Yesterday I posted a thread over on my G+ ( which is here by the way http://gplus.to/jdebordphoto ) about how G+ has literally become my photography home. Colby Brown (who wrote the incredible article "Google+: The Survival Guide for a Photographers Paradise" http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/blog/google-the-survival-guide-for-a-photographers-paradise/ ) chimed in with a comment which made me stop and think. He said in this thread here https://plus.google.com/103586615087663445665/posts/NvKbbMUBLMa was;
"What it comes down to is quality interactions. That is one of the reasons that stagnent magazine ads are dying. Peoples attention span is way to short and the cost is way to high. When you look at FB or Twitter, we all may get a decent amount of people commenting on our photo posts, blog posts or marketing ploys...the amount and type of interaction, atleast in my experience, is far worse outside of G+. I will take 10 real conversations from a post on G+ then 300 people "Liking" a post of FB. This of course also depends on our business models. For me, putting people in workshops is my main source of revenue, with contract work a close second and print sales a distant 3rd. I make a very good living, but mostly because I am so active in engaging with people, both locally, on the job and in social media. That has helped build my brand and create a desire to take a part of some of the educational services I offer.
Those that I see struggling with G+ are the ones that try to treat it like Twitter or FB. I also so alot of us "pros" going about social marketing in the COMPLETELY wrong way (just my opinion). No one wants a sales pitch or to only see posts of a workshop you are teaching, a webinar you are offering or an ebook you are selling (and others). I look at some of the big names in the industry, posting direct sales pitches and wondering why they get 5 +1s and 3 comments. There is an art to marketing and it starts with engaging people at a personal level :) "
So I thought that I would take a few minutes this morning and sort of expand some on that and run with it. Colby is certainly right, that many do struggle with G+ and see it as a sort of facebook, when in fact it is anything BUT facebook. I see quite a few people saying something along the lines of "no one comments on my images, no one sees my work". Do you want to know why that is? The answer is quite simple; IT IS NOT ABOUT YOUR WORK.
See, people treat G+ like it is any other other social site, facebook, twitter, flickr....that whole deal, but where the power of G+ lies is in the conversation itself. Be engaged and enter in to dialogue with your fellow photographers. each and every day I see photographers posting topics for discussion, how many of you are entering in to that "coffee shop atmosphere" and engaging with like minded people? It is that very train of thought which I have likened G+ to, a coffee shop with beautiful and stunning photography hanging on the walls.
So let's get on with it and how you can make G+ absolutely beam for you as a photographer!
*You ARE your content!--- Literally, you are your content. The first thing to be mindful of is if you are there to interact with your fellow photographers (which I suspect you are or you wouldn't be currently reading this) post stuff which is relevant. Leave the facebook junk on facebook and post stuff that will have your fellow photographers intrigued, curious and interested. No one likes a spammer, and posting animated gifs and endless youtube videos of music is a sure fire bet that you just shot yourself in the head and committed G+ suicide. You will drop off peoples circles faster than you can say "terminal velocity". Don't do it, leave that junk to that "other" site. Post content in to your circles which is relative.
*Easy does it!--- As a rule of thumb, don't upload more than maybe one shot a day, that is unless you are just starting out and getting your galleries going on G+ (that is a different story entirely) remember, it isn't so much about the images you post, but rather the relationships that you make and the conversation which you carry. Keep that train of thought and you will find that you suddenly have your G+ experience hitting the level of awesome.
*Ask questions--- Yes, you read right. Ask questions. G+ is a different world than most every other site and people love to help others, especially with questions when it comes to photography. No question is to big or to small, and G+ is made up of many professional and seasoned amateurs who can help on short notice. If you are having a hard time understanding how exposure works, ask away. If you are wondering about a lens, ask away. If you are wondering what you should charge for something, ask away. Everyone is ready to help!
*Be yourself--- Be you. Treat others how you would in real life, as example. I haven't especially come upon any trolls since my first week of joining G+ and came upon some guy who wasn't to fond of one well known photographer and posted saying as much. He disappeared after being berated for being unprofessional. This may be the internet, but G+ is where the adults in the room tend to hang out. It is the place where friendships happen and education is a daily occurrence.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to make G+ work for you as a photographer. The key to it all is the conversation and I think everyone should remember that, along with posting content that is relative. I don't think that G+ would work if you are the shy type and just like to lurk, you have to be proactive on here and that is pretty easy to do. Look around and read updates, join lists such as those on http://www.group.as/ and there are a TON for photographers, from landscape shooters to critique circles.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained....now go get it done! The best awaits for you!