Social Media for Photographers: Google+

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When it comes to being a photographer, there is no shortage of online networks waiting for you to share your images, interact with others and potentially grow your business. This article is part of a larger series of posts aimed at providing information and awareness for individuals looking to leverage social media and social networks in pursuit of their passion for photography. Titled, “Social Media for Photographers“, the series started as a broad overview that focused on defining many of the options a photographer has to choose from. From there it broke down into focused posts on each network. While this specific post is focused on Google+, I have published editions that focus on Facebook and Stipple, with Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to follow.

For a much more in depth look at Google+ specifically, check out my latest book, “Google+ for Photographers” which can be found at all major book retailers (e-book version available as well). With that in mind, lets get started…

What is Google+?

Much like other online networks, Google+ is a platform that allows you to connect and interact with other individuals from around the world while publishing and or sharing digital content. However, unlike Facebook where the vast majority of users are on the network to connect with friends, family and co-workers, Google+ is all about connecting with people that share your passions and interests…rather then people you might know in real life. But to truly understand what Google+ is, you have to first understand what it is not. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, G+ is NOT just another social network…atleast according to Google. Let me explain…

An ad run by Google on the Google home page

Welcome to Google+

In doing research for my book, Google+ for Photographers, I held countless meetings with Google employees (individuals ranged from VP of Product Management to the head of the Google Photos Team) and the consistent message woven throughout our talks was that Google’s vision for G+ was much greater then just creating yet another social network. Instead they envision Google+ to ultimately be the social glue that ties the entire Internet together. Sound far fetched? It actually isn’t. Lets look at the user numbers of the various products that make up Google

  • Google+ – 400 million (100 million active every month) (September 2012 SOURCE)
  • Google Search – 65.02% of ALL search online (May 2012 - SOURCE)
  • Gmail – 425 million users (June 2012 – SOURCE)
  • Google Apps – 5 million businesses, organizations and government agencies (June 2012 – SOURCE)
  • YouTube – 800 million unique visitors a month – 120 billion videos watched a month (August 2012 – SOURCE)
  • Android – 1 million+ android devices activated every day (June 2012 – SOURCE)

While Facebook is touting an astonishing 1 billion active users in its network (Sept 2012), there is one thing to keep in mind. Facebook is a closed network. By that I mean that all of the information, content and interactions are kept inside Facebook. This means that your absolute maximum reach on Facebook is limited to the network itself. Google on the other hand is all about publicly indexing that content so that it is searchable on the Internet. This is an important distinction between the two networks. After looking at the above numbers and realizing that Google plans to integrate G+ into all of its products, the reality of Google+ being the glue to connect the Internet together becomes much more reasonable.

Features of the Network

Circles

Google+ Circles are the very fabric for connecting with other users on the network. Unlike a “Facebook Friend” that forces both parties to maintain an equal relationship, a Circle works more like a one way street. By adding you to my circles, I am saying that I am interested in what you have to say. However by doing this, you will not see anything I publish, until you add me back. This gives all G+ users much more control over how they make connections.

Five of my most access Circles on G+

Circles also give you the ability to send content only to certain groups of people. For example, I can send a post out that is only visible to my past workshop clients, my family members or a small group of colleagues by simply selecting the appropriate Circle when I go to publish my post. If I want to make my post visible to anyone, I just select my “Public” circle and send it out.

I can share a post to the public or just to a specific Circle of individuals

Circles also double as content filters, allowing you to filter down the content you view in your main stream to that that comes from those in a specified circle. For example, if I want to just see what my “Colorado Photographers” circle has been sharing, I can simply choose that circle from the top of my main stream. While this feature might not be of use if you are only connected to 50 other people, 5000 users is much different. Using the Circle filters allows you to have a better control of keeping the content coming at you from becoming overwhelming.

Hangouts

A Google+ Hangout is a video conference for up to 10 people in total (including yourself) that can be from anywhere in the world. While in a Hangout you can share your screen, collaborate on a document or spreadsheet or even watch YouTube movies together as a group. No where else on the Internet do you have the ability to connect with people on this personal level for free. Google, in an attempt to promote the Hangout feature have had a number of large celebrities host their own G+ Hangouts, allowing them to directly connect with fans. This includes Conan, Obama, Dali Lama, the Muppets, Snoop Dog and David Beckham to name a few.

