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TJ10 – Google+ The Plus & Minus With Chris Brogan

3_TJ-with-James-and-Chris-Brogan-watermarked

 

To mark episode 10 of Traffic Jam,we are joined by New York Time’s best selling author Chris Brogan and the topic in discussion is Google+.

Chris Brogan of ChrisBrogan.com and HumanBusinessWorks.com published his book Google Plus for Business in December 2011 and called Google Plus out as the next big thing. 18 months on we’ll see if Chris’ prediction came true.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Google+ as the next big thing.
  • How Google+ is perceived now.
  • Google+ and SEO.
  • Google+ vs Facebook.
  • The future of Google+ as seen by Chris.
  • Chris’s Home-Base and Outpost Strategy.
  • Top 3 Tips for a great Google+ profile.
  • Cool recent updates on Google+.
  • Audience building strategies for Google+.

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Hello! Welcome once again to the Traffic Jam podcast, a weekly show where I interview the world’s leading traffic experts so you learn how to build and grow a profitable audience for your website. I’m your host James Reynolds and you’re listening in to a mini landmark episode, we’re up to Episode #10 already of Traffic Jam and I’ve got to say I’m chopped to bits at this point, there’s been so many people involved who helped me put this together such as my Mastermind group, my beautiful team who do the illustrations and the transcriptions each week, Paul Thomas for supplying the intro tracks, fantastic guests and of course you, the listener, thank you for getting us to this point. We’ve got plenty more coming up over the coming weeks on starting with this week where we’ve got a fantastic guest to celebrate episode #10.

So who is it that’s joining us on today’s episode? Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author of books like the Impact Equation, Trust Agents, Social Media 101, and Google+ for Business. He is a pretty well-known personality in the social media and business arena and he’s had publications go in to the Success Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, but I’ve got to say most impressive of all, he’s appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and that’s pretty cool! Okay, so hopefully those clues have given you an idea who our guest is today – if it hasn’t, I’ll reveal it now – It’s Chris Brogan from ChrisBrogan.com and HumanLabWorks.com.

And remember to stick around after the interview with Chris because I will be sharing all of the latest and greatest news from the past seven days in traffic as well as the weekly one minute traffic tip.

Now without any further ado, let’s drive straight in to today’s interview with Chris Brogan, where we’re talking all about Google+.

James: Okay so this is Traffic Jam episode 10 and with me hanging out today is Chris Brogan from ChrisBrogan.com, HumanBusinessWorks.com, and writer for Entrepreneur Magazine, Success Magazine, author of the New York Times Best Seller Trust Agent and the book Google+ for Business which I am sure will touch on today, Chris welcome to Traffic Jam.

Chris: James couldn’t be any happier. Thanks for having me.

James: Have you got your teeth in today because I clearly haven’t?

Chris: Oh you know, I’m lucky that way, but it’s early so I don’t want to jinx myself, so I’ll say I have no idea. Let’s see how we do, I don’t want to break things.

James: Let’s see how we roll, cool. Well I just reeled off a whole bunch of accolades for you and I have done a fair bit of time in your business but can you just share for our listener out there a little bit about who you are, what you’ve done and what makes you tick.

Chris: Sure, I mean bios always make me strange because it always makes me sound better than I am. But I’ll say that what I have done is I started in this phase of my business because in the old days I was in telecom, but when I started getting involved in this mess, it came from the events industry, I started a blog back in 1998 and then I started podcasting and then I started an event called PodCamp with Christoper Penn about podcasting and new media type stuff and at that event I met this guy Jeff Pulver who had co-founded Vonage, who’s now running a bunch of events about the future of voice video and the rest of the internet and he hired me on the spot to run an event that he had started Video on the Net and then split me on to another thing as well being a community developer for his new startup he made up like a few days after he and I met called Network 2. So I got in to that mess via that phase. Jeff and I parted ways a year later as the event was a little too early in the disruption cycle, no one believed what we believed yet. And then I went on to another events organization and in the process of it I started a consultancy as part of that company, a marketing consultancy company called New Marketing Labs, all of this to say I started at the gate in regards to all of this organizations, we worked with mostly really large companies on how to use the digital channel better and how to be human on the web. But I don’t know a thing about getting about getting traffic except for that very organic, very friendly ways, I don’t know a thing about SEO believe me I’d rank for the stupidest things in the world but Google broke everything about SEO anyway so no one knows anything about SEO until a few months from now, and so instead what I learned was to build better relationships and marketing and sales and support type of work via digital channels and that’s what I have been helping companies with for a long time, and then most recently I’m teaching courses and things like that and how to master the digital channel no matter the size of the company even if it’s just the company of your bedroom.

