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Twitter and Google+ are too boring

New users on a social network often complain that it’s too boring.  They’ll post a message or two and hope for replies, and then get nothing.  It can certainly be frustrating.

With Twitter and Google+ in particular, the key is to find for other people with similar interests to your own and then interact with them.  Three or four years ago you could simply “follow” those people on Twitter and they’d likely follow you back, but those days are long gone.  Due to the rise of spammers on social networks, you need to show genuine engagement before people are likely to follow you back.

It takes more work now to build a legitimate audience, but the rewards are greater than ever.  With Google’s increasing focus on social signals in the search results (particularly from Google+), a solid social presence can make a big difference in how well your company’s website ranks in Google.

Find people?

So how do you find people with similar interests?  There are a few good ways:


The search feature on Twitter is fairly useful, but the search feature on Google+ is amazing.  You can search for people or topics, sort by those that are already in your circles, sort by geographic location, etc.  It’s quite awesome and I use it a lot to help me find new people.  For example, if I search for Google Earth on Google+, it shows me the official page at the top, other suggested people and pages on the right, and a ton of great content as you scroll down.


Once you find people that had something interesting to say, you need to engage with them.  On Twitter, you can do this with a “mention” — start with their name and then say what you want to say, like “@mickmel That’s a neat idea”.  Here is an example of a reply I recently posted.

On Google+, you can just leave a comment right below their post, similar to Facebook.  It’s really a neat blending of Twitter and Facebook; posts are open to the world like Twitter, but the conversations stay in one place like they do on Facebook.  I’ve actually met some neat folks on Google+ while in the comment sections of another user’s post, which is very unlikely to happen on Twitter because of the scattered nature of the replies.  A neat example was this thread on Google+, where Bron mentioned a great BBQ restaurant, and then Brad and I used the comment section to plan to meet for lunch — and it was delicious!

In either case, if you’re contributing useful content to these conversations, you’ll quickly gain followers.

Shared Circles/Lists

Twitter has a feature called “lists” where you can group users together and share that list with others.  This can be a great way to find groups of people around a particular topic, though the list feature isn’t used nearly often enough.  For example, here is my “geo” list of people that work extensively with Google Earth, Google Maps, etc.

Google+ has a similar feature called “shared circles”, where you can take a circle that you’ve curated and share it with the world.  If you simply search for “shared a circle with you” you’ll find hundreds of them.  As an example, here is my geo circle that I shared last year.

Just do it

If you look at the most followed users on any service (aside from celebrities), they’re almost always the ones that interact the most.  Google+ doesn’t provide statistics for it, but I’ve undoubtedly left thousands of comments on other users posts and I interact and help out as often as possible.  As a result, I’ve developed a nice size group of followers and I’m continuing to build it.

On Twitter, Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) is a great example.  He’s tweeted more than 85,000 times, and nearly 80% of those tweets have been interactions with other users.  He doesn’t worry about who the “power users” are or who deserves a reply more than others — he just gets it done.

On either network I encourage you to get out there, use the search feature, and start meeting new people today!

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

View Mickey's Profile

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