Conan among other Celebrities have hosted a Google+ Hangout

To make this feature even better, Google recently rolled out the new “On Air” feature, which allows you to to broadcast your hangout live to anyone on Google+ while it records the Hangout for you. After it is completed, the recording is automatically sent to your YouTube channel for some simple edits and republication to anyone on the Internet. In essence, this feature allows you to become your very own mini production company.


Many photographers have even started their own G+ Photography Shows. These recordings are then posted to their other websites and other networks from YouTube, allowing them to reach far more then just those on Google+. I have also seen musicians hold live concerts, cooks teach cooking classes and astronomers look at the night sky together. The possibilities are truly endless.

Events

While Google+ is not the only network to offer Events (Facebook Events for example), they are the only one that I have actually seen do it well. Part of this is because of the growing product integration between all of the products and services Google has to offer, with G+ being the nucleus. Creating an event is as simple as a few button clicks from within the network. You can even invite people to your Event via an email address, aside from just their Google+ user name. With the Google Calendar integrating with Google+, any event you agree to go to will automatically show up in your calendar and even send you notifications about the event.

A Google+ Event for a Photo Workshop I hosted in Denver back in September

One of the best features of Google Events is the “Party Mode”. If you have this feature enabled on your mobile device, all images you take while at the Event in question will be automatically uploaded to the Event page itself, allowing you to share those images seamlessly with everyone around you. While this feature might sound gimmicky, as a photo educator, I create an event for nearly every one of my Photography Workshops. Using party mode, my clients mobile behind the scenes photos are automatically being uploaded and showcased to the world about my workshop. Talk about great marketing!

Why Google+ Might Matter to You

One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when thinking about joining or focusing on a new online network is: Why is it worth your time? When it comes to Google+, there are three important answers:

The Growing Photography Community

When Google+ first opened at the end of June in 2011, it was quickly obvious that photographers of all levels found the network intriguing. Between the clean UI (User Interface), excitement of it being a new social network and the fact that our images looked better on G+ then all other major networks, it wasn’t difficult to see why. Over the last year, this community has continued to grow, offering one of the most robust and engaging photo communities on the Internet. While it is not as large as Flickr, it offers plenty of better ways to interact, engage and connect with fellow photographers. For aspiring photogs, this is reason enough to give G+ a try.

Google Product/Service Integration

As I talked about above, Google’s vision for G+ is to have it be the fabric that ties the internet together. For Google, this starts with their current product and service lineup. So which products am I talking about?

Google’s Products & Services

Google Search, Gmail, Google Apps, YouTube, Android, Google Play Store, Google Translate, Google Drive (formally Google Docs), Google Alerts, Google Calendar, Blogger, Google Analytics  AdWords, Google Maps, Google Places, Google Latitude, Google Webmast Tools, Google Wallet, Google News, Google Image Search, Google Offers and much more….

In early 2012, Google simplified the access to their produces and services by revamping their internal systems to allow a single GOOGLE ACCOUNT to access everything they have to offer. This means that if you have a gmail account, you also have access to Google Drive, a YouTube channel and yes…a Google+ account. As Google continues to integrate these products into G+ and G+ into these products, the functionality of being an active Google+ user will continue to grow. This has already happened with a few key products, such as Google Calendar. On Google+ when you receive an “Event” invite and you accept, that event will instantly show up in your Google Calendar and subsequently on your Android phone. Think bigger and more creatively and you get a glimpse of where G+ is headed.

Changing the Rules of SER

One of the most important reasons to be active on Google+ is because your engagement on the network can drastically effect your SER and the SER of those that connect with you. SER stands for Search Engine Results and as I stated above, Google Search currently equates to over 65% of ALL Internet search online…in the entire world.Number wise, this means that of the 2.2 billion active internet users in 2011 (SOURCE) 65% of all Internet search online went straight through www.google.com.