James: And of course recently you’ve put out a few books, in fact I just want to check my facts here: On December 2011 when you published the Google+ for Business Book and I think if I’m right in saying, at that time you were quoted by entrepreneur.com and they said that you said Google+ is the next big thing, now I want to ask you the question, 18months on from then, do you see that as still a true statement?

Chris: You know what, I do, but I have to put a little asterisk and it’s the strangest experience I have ever had so far in this digital space which is along comes a perfectly serviceable, very sensible to use platform, and everyone says, huh, I’m kind of bored I don’t think I’ll use it. And the stats are really strange because every time Vic ANDRODA goes on stage, he says bigger and bigger numbers, more than 600 million people using it, so more people than Twitter are using it according to him after the very first year and it took Twitter many years to get the numbers that they are at. They’re saying that even if you skinned that down to how many people are using it daily, it’s about at par with Twitter. This is the number one search engine in the world’s social platform which means that it’s very attentive to the social signals put out in this platform. It would strike me inside and out that this would be the place to be and yet everyone yawns when I talk about it. No one’s like I’m going to rush to Google+ and tell my friends, and the people who are there and who use it get great benefits from it but there’s something holding it back and that’s really going to nerd out and boring everybody that listens to Traffic Jam but they just have not really opened up their API if there’s any third party apps that are of value to the platform and I think that’s killing it. Now, here’s what I really think though, I don’t think it matters what type of social network it is. I think what they should have done is to create a backplane to all of their other services and beyond now and I think there’s going to be a reveal moment, maybe in the next 12 months, and everyone will be like, who cares about the actual Google+ location, it’s gone mobile and it’s embedded everywhere, and I think that’s in to play.

James: And we’ve seen that already right? I mean I am an SEO guy so if it gets kind of bored and off the hook with the stuff that I talk about, that’s why but we’ve already seen that in full trail crossing across SEO of course, search now is very much social based with the whole rel author status and all that sort of stuff, so you can already, I guess see how they’re infiltrating in to everything else that they do.

Chris: I think so, and knowing that you’re SEO, I mean that’s partly right but the fact that I have absolutely no skills in it, I rank for the stupidest things in the world, I rank for things like grow bigger ears and you are doing it wrong, but as I pointed out, Panda and Penguin have screwed up SEO for a lot of reasons, that which was classically known to be the well-known practices are out the window and one of the very true, relevant experiences – I mean look, SEO Moz has just renamed themselves Moz, I mean if there’s no better concept of beating than right even on the wall they say SEO alone is not going to be a good story to tell, and that content and marketing and all that has to be integrated. I can’t find it. To me this one detail of SEO Moz renaming to that, the fact Andy Solomon does not just have search engine guide but it’s doing more marketing watch now. I think the writing’s there that if you’re doing sort of technology to augment your operations and sales, it’s not that you should not you should not do SEO anymore, it’s that you need to expand your thoughts.

James: Yeah, absolutely! It’s a thing that we teach a lot here –not to be single point on any traffic source, and that said, what we tend to do each week here on the show is invite a particularly skilled in one particular area of traffic or indeed audience building. Now your preferred channel that I would like you to talk about is of course Google+. So what is it that you like so much about the platform?

