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How not to use Google+

See also: How not to use Twitter / How not to use LinkedIn /
How not to do content marketing / How not to use Facebook

Write it off as a joke
We’ve all heard the ghost town jokes. And we’re aware that Google has, thus far, failed to get its head around the finer points of delivering a social service that the world naturally wants to adopt. But there is so much riding on the social web that anyone that believes Google will allow its social platform to go the way of Buzz and Wave are, simply, wrong. And it’s worth adopting G+, if only for that reason.

Ignore its unique features
Google+ offers a series of functionality that does not exist on other platforms. Chief among them is the way it delivers tangible social search. Aside from the ‘+1’ recommendations logged in users see on their SERPs, the real benefit for content-producing brands is the ‘rel=author’ tagging. Simply put, implementing ‘rel=author’ will significantly improve your search performance, and you should do it now.

Don’t make circles
The laziest marketers tend to view social media as a broadcast channel. Their feeds are full of self-promotional links and, they generally garner relatively little from social, and question its relevance as a result. If you’re keen to avoid becoming part of this group, you have to engage. And on G+ engaging involves setting aside a bit of time and building your circles. Circles can seem like a hassle at first but they are the key to engagement, and even offer useful segmentation options.

Fear the unknown
Though many commentators actually believe Google+ is superior to its more successful rivals in terms of both functionality and design – it certainly lacks the clumsiness of an exploration of Facebook – many marketers are scared of embracing the unknown. Change can be hard to deal with, especially when you have limited hours in the working day, but putting in a little effort to really understand what’s on offer with G+ could well earn dividends in the long run.

Expect overnight success
Several of the points above, I’m excepting the rel=author one here, are occasionally met with cries of ‘but I still don’t believe it’s worth it’ from naysayers. Google+ is not an overnight solution to your social ROI struggles, and it will mean a bit more time spent ‘doing social’. But its adoption is very likely to deliver in the long run, and ignoring it for any of the reasons cited here is not a risk I’d be happy to take with my brand’s fortunes.

Let me know your experiences of Google+, and if I've missed anything of this list...

See also: How not to use Twitter / How not to use LinkedIn /
How not to do content marketing How not to use Facebook