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This guest post is by Matthew Weber of T3kd.com.

When I first started blogging in early 2010, I was relatively new to social media. I had been a member of Facebook since 2004, but I was not using it to promote myself or my content: I was using to stalk old girlfriends. When I finally joined Twitter in 2009, I was unsure what the purpose of it was. Sure, I used Twitter. I followed some feeds, some interesting famous people, and I had a few followers—most of them very special bots.

But once I started blogging in January 2010, I came to the realization that I was using Twitter in completely the wrong way if I wanted people to actually engage with me, and through me, my content.

Social networks

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I realized that I couldn’t just tweet out something and expect people to see it. In order for people to see my content, they would have to have a connection with me, and they would need to remember me.

I tried different ways of doing this. I tweeted more, and I started to retweet others’ content. But this was still not enough. In the end I realized that the only way for other people to have a personal stake in “Matt”, would be to have them feel like we had a relationship beyond just me spewing a lot of content at them on Twitter. I realized that if I wanted the true Twitter experience, I would have to jump in and participate and engage with other people.

I found that once I stopped treating it as a place just for sharing, and started participating and conversing with other people, not only was Twitter much more entertaining, but also the people with whom I interacted started paying more attention to my content.

Google+ is the same

Amazingly, I’m currently making the same mistake with Google+. I seem to use it only as my own personal soapbox. I spew content, and no one pays attention. I know this problem all too well, seeing as I’ve made these mistakes before.

From everything I have heard, read, and been told, Google+ is an amazing place in which to get people to talk and interact with content. I have not seen this. Originally I just thought that this was because Google+ was no good. Then I thought that it might be because Google+ is so new, and there might not be a big enough audience for my content.

Then I realized that, as usual, this wasn’t the fault of Google+. It was, of course, operator error. I wasn’t using it properly.

It’s all about interactivity

In order for people to interact and consume your content, you have to give them a reason to do so.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Matt, isn’t interesting and original content enough?” No, no it’s not. I know that original and interesting content is very important. But that is not what social media is all about. Your content is not even really in play when it comes to social media.

On social media sites people are not interacting with your content, at least not yet. They are interacting with you. When I share a link on Google+, people will interact with it if they have a reason to.

The biggest reason I can give them to click on that link is to make them think that they are a part of my story. If they think that there is a social relationship between us, then they are much more likely to think that my content is important. Originality and interest only come into play once they click that link.

So how do you become interactive on Google+—or any other social media site? You have to talk to people. I know that sounds almost stupidly simple, but it’s true. When they share something, strike up a conversation with them about it. Ask them questions, and share something related. There are innumerable ways to do it, but in the end it comes down to being social.

Once you have the interactivity down with one person, you will find that they are much more likely to reciprocate that interactivity back towards you and your content.

It’s your opportunity: don’t waste it

It is this statement that I have to remember. This is exactly where I was at the beginning with Twitter, and I again need to make sure that I squeeze Google+ for all it’s worth. Google+ represents a unique opportunity not only for me to spread my content out through interactivity, but also for me to gain useful connections to others. Even more than Twitter, Google+ gives me the opportunity to garner great conversations surrounding my content. I need to start using it properly, before I miss the opportunity.

When thinking about social media, we have to remember that it is not about us. We can’t be selfish, we have to be social. Being social, whether it is on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook, means to have a two-way interaction between people. A relationship that is only one way will not last long, if it takes off at all.

Just like your personal, real-life relationships, in order to flourish, an online relationship must be cultivated and fed with communication and good times. That interactivity will make it so the people you share your content with will remember you and be interested in the things you share. So go forth and be social, my friends!

Matt is the Founder of Blogs Media Network, a collection of blog sites covering assorted content. His main site, T3kd.com, is a site dedicated to covering technology news, and providing tech analysis. You can circle him on Google+ here.

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Comments

  1. I also find it hard to get visitors to read my blog from Twitter and Google+ due to lack of interaction with all my followers there. Thanks for sharing your experience. I will try to interact with all my followers. :)

    • Early on though, you should be focused on building your list over your followers on social networks.