Chris: What I like the most about is that it’s very simple and mercenary. If I post something public to Google+, it impacts the Google search results quickly, and especially if I publish some really useful content and point to that reasonably useful content, then people find it rather quickly and take an action and go to that content. And then should that content also have the option to sell then it benefits me financially. I find that the interface is crisp and clean, I think that hangouts, which Google is recently starting to realize as their secret gem as well is really important. I think that their community platform is way better than Facebook groups and events. It’s just easier to organize, there’s a lot more things that you can get done with it. I think that it looks like it has been made by a bunch of engineers and not by somebody who cares about people. And you know, considering how simplified and simplistic most Google platforms are, it just still feels clunky and bumpy – I look at the blogging platform Medium that’s shown up, and I think that’s just pure elegance and I’m thinking that Google should probably start looking for something more elegant.

James: Yeah, well they seem to be doing more stuff, I mean I’d like to talk to you in a short while about some of the updates that they’ve made recently and one of them has been a complete facelift, but the next topic of conversation which we’ll talk about briefly is about Facebook. Now Facebook is something I update most days, I’m on there pretty much once or twice a day and apparently they’re close to 100 million status updates every day, however when I go to check your Facebook page Chris, the last activity I see was July 2011. For a social media specialist, that’s kind of pretty lame on my book. How come you’re not on Facebook?

Chris: Oh, I am, I’m just not in the one that you checked. I don’t use it for business though, I find that there’s no – I’ve had 0 business benefit in Facebook. There’s lots of people doing traffic but I like to tell people that unless your product is a cute 5 yr. old granddaughter, then it’s probably not going to get you that far because the number one people do when they go to Facebook is look at their family’s pictures, and beyond that, they go there evidently to share some e-cards to each other, but that’s what I’ve noticed, and dumb graphics. So I’ve never even once have some business success with Facebook. Amy Porterfield would be a great guest for that or Marie Smith but anytime I’ve even tried spending some dollars, what I like about their ad platform is that it’s very targeted and it’s meticulous. I’m an 18 year old boy who’s picking his nose, who for some reason continues to believe that he leads a great football team, and I’ll get that and that will be very clear. But it does not seem to translate to us and I just think that there’s a limited subset of businesses that can really benefit from using Facebook and I think that just the average monkey doesn’t get much from it. But to be really honest James, there’s a sort of garbage in garbage out. So I guess if I were trying harder, if I felt somewhere in my heart of hearts that it’s me that is to blame, I could say that you try harder and make some better results out of it.

James: So what’s the one big thing in Google+ that kind of wins it for you over Facebook? Is it kind of that element of Google+ that allows you then to appear on Google search and kind of a wider platform and audience? Is that what it is?

Chris: Yeah, I think that because of that impact on searches it’s so attractive to me that way, secondly it’s very elegant. I think that the lay out, I love the concepts that they have, but if I’m right about social block fame thing, it will probably fade a little bit but this concept of circles to be a little more exclusionary if I want to as a marketer I would never want to do that but I like that we can. I think that the privacy methodology is a lot easier there. I just think that there’s a lot going for it. But the thing is, if you sort of squint and you don’t look at it as a destination but you look at it as a tool that is going to be sprinkled in to other tools, I think that Facebook has that identity pretty much owned right now. When you sign in with Facebook, you sign in with Twitter, and when you sign in with Twitter they tend to sign in with Facebook, I’m not sure why but that’s what we do. And then we tweak it to make sure it’s not sending the update to everyone we know, and then we just forget about that. We just don’t care on a lot of our sign ins on other sites that we use Facebook in that for it. What’s going on with Google+ or what I think will go on with Google+ is sharing of that simplicity will become the norm. we will have a sort of a +1 architecture across all the platforms and you won’t ever think about it anymore much like we don’t think much about signing in anymore. But that’s a way’s out. That’s just sort of me pontificating and futurizing.

