In Google+, one of the main activities we perform is finding people of interest to follow. In this graphic to the left, I started following journalists and news professionals based on a great list that I found at Muck Rack (hat tip +Steve Garfield). This will prove to be great, because I’ll get to learn what they’re doing with Google+, figure out what has their attention, and also, it never hurts to know some reporters and journalists.
But It’s Not Who You Circle
The fact that I’m circling up all these journalists in Google+ doesn’t matter. They may or may not get a notification of the connection (I don’t – I shut off all notifications). They may or may not look and think, Huh. No idea why he’s following me and I don’t know him, so no need to circle him back. Or they might know me, but decide that it’s not who they’ve chosen to circle (maybe they’re only following Silicon Valley tech CEOs, for instance.
I know this, though, even though I point content towards that circle, by sending out posts to ONLY that circle, they’ll go unseen until they circle me back. That’s how Google+ works. It’s not reciprocal. It’s not two way. People won’t see your stuff just because you mention them in it. (There’s no real @mentions like in Twitter that are robust enough just yet. I only see 3 or 4 mentions at any given time in the “notifications” tab on Google+.)
So, what has to happen next is that I have to ‘get on their radar,’ if I hope to be circled by them.
How to Encourage Being Circled
Now, let’s be clear: different people want different things, so there’s no blanket way to convince someone that they should add you to their circles. For instance, just because you and I are both interested in marketing, I’m not as likely to add you to a circle, because I’m already reading hundreds and hundreds of sources of marketing information. I do, however, love comics, and would circle many people involved in the creation of comic books and other related information. Why? Because it’s a personal interest. So, let’s agree that this advice is only a starting point, and that it’s still up to the person whether they choose to circle you or not.
Some Ways to Get Circled By People You Follow
- Comment with meaningful and useful information or ideas. Someone shared a link to a related video to one that I had posted, and I found it useful, so I circled them back.
- Share and add commentary to posts of that person, explaining why you find it interesting. Everyone loves a little boost of promotion.
- Comment with relevant links to your own work, if it makes sense.
- Have a well filled-out profile. The better your profile, the more likely someone is to want to connect with you.
- Post interesting things worth seeing, should this person decide to look at what you’ve shared publicly.
Beyond that, that’s all you can do to hope to get some connectivity with those who you’ve chosen to circle.
Reciprocity Isn’t a Requirement. In Fact, it Can Be Bad
In Twitter, the biggest problem many people created for themselves was they did reciprocal following. I wrote about this here. But that’s tricky, because no one ever wants to feel like they’re not worthy of your time, and by not circling someone back, that’s what it (can) feel like you’re saying.
The problem with this is that to follow everyone back in Google+ recreates the same mess: the Stream (of information being read) is suddenly useless because it’s built on courtesy and not elements of interest, and because Google+ has a kind of “one circle or ALL circles” gate right now, it’s not easy enough to say, “Just put people in a circle.” Furthermore, that would just lead to the “follow you but don’t really read you” problem that exists already in places like Twitter and/or Facebook, for that matter.
So, Engagement Is The Thing
Near as I can tell, the secret of having reciprocal circles comes from those five points above. But I may be wrong. What do you think?