of the Minimalist Art movement (you know you’re going on a journey of discovery with Gina!). The message is clear, your website is your holy ground, the place that should truly express your uniqueness while speaking directly to needs of your ideal customer. The design should marry the two objectives, simply and beautifully. Do take the whole journey to the full article - as always it’s well worth it. The comments are also worth dipping into as well.

Don’t throw your mom under the bus on what is a pretty prominent platform. That’s the humour from +Joey Giangola that keeps me coming back to +Fearlessly Questioning. Fearlessly Questioning Not Caring (http://goo.gl/FK66fd) has +Stephanie Sims in the #Fearless chair. Lots of amusing back and forth between the two as well as some thought-provoking discussion. I have to say I fall squarely in the don’t care camp (in the context of the show). I take very little personally, evaluate everything critically and course adjust as necessary. Cracking discussion and sorry Joey, I am that person that spots the typo on page 25 but, hopefully to my credit, I only disclose the same with discretion.

This post from +David Kutcher actually made me get off my virtual a$$ and share to my business page (not done that in a long while). Why? Because it’s exactly the kind of logic-driven approach to developing an online presence that should be the norm rather than the exception. In Focusing on Intent and taking it right to the bank (http://goo.gl/qmeKA1) David outlines the methodology when working with +Michlin Metals to re-tune their online presence. I won’t delay you any longer - get over there, read it, absorb it and apply the thinking to the next iteration of your web presence.

Thinkers corner

Two posts got me thinking about what we might expect from search in the future. The first from +Mike Elgan Who should decide search engine results? Users? Web site owners? Eurocrats? Google's competitors? (http://goo.gl/3AZVzu) looks at the current obsession with Google’s search results in the Old Guard of Europe. Mike does a good job explaining that the results are ultimately driven by the users and to have continued success Google has to continually improve relevance. Serving results based on any other criteria, Google or legislation imposed, will only serve to reduce that relevance defeating Google’s aims. Show some sense Europe and leave the searchers to decide.

Google’s desire to serve the most relevant results is the subject of +David Amerland’s The Mirror Bubble (http://goo.gl/5jgg9S) in which he asks two open questions: Is the need for search to establish immediate value a potential trap? and  _Are the results we are most likely to engage with not also the same as the ones we most want to see?_ I do worry that over time the results will be too much of what we want to see. I relish finding something that challenges my views. If that were to change and the only results being returned were those that aligned with Google’s perception of me would that really be useful? Perhaps that would be the time to elevate the oddball factor in the algorithm!

A late entry! Just spotted this from +Ammon Johns who reminds us that Social Networks (http://goo.gl/tSMuVW) are not an online only thing. #MrCommonSense also reminds us that it is all too easy to favour the warm and fuzzy online environment when there is ample opportunity to be the change in the sometimes not so warm and fuzzy offline environment. I certainly don’t get as involved in my real community as I used to. Do you?

And finally…

With any software product there are going to be those unforeseen glitches every now and again. +Nicholas Cardot shows us how to handle such a situation the right way in An Update, A Glitch, and the Support of the Community (http://goo.gl/7MHq0n). It has to be said that it’s how a business deals with the customer issues that can make or break the ongoing relationship. Nick did the right thing, kept his nerve and issued a fix in short order. Everyone understands that things can, and do, go wrong but more importantly they now know that Nick isn’t the kind of person to let anyone down. That kind of trust is priceless in an age where slapdash customer support is ever more prevalent.


Have a great weekend wherever you are

#WeeklyRoundUp   #WeekInReview   #Google +

#BitingedgeFridayFavourites   #MicksPicks

Created by +Mick Sharpe of +Bitingedge
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