      • Kalen Smith says:

        This sounds like it’s probably good advice Gregory, but I am not quite getting what you mean. Are you saying that you should be careful who you choose over social networks and build a list of them or are you saying that you should focus on lists for email marketing over building a social networking campaign?

    • Raj Mehta says:

      Yeh we must interact with our followers,

      Nice article, thanks for sharing with us

      :)

      • Jade Sitjar says:

        Yep. Good and Unique content is still really the key factor in attracting readers. After that, the interaction will follow naturally.

  2. Great post. Many people are sharing a lot of content on Google+ and other social media sites, but they don’t know how to connect and how to stand out from the crowd.

    This post made ​​me think about my own approach to social media sites.

  3. Fahad says:

    You are very right. There is no doubt that Google+ has given birth to new opportunities and horizons. If someone asks my personal opinion, I am very confident in saying that Google is the real king of internet and beating Google is almost impossible.

  4. Mimi says:

    This post was really helpful, and kind of gave me a kick in the pants. I’ve been doing exactly what you’d been doing withTwitter. I’m a bit more likely to interact on Facebook. However, Google+ is new and sometimes I feel as if my Boomer brain is techno-filled and I just can’t absorb one more new thing.

    • I find that when I need a kick in the pants, ProBlogger is a great place to come. This blog always makes me feel guilty about not trying harder.

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Fred Tracy says:

    Nice!

    This is so true, yet so many of us skip over it. I’m also guilty of just sharing lots of content and tweets, but not really interacting with people too much. I’ll definitely have to be more social.

    I found that once I started read tweeting and using @replies on Twitter, the links people clicked through to get to my website skyrocketed.

    • I have actually just stopped tweeting out as much as I used to. I used to use Twitterfeed to auto tweet some content from sites like ProBlogger. I found however, that if I actually started to tweet (and Google+) articles that I actually read and had an opinion on it made for much more engagement.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. clea says:

    I think because google + is new, many of us aren’t sure how it all works yet, and aren’t absolutely dying to learn a whole new program, but it does seem rather easy, so will investigate it further..thanks for your ideas…I really don’t comment on things enough, your article did inspire me to do just that! Thanks, and happy blogging…lot’s of love, clea

  7. Eric Murphy says:

    Great post. I love google+

  8. Ted Jee says:

    With so many things going on, we tend to fall back on what is easy which in this case is making content and trying to push it out to different places using semi automatic tools like ping.fm for example, but we forget the fundamental behind all business transactions – trust. People do things with people they trust and people spread things that they trust, so the same should go for stuff like google + as well. All these channels and any future new channels are all tools to allow us to connect with potential prospects, nothing more than that.

    Great post for reinforcing what is basic and what is needed for real growth.

    • I think you’re right, people do what’s easy. Sometimes making sure you are engaged as much as you should be is really hard. It is the time that it takes that really gets me. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it.

  9. I have experienced the same thing Matt. I used to be a 1 way tweeter, and had no following…until I began being a 2 way tweeter. Same deal with plus. Since I spend the majority of my time commenting, tweeting and FBing, Plus had merely been a sending station until last week. I intended to engage a bit more, and now I am receiving more interest and Plus’es.

    Sow. Reap. Simple rule which works well on all social networks.

    Ryan

  10. Steve Scott says:

    Very true. It is ironic. The less that you do that relates to YOU personally, the more people respond and the better your results are. This is true not just on twitter and g+ but on just about every social media platform!

  11. Mike Poynton says:

    Great post, Matthew. I’ve been slowly growing my circles by just being myself. Which means one day I’m all business, the next dreamy, the next goofy, the next pensive, etc. It doesn’t always have to be about business. But then, that’s what circles are for. Regardless, I enjoy seeing the “real” side of people no matter what they do for a living, and I tend to use g+ that way myself. It’s a lot more fun!!

    • Do you find circles useful? I find myself putting everyone in one big circle. Maybe I am missing out on another aspect of Google+

  12. Jim says:

    Well thought out article. That is the work. Actually finding the people and touching them personally, feeling their pulse and showing them that we care and have something of value to them.

  13. Paul says:

    Great article. The problem I find with Twitter is that it’s possibly too easy to share content, so people end up sharing every site they go on and it gets a bit spammy.