James: Cool! But of course you are on Twitter, and we know you’re on Google+, we’ve just been discussing it and of course we have your blog ChrisBrogan.com, how does your strategy differ for each platform?

Chris: Oh, so I have a strategy that I started back in 2006 called the home-based and outpost strategy which is essentially that your primary site should be your home-base. And that the real goal of your site is to get people there and that some form of conversion should take place there. And what I do with the social platforms is they’re outposts, and the way my strategy works is that it used to be I would use my outpost to try and sell things and then I realize that that does not work very well. So what I’ve done is that there is a third element to this now that I call my immediate empire. So the home-base is where I want anything to happen, the media empire is great information that will guide people to the home-base at some point to take an action of many or not, maybe they’ll just read the content and move on, and then the outposts are places where I share access to that media and try to promote people that are consuming that media, because what I’ve come to realize is that no matter what platform you’re on – instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, any of them, we go in there with sort of a browse mode, we don’t go in there looking to spend some money I’ll just check out see what’s on Twitter. But we do go in there and say, oh this has raised my eyebrows to a few degrees, I shall click. Then, when we’re on that place, then there’s some opportunity to be a little more persuasive and make a request of some kind. Remember that sometimes when I say sell I might just mean sell you on the next action where I ask you to sign up for my newsletter or whatever. But I’m trying to leverage your interest on the media I’ve created to take the next action. That’s how I use it; so that’s how they work when it comes to which platform or what, I tell people this all the time – pick the platform that lets you tell the story that you want to tell the world the way you want to tell it. Don’t worry about how many millions of people are here or there; just make sure that you can pick the platform where you can tell the best story.

James: Got it, cool, okay, I know you’ve been on Google+ since the early days, I think you mentioned somewhere that you joined Google+ day2 after the platform was launched. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of Google+ profiles, what top 3 things do you think makes the difference between a good Google+ profile and a great Google+ profile?

Chris: James, I’m really grateful for that question because I think this is really where a lot of people. If they take one thing out of Traffic Jam besides realizing that I don’t know anything, this would be this next piece of information. When you swing by your profile page and you click on the about, I’m sure you take a look at what you look like, and by the way, it’s stunning how few people do this one thing – look at their about. The story part of it that’s in there, you should make sure that it’s really clear for what you do for other people. You should make the introduction what you do for other people. So for instance my tagline right now – today, reads Publisher and Media Company for the personal business revolution. Oh, what’s that? You wonder. Introduction- I run human business works specializing and empowering the business revolution, we publish courses and other media to help you grow. I built writing course, business coaching experiences and much more. For more on that go here. It basically says these are the ways that I can work with you. I’m a speaker, I’m this or whatever, if you want to do this here contact me. Stuff with ways for you to get in touch with me – not too many to overwhelm but just like serving suggestions of what type of business you might take a choice, and don’t. the other thing people don’t do very well is fill out their contact info in such a way and expose enough of it that it’s useful for someone to reach you and then finally just to make it three just like you asked, they go to the links section where you can point people to other things you do and they stuff it full as if general and some kind of army and you need to know like 75 different elements and I think that the best way to consider doing that is maybe make 2 or 3 links and call it a day.

James: Got it, okay, well I’ve noticed some errors of my own there so I better go and sort those out after this interview. I want to ask you about kind of what’s top though with Google+? We said at the top od the show that they’ve been making a lot of updates and changes. What do you think are some of the best things out of it recently?

