Do you want to find and connect with influencers?
Google+ offers important networking opportunities that set the stage for future partnerships.
In this article I'll share five ways to cultivate Google+ relationships.
#1: Identify Industry Influencers Fast
I truly love to use NOD3x with my Google+ account. NOD3x is Ripples on steroids with a magnifying glass. It brings you right to the doorstep of people you want to meet.
We're all looking to build connections with the right people. To show you how NOD3x simplifies that task, go to the site and type in the phrase “relationship marketing” and within five seconds the tool lists all of the influencers posting about that phrase.
Just like that, you have new people to check out and add to circles so you can follow them and start the relationship process.
This video gives you a better feel for the Nod3x dashboard and how easy it is to find like-minded people and influencers.
Just remember: No tool is a substitute for you. A tool can't be kind and friendly to people, and it can't establish your credibility. Your personal touch is a must.
#2: Find Hidden Engagement Opportunities
Google+ is an ideal place for producing and promoting content. As people begin engaging with that content, keep track of them in a new circle called New Engagers.
While that new circle helps you keep up with the people who interacted obviously with your content (e.g., you can see they left a comment or mentioned you in a share), there may be other people and interactions you can't see. Google Ripples helps you find those interactions.
For example, when readers share or reshare your content, they don't always plus mention you (+username—it's like tagging), so you won't necessarily know they've shared your content. By using Google Ripples, you can see those interactions and include those people in your New Engagers circle.
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In the image above, none of the people with the arrows pointing at them plus mentioned my name. Without Google Ripples I may have missed an opportunity to connect with them.
#3: Validate Expertise With Helpful Tips
Relationship marketing should be your top priority on Google+. Do what you can to help others succeed.
Promotion of anything—even self-promotion—is an ongoing task. Constant and blatant self-promotion, though, is a bad idea. Be subtler than that and come up with a commenting strategy to engage with other people's Google+ posts.
That means diving head-first into engagement on other people’s updates. Find posts from different people in your target market and converse with them. Answer questions, offer advice or just keep things moving with thoughtful questions.
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When others see how friendly and helpful you are, it draws them to you—cementing you as a resource.
#4: Engage Like-Minded People
It's easiest to start building your relationships with people you already know, but not in the way you may think. Look at your current friends and followers and see whom they're connected with. Those friend-of-a-friend connections are very likely to be relevant to you—you already have something in common (your friend).
To find even more like-minded people, join communities and attend Google hangout events on topics you're interested in. Just about every hangout has great conversations going on, so join in and make some connections. When the event is over, vet the people you really liked and put them in a new circle called HOA.
#5: Focus on Visibility to Connect
If you're waiting for someone in particular to notice you, you may be waiting for a while. Not because the person doesn't like you or doesn't think you'd be a great asset to their business, but because they don't know about you. You haven't made yourself visible to them.
You can fix that, but there's a right way and a wrong way. The mistake some people make is not taking the time to cultivate a relationship before they start asking for something. First contact has to be handled more delicately than that.
Listen to the people you want to connect with. Help them become familiar with you by consistently giving +1s, resharing their content (don't forget to plus mention them!) and being active in their comment section.
When you've established visibility, there are a few ways you can connect with the influencer: a private message, a chat message or a private hangout (and there are pros and cons to each).
My favorite option is a private message because it's easy—the other person gets an alert and clicks through to your message. However, if your target is an influencer, understand that he or she may be overloaded with notifications and can't acknowledge every message.
A real-time conversation via chat is always a great way to communicate with active Google+ members. But some people may be very busy and can't talk because they're in the middle of something. Don't be offended if they don't answer.
Hangouts are a very useful tool when you want to talk with someone for the first time. Facial expressions and tone of voice have a lot of influence on how we converse with others. When you have a text-only conversation, nuances are lost. Sometimes what you say in text is misconstrued—especially if the person doesn't know you or your humor yet. A face-to-face meeting with someone can fix that problem and most people are willing to meet with you this way.
Building relationships with a Google+ network takes time. You have to be truly invested in your followers and the people you look up to. Transform your thinking from “It's all about me” to “It's all about them.”
Offer help or advice to the people around you. Relationship marketing isn't about your agenda or endgame; it's about finding out what someone else's agenda is, and helping them meet their goals.
This week, reach out and talk to a new person on Google+ every day. Don't just hang out in the comment stream with them; use one of the options above. Introduce yourself and start asking them questions about themselves. I'm confident you'll build some important relationships this week!
What do you think? What Google+ tips do you have to share? How do you connect with people on Google+? How have Ripples or Nod3x helped you? Leave us a comment below.
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