    The best thing I’ve found about Google+ is that you can’t update it yet from outside Google+ so you can’t have spam bots. Also that extra step to pick a circle before you share things seems to make it less spammy, which therefore makes it a more engaging networking.

  14. Daniel says:

    I read recently through the MSM that Google + had bombed out, or was bombing out.

    The article was almost referring to Google + in the past tense.

    As much as social media is important for a site, there comes a point where spending too much time doing this would become a waste of time.

  15. Yea, one of the other bad habits of some bloggers is NOT replying to the comments and especially when it is a guest article. That particular interaction is very much required since most of the comments will be addressed to the author and not the blog owner.

  16. Mark Aylward says:

    Matt
    I appreciate your confession about having “done it again”. I do it too and have to figure out a way to allocate the time required to interact as opposed to preach. I think I provide great content, but without the two way interaction, you can’t engage people. I’m just watching Google+ right now and trying to figure out Facebook first
    Thanks
    Mark

  17. I came to the same conclusion as you Matt. The interaction helps for sure but I still don’t spend more than 10 minutes a day on social media.

  18. I gave a seminar on this subject today. Google+ is certainly getting a lot of attention right now. People are starting to get very curious and want to figure it out.

  19. I used to argue with people who said that social media was self-absorbed and self-indulgent. I can’t do that with a straight face, anymore. But fortunately, there are a lot of people, as evidenced by this post, who are willing to try to change that. So much potential there, but if we’re all just broadcasting and not having a conversation – well, the downside is that we can ALL just broadcast if we want to. Even TV offers more than THAT. But if we really reach out, interact, there are rewards.

  20. Tom Parker says:

    Great post Matt. I’m also a very late adopter of social media. In fact I only set up my Google +, Facebook Fan Page and Twitter this week.

    I’ve been posting to my Facebook and Twitter fairly regularly. I’m mainly using the Facebook fan page to provide fans with interesting articles and videos from other websites as well as promote my own blog posts. I’m using Twitter more for just general updates, conversations and fun quotes. Still very early days yet but hopefully I’m using them both in the right ways.

    My Google + page is a totally different story. I set it up, added a couple of people, then tried to figure it out but I was stumped. I haven’t posted 1 single thing yet.

    However, just found a great article on getting started through Mike Poynton’s Google +1 page so I’m going to give it another go :-).

  21. Faizan says:

    This is a really cool post with nice tips. Your past experience with twitter is actually my current predicament. I will keep these tips in mind in the future. Thanks !

  22. john says:

    Google is unbeatable and it is the king in internet. It shows great opportunities to everybody in the world.

  23. Thanks Man….

    i was thinking that I have 400+ friends on Twitter but nobody was coming to my blog from twitter.
    You have explained my mistake very carefully.
    I’ll start golloing it from today onwards…
    Thank

  24. Ben Norman says:

    Good information, Google+ is definitely a great platform for sharing, one I feel I need to invest more time in. With Twitter I always find it is better for networking and connecting like you said. I generally ignore Tweets from people who just link to their own content all the time.

  25. yodz says:

    I am now trying out Google+ and I find it amazing how it can direct traffic to my blog. The “circle” concept definitely can funnel out interests specific to the links I’m sharing.
    But I learned that interacting with other Google+ users is a prerogative to get more out of Google+
    I’m sure there’s lot more coming up at G+

  26. James Greg says:

    Google bring about a lot of changes and keeps a competition for all site builders and keeps the users engaged. No doubt Google is ruling the internet. With such innovative ideas the Google team comes up with they will be the only thing on the internet. Google+ has covered all these insecurities people complained about in Facebook and now it has created new challenges and new opportunities for getting more traffic and getting more popular.

  27. naijadotcom says:

    Never thought of Goggle as a platform for sharing and talking about interacting with followers thats absolutely importanat.

  28. Thanks for this post. Yes, it makes perfect sense, and it is definitely what my personal experience on Twitter has been: remembering these are “social” media, and that broadcasting and autotweeting are not “social.”