Chris: Boy, that’s a little tricky, I mean, for one, they’ve sort of Pinterested their lay out, they made their lay out a little bit more like three or four columns or whatever on Pinterest and I think that’s useful to a lot of people. They’ve integrated local in a way that’s useful. I mean it’s so close; small businesses were just a hair smarter about this, they could do a lot more with that. They’ve really married the concept of hashtags in to their work, these little # symbols and then a word which lets you dig deeper in to people sharing information that they think might be useful and I think that’s a really neat feature that it’s a lot more organic to kind of fall down the rabbit hole or something you find interesting. And then I guess finally the hangouts is where they seem to be investing a lot of their time. They’ve caught on that there’s great value and they’re sort of skype like and what they’ve started calling hangout party where it’s hangout on air multiple type of connections and things like that. There’s all these new ways that they’ve language this to say that they’re really trying to make this more of a communication hub as well. I think that they’re after sharing. What also might be true James is that they might be going after to be some sort of a communications platform/center because of the fact that they’ve got hangouts, they’ve got hangouts on air which is like the one to many, they’ve got party which is like a multi person call and they’ve got Google voice don’t forget. You could say that they’re building this little communications system- the fact that they’re so dominant on the Android platform gives you that way too.

James: Well we probably should have done this interview in a hangout and both wore pirate hats and funny moustaches and …

Chris: And that’s the weird part. Don’t you think James? Here they are trying to say we’re this really awesome thing and then they put things like – and the pirate hats are fun except you sort of wonder if someone at some major bank click on a pirate hat, this is the service we should be using.

James: Who knows? But before we close out Chris, I’ve got to talk about audience building because that’s the kind of focus of this show Traffic Jam, what strategies can you recommend to the person listening to this podcast that they can go out and use today to build their Google+ audience?

Chris: so I guess first and foremost I started down on a whole different answer, so the one thing you can do is – I see a lot of people just dumping in things that they find on the internet in there like it’s a dumping service, and if you start curating a little bit more and thinking of yourself as curating information that’s useful to the bio that you are hoping to attract, you are doing a much better job of attracting them. If you just share anything that you think is vaguely interesting, people are not going to know what to get. So that’s my first piece of advice. My second is, start a real strategy. I mean, start thinking, I’m presuming I have a 24/7 audience may I should try putting 4 pieces of content – maybe one every 6 hours roughly. Maybe of those 4 pieces of content leads to something of mine for my own value or sales, because otherwise, another place where people go wrong is that in trying to build traffic, they try to sell all day! That’s like buying a magazine and finding that it’s stuffed with only ads and so that’s not such a great plan. Some of my friends in other spaces find that they can sort of put a few more ads per offer but I just don’t think that it works that well on Google+. Third and finally, continue encouraging people to come to a platform you have the ownership of. This is always this one that I think people do a little strange. For instance, you’ve got this TrafficJamCast.com, you’ve got this really easy, simple email sign up app, you’ve got the get more traffic, come send me a voicemail, you’ve got all this stuff that carry on the conversation that don’t exist on a platform like Google+. So moving the ball from Google+ to you is a great way for them to take those actions as well.

James: Got it, cool, at this point I want you the listener, to go add Chris to your circle by going to ChrisBrogan.com/plus to see exactly what Chris is doing with Google+, but Chris if you were to recommend our customer to go peep over the shoulders of other people or brands doing really good stuff with Google+, who would that be?

Chris: There’s a few that I really like and I would say that first off would be the Kirkland Group, they are a real estate company and so like of all the strange people to pick, this real estate company really excites me because what they’re doing is, they’re just showing lots of interesting things happening in New York and they happen to be selling high end real estate there. Mike Elgan is doing really amazing good stuff in there. He’s produced quite a volume of information and it’s really hitting hard on the people he’s aiming for. I guess if you want to pick a third one, Marsha Collier, she does all kind of interesting technology stuff, she’s an eBay professional and has taught tons of people how to get a lot out of eBay, and by the way, just as a last interesting note about her, she made social media history recently because her boyfriend proposed to her on Vine, the newest little video app – so she’s the first vine proposal online.

James: Well let’s see if we can get a link off to all of those in the show notes as well as that proposal – it would be a nice viewing for our Traffic Jam listeners. Chris, thank you for your time, where can our listeners best find you?

Chris: The easiest way is at ChrisBrogan.com, all roads lead to Rome, so you can find me from there.