Google’s Search Page on Halloween

Now when it comes to how search results are altered by activity on Google+, the answer is very interesting. Google, much like Facebook, is an advertising company at heart. This means that their main source of income comes from providing target specific ads to its users, based on a variety of information such as the content you have published and interacted with in the past. While this has been a solid model for years, the reality is that both Google and Facebook ultimately NEED to know more about you in order to continue to provide the best and most accurate ads they possible can. How does this work? Through the idea of trusted content. In your real life, would you be more prone to listen to restaurant advice from a complete stranger that you bumped into while walking around down town or your best friend that you have know for years? For most of us, the answer is our best friend. Why? Because we trust them. While you might think that the idea of trust can’t be quantified by a mathematical algorithm, you would be wrong.

In order for Google to understand the complexities of trust and social dynamics, they have to apply a value to the way you interact online. On Google+ this can be done in one of four ways. By clicking on the +1 button, commenting on a post, re-sharing a post and adding someone to their circles. Each of these interactions hold a different weighted value. The more you interact with someone on Google+, the more Google thinks you trust that person…and vice versa. This allows Google to get a better idea of not only the kind of content you want to see, but who specifically you trust, so that Google can show you their content above the content from other random Internet users. This gets more interesting when you take into account that this doesn’t stop at just one degree of connection, but instead the interactions between two individuals begin to effect the perceived trust between everyone those individuals have connected with and so on and so forth. When it comes to Google Search, this idea of trusted content comes into play. One of the most obvious examples is using Google Image Search.

A Google Image Search for “Alaska”

When I am logged into my universal Google account and I search for “Alaska”, 13 images show up first. Of those, the top four images shown to me are from myself, John Harrison, Joe Azure and Jon Cornforth….all of which are friends and colleagues I have connected with on Google+. Google showed me those results first because it thought I trusted the content from those individuals more then the other 442 million search results online.

This same principle applies for all content you publish online and on Google+ itself. If I am connected to you and I search for “Zion Photo Workshop” and you happened to post about your upcoming workshop…guess whos results will show up over everyone else’s? YOURS! The ramifications of this realization are huge when it comes to developing a strategy to have the most amount of exposure for your photography work on the Internet and not just a single social network.

Pros and Cons

The Positives:

  • Google+ is the social layer for ALL things Google, it is not just a social network
  • Great UI (User Interface). Your images will look beautiful
  • Solid privacy controls
  • A thriving Photography Community has established itself on the network
  • Google+ Hangouts (Free video conferencing with up to 10 people from anywhere in the world)
  • Google employees are very receptive to feedback to improve the user experience
  • The mobile experience is gorgeous and fluid
  • All public content is indexed for Google search
  • Being active on Google+ increases your chance of improving your standing in search results
  • Google+ users have the highest amount of customer satisfaction among social networks (LINK)
  • Google just purchased NIK SOFTWARE. What this means for Google+ and Android, we don’t know just yet.

The Negatives:

  • Google+ still has a negative public image. The words “ghost town” are used when describing the network by tech journalists, even though it is far from the truth
  • Your friends, family and co-workers will most likely not be on G+
  • Google is still very young when it comes to understanding digital social dynamics. AKA their NOISE filters are not as good as they should be
  • Google has yet to release the API which allows users to post to Google+ from other applications
  • Google+ is NOT Facebook, which means that new users sometimes have a hard time getting their feet wet because they try to treat it like it is

Tips & Tricks

Complete your Profile

As obvious as it may sound, I constantly come across other photographers that have half completed profiles. What many users don’t realize is that your profile is arguable the first and last place you have to make an impression with other users. It is where you have the chance to showcase your personality, your talents, skills and of course tell the world a little about your self.

My Google+ Profile

On top of this, Google actually indexes nearly all of your Google+ profile, making it searchable based on the keywords you choose to include in your bio as well as any relevant links you provide. Include “Colorado” and “Photographer” in your bio and you will show up when I search for other Colorado based photographers to connect with. Google is also doing some pretty amazing things with location based search results, so providing information on where you currently live (city is more then enough), will help others that live in the same city as you connect with your posts.

Participate in a Daily Photo Theme

When signing up for a new network, it can be daunting to find people to begin to interact and connect with, especially as a photographer. On Google+, one of the solutions is to join in on one of the Daily Photo Themes. The idea is simple. Every day of the week there are any number of photo themes running. For example, there is Waterfall Wednesday and Mountain Monday. On those days, you simply upload a photo that is appropriate for a given theme, apply the correct hashtag for said theme (#waterfallwednesday for example) and publish your image to the public. The curator of the theme will then have the chance to potentially pick your image to highlight, giving you more opportunities to get some exposure for your image as well as connect with other Google+ users in the growing photography community present.