    I’ve invested a lot of time into Twitter, and it’s worked really well for me, on numerous levels. I’ve signed up for G+ – but I just cannot see how I could justify investing the time into it, as well, developing relationships like I have on Twitter. I agree that that is the approach one needs to take to do it well… but still, all of those interactions end up taking a LOT of time….

    • Google+ definitely takes more time than Twitter. The responses and interactions are much longer. You have to be committed if you want to dedicate yourself to G+

  29. Janet Huey says:

    As an older person trying to keep up, it was a big help that your article wasn’t written in “waytootechie”!.
    You have given me new incentive and your comment “When I need a kick in the pants I go to ProBlogger”
    was brilliant. I see a whole guest post out of that comment!

  30. I hate that you are right. But I know that you are. blog comments, twitter play, facebook interaction. So much!!!!

  31. I found that I tried to ask questions and interact on twitter but people were too busy listening to themselves. It got very discouraging since I could not figure out why they wanted to follow me if they didn’t want to talk to me. I spend more time on my fan page since more people reply.

    As for twitter, I still post and reply to all my “@” mentions but sometimes I think twitter is just a bunch of noise and no one is listening. Just my 2 cents. If anyone hear would like to talk to me on twitter, follow me. I love to interact :)

    • I think that you have to be careful of who you try to have conversation with. If you follow the little people, they are much more likely to interact with you. Trying to interact with celebrity or people who have loads and loads of followers, is like talking to a wall. You also should make sure they are active on social media. If they are they are likely to interact with you.

  32. Matt,
    Very nice article and you have pointed few interesting things.

    From my view, to get people attention first you need tremendous patience, energy and consistency towards your goals. Sometime, even passing valuable comments at others blogs doesn’t haul traffic to your site, Since the mass from those roots should feel your site and postings make sense and worth to continue. Your consistency at posting, Article quality and Industry expertise, niche comments at other posts all does matter In generally It’s a stream and long journey.

    Like Good and bad movie comparison. 007 not all movies did not perform well at box office. Reason is simple. Subject! Though same worldwide release and market. Social Media, Ads, Campaigns all are just additional fuel for blogs.

    One key element I consider. Just don;t follow the roots. Try to be inventive and seed for better attention.

    Thanks for sharing the post Matt.

  33. Thank you Matt for this post. I have the same problem. I know that I need to have more conversations with people on twitter. It’s difficult for me, I come from the old school where you didn’t tell much about yourself until you knew someone enough to be able to trust them. I’m going to try harder. I can really see the benefit.

  34. Shil@HP says:

    I know I should get more out of Google+ and other social media, but it just doesn’t come naturally to me. It is tough for me to make a sustained effort at getting the most out of these mediums. The fact that I am inherently an introvert who doesn’t like to share much about myself in the public domain doesn’t help. I guess though that I need to somehow get over these hurdles. The benefit is apparent, but I will have to try to motivate myself more into getting more social. Thanks, Matt, for sharing this post – perhaps, it is the reminder I need to look at Google+ seriously and also other social media!!

  35. Yeah, Interactivity is the key behind success in social networking website..Thanks fort the article..

  36. Eric Murphy says:

    I just love Google+. Its circle thing is just great. it has Google’s simplicity which is the best thing.

  37. Nate Holland says:

    Very good post, Matt. You hit the nail on the head. I started out the exact same way and got nowhere fast until I figured out the “social” part. It’s a mistake that probably most people make. And thanks for the reminder to get involved on Google+!

  38. kpnd says:

    Like all networking, ‘social’ is the hidden keyword that one must care for. Not only that it has to be two-way, it builds on trust. Just mutual back-scratching that we find on numerous blogs and Facebook accounts does no good towards sustainable relationship.
    I agree with those who talk of Facebook’s dominance over Google+ as of now. Well, before we give a judgement on that, we might find a new [and a new type of] platform. But that does not matter.

  39. I’m guilty of not being personal enough on Google +, like LinkedIn, I’ll give it a few hours of my time in one day, and then forget about it for a week or two, I haven’t worked them into my rotation like Twitter and Facebook, but I’m getting there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Matt.

  40. Doug says:

    I agree that just being social will go a long way but more often than not, I don’t have anything useful to say to some of the posts from the people in my circles.