James: And I guess the book Google+ for Business is out there on Amazon right?

Chris: Yes, Google+ for Business is out there, you can find it in Amazon and any of your local stores. There’s a real good opportunity that there’s a second edition and it’s what you’d want to look for. There’s a first edition and they were kind enough or mean enough to make me write a second one, and so make sure you grab that one.

James: Awesome Chris! Thanks for your time.

Chris: Awesome! Thank you!

This week’s news in traffic; Google this week launched its new content experiments API, a tool that allows developers to easily test variations of their content to see which performs best. The new API is integrated with Google Analytics so developers can use all of Analytics power to measure their different optimizations. Now in comment, Google says this API makes an A vs. B testing platform where developers of all types can leverage the power of Google Analytics to run their experiments.

A vs. B split testing is not a new thing. There are many services out there such us Vigil website, The Optimizer, and Optimizely, however this API is the first that allows developers to create their own variation logic and use Google Analytics to measure their winners.

Yahoo this week tweaked its search results page to actually make it more Google- like. The design refresh gives better emphasis to pop search results and that clears up the visual clutter in the navigation bar and additional settings side bar. Yahoo also says there are some important improvements in the back end that could result in faster load times and notes that the new navigation bar will spread to the other Yahoo properties soon. The company is also saying that this is just the beginning and this seems to indicate the further changes that search results will be coming out over the next few years. Now if any of these changes will allow them to pull back some market share from the dominant Google that remains to be seen.

The well-known website SEO Moz this week transformed itself in to a new brand, moving its products, company name and all of its efforts from SEO Moz to the new name Moz. In the statement, Moz said calling ourselves SEOMoz is no longer transparent and authentic, citing the fact that they teach much more than just search engine optimization. In addition to the name change, the site has also gotten a facelift and well worth checking out. Personally, I don’t really care, SEO Moz or Moz I’ll continue to be a fan, they are one of the few sites that continue to teach good, quality SEO practice, well, other than my own site, SEOSherpa.com of course!

So as we reach episode#10 of Traffic Jam, I’d like to get your feedback of the show so far. What should I start doing on the show? What should I stop doing on the show? What aspects of traffic would you like to know more about? Also, who do you like me to interview on future episodes? These are all questions that I’d like to get your response on. So please head on over to TrafficJamCast.com, leave me a comment, leave me a voicemail, or sign in to iTunes and leave the show a review. The comments I get from you will help me plan the next episode and to make this an even better show.

The One Minute Traffic Tip; well I’ve got a little SEO tip for you this week and it’s a real simple one. Give some thought to your Meta data. That’s it! Simply that, give some thought to your Meta data. Well, first we must give some thought what the hell is Mata data. Well, it’s the page title and description of your website that shows up in the search results when your website is listed. Too few people give some thought to this few lines of text and it can mean the difference between your results getting clicked on and your competitors’. So make your Meta data compelling like a well written display advert. Include your USP, include your call to action and tie your Google+ profile to your website so that your picture also shows up in the results next to your listing. Do this and your results will literally jump out of the page and with it, your traffic will jump too!

That rounds up episode #10 of Traffic Jam, I’ll be back again next week with an episode devoted to YouTube traffic. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, log in to iTunes and leave me a review, and you may just land a spot in next week’s episode.

We end today’s episode with a bit of a sing along tune, a stand out track from Mark Ronson’s 2007 album Version. Here we have it, Mark Ronson, featuring Amy Winehouse – Valerie.

RESOURCES

MENTIONS

THIS WEEKS NEWS IN TRAFFIC

  • Google’s content experiment API
  • Yahoo search results page design refresh
  • SEOMoz is now Moz.com

ONE MINUTE TRAFFIC TIP

  • Optimising you meta data for optimised search results

THE TRAFFIC JAM

  • Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie

Enjoy the episode? I’d LOVE to hear from you. Please post your comment below.

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