Beyond Good And Evil: How To Use Circle Shares To Get Ahead On Google Plus

Be more relevant, more SEO-relevant and more competitive by establishing and building your presence on Google Plus this year.

An increasingly popular way to grow one’s presence on Google Plus, in addition to commenting, plus-one-ing, content sharing, and being active in communities, is to create and share circles. To get noticed, users plus-one, comment on and then share circles they find shared on their newsfeeds. They then add themselves to the circle and share it again to their newsfeed, creating a snowball effect as person after person adds the circle, then shares it with themselves included.

It gets up follower numbers with minimum effort.

Good or evil?

Debate has raged over the potentially negative side-effects of such tactics. This indiscriminate approach to circle sharing is spammy. You are inviting anyone to add you, regardless of their connection to you, your interest in them or their value as a contact. Your participation in these random circle shares mean people start adding you to their circles but they speak languages you don’t even recognise. Your circles are growing but your followers are irrelevant, disengaged from your content and potentially annoying (there are lots of cat gif lovers out there).

Here’s a newsflash: Google doesn’t like spam. The social network may be inviting you to share your circles with your followers to increase engagement, but how long will Google allow this spammy, high-volume, indiscriminate networking method to continue? It could be compared to link-building, after all.

The problem? All you care about is numbers. In participating in such arbitrary circle shares in an attempt to get your follower numbers up, you are sacrificing engagement for numbers.

Google wants you to care about the quality of your connections, not the quantity (in the same way that you should care about the quality of the links to your website). Whether this is a permanent feature of Google Plus is not for me to say, but I would hedge my bets that as the platform grows in popularity (as it already is doing), the less ok Google will be with overtly spammy circle shares.

So sharing circles is evil?

Unlike SEO, it’s not as black and white (hat) as that. Circle sharing can be a genuinely useful and valuable way to get to know people, network and grow your following. Numbers aren’t everything but they’re still important: when someone follows you, it lets you know that someone out there cares about the content you produce.

Finding relevant circle shares can be hard. I recently wrote that finding active Google Plus users based in the UK can be challenging (well, actually, I argued that The UK Doesn’t Care About Google Plus). The UK certainly doesn’t seem as enamoured with Google Plus as other nations. For UK business owners looking to network with others in their industry, region or market, this can be frustrating.

But shared circles can be a great way to come into contact and potentially form connections with lots of relevant people all at once. Donna Beckett, for instance, is a good source for engaging, active and interesting UK contacts on Google Plus.

How to treat circle shares

As well as striving to be more selective in the circles you add (no more plus-ing, commenting, adding and sharing for you!) you should take care to engage with these circles after you add them. That is, after all, the point of adding people to your circles: so that you can improve the quality and the number of your connections in Google Plus.

Read their posts, comment on their articles and share their content. Add your opinion and seek out theirs. As you come to build relationships with some (and, inevitably, not with others), you can add them to your existing, relevant circles.

Share your own circles

Take initiative. Did you recently add a circle that you found genuinely interesting and engaging? Share that circle with your followers. If applicable, add yourself; if not – don’t. get out of the habit of just thinking about your follower count. Think instead about your engagement and your followers will come later.

Some ideas for circles you could share:

–       Companies that are hiring in your industry

–       Companies in your local area with a good Google Plus presence

–       Companies working within a particular sector that you think people will find useful

–       Copywriters (who doesn’t need the skills of a good copywriter every now and then?)

–       Anything at all

If you think it’s useful, then share it. The people who you are sharing in the circle will benefit from the increased exposure and credibility accorded them by your recommendation. Perhaps you’re sharing for the benefit of your potential customers, others within your industry, or your followers in general. But make sure you are sharing to increase engagement, not follower numbers.

Connect with UK businesses

If you are looking to improve your presence on Google Plus this year but are unsure how to get started, or even if you’re long in the tooth on the network and are looking for something new, why not join our community, UK Business Circles?

Targeting UK businesses, our community is a place for business owners and enthusiasts to come together, share ideas and have discussions.

In addition to this, we want to see your network grow. Every Friday, we share a #UKBusinessCircle, inviting you to add the circle and share it in your network. Whether organised by region, profession or industry, our circles promise to be relevant and full of active users so you can engage and grow your network in a natural way.

Beneficial for so many reasons, circle shares are a great way to expand your network, get to know more people relevant to you and your business on Google Plus, and even increase your following. But only when done right. Stop spamming your followers with useless circle shares and start engaging with interesting people.

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