Michael Russell is the curator for Mountain Monday on G+

Participate in a Photo Walk

When it comes to understanding social media, I feel that most people look at as this foreign concept that they don’t understand. While at its core it is simply about finding opportunities to connect with other individuals, they focus on the digital side of that interaction. In the recent years a relatively new phenomena has grown from with the photography communities around the world, the idea of a “photo walk”. The idea is simple, meet up with a bunch of other photographers in your home town at a specified location and go out shooting. While generally they are much more geared towards the social and networking side of things, many photo walks have taken an educational turn, with more advanced users helping new photographers learn to become better photographers. While “photo walks” are not exclusive with Google+, the photo community on the network has taken a keen interest in the idea. On June 30th, 2012 thousands of photo-walks where scheduled all over the globe in celebration of the 1 year anniversary of the launch of Google+.

1st Denver Photo Walk I hosted had over 90 photographers participate

At the end of the day, they offer great opportunities for photographers to connect and engage with other like minded people in real life. As a professional, you can get to know other local photographers a bit better, including potential future clients, and as an enthusiast you can have access to plenty of other people that share the same passions for the art that you do. In Colorado, I will be hosting 5-6 photo walks in 2013 to connect with local photogs and keep the local photo community active.

What can photographers expect?

For most photographers, Google+ has the potential to be an extremely viable and important part of their overall social media strategy. Between the fine control you have over who sees the content you publish as well as the content you see (via Circles), the personal interaction available via G+ Hangouts and the growing photo community on the network itself, there is a lot to love. As an aspiring photographer that is looking for inspiration, education and other individuals to connect with that share your passion for photography….it doesn’t get any better then Google+. As a photo educator, the photo community alone is enough reason to be active on G+, let along the ability to use Google+ hangouts to connect with potential future clients.

However if you are a photographer that focuses on wedding, portrait or event photography and you want to find new clients, G+ lags behind Facebook as the best tool at your disposal. If you happen to be looking to increase your print sales, G+ might not be the best choice either, as photographers are generally not customers of other photographers work. Having said all of this, the benefits in increasing once visibility online via the changes to your search engine result might be reason enough to become an active Google+ user. The problem with this approach for many photographers is that it is more of a long term benefit then a short term goal. Not everyone is willing to look a few years down the line to realize that the hard work of today might pay off down the line. Selling a single print this weekend is nice…having your entire portfolio increase in its exposure and searchability down the line might be viewed by many as much more important.

Social Media for Photographers ebook

In Q1 of 2013 I will be releasing a new ebook titled “Social Media for Photographers”. It will not only contain all of the updated information in this post for that time frame, but also expand upon the idea of developing a social media strategy as well as offering in-depth tips and tricks for each of the major social networks. The book will cost around $6.99. Below is a sign up page to be notified of its launch.

New e-book Announcement Newsletter

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  • http://photogabi.com/ photogabi

    Hi Colby! Boy, I was savoring every word in this article! Another gem in the crown! The thing I’m battling when I first signed up to google+ as a young jedi photographer, is who to add to my circles? Like anyone that holds a camera in their hands on their google+ profile photo? I felt overwhelmed by trying to filter out people who post about photography (quality posts instead of noise), and trying to find hashtags for photo themes.
    I wish there would be some sort of “content trust” degree filter in google+ so you can really pick the ones that well… have content you can trust. You might be talking about this in your Google+ book, which I will probably end up buying it anyway -
     
    thanks a lot!
    Gabi

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

      @photogabi Thanks for the kind words. I completely understand your confusion with figuring out who to add to your own circles. What I recommend are 3 things.. 1.) Do a Google+ search (search bar at the top of your main page) for “photographer _________”, with the fill in the blank being your home state. Once the search has appeared, click on the top fliter that says “Everything” and change it to “People and Pages”. This will allow you to find other photographers to connect with that might live somewhat close. Either way it gives you an easy reason to connect. 2.) Check out the Google SUL (Suggested User List) here (https://plus.google.com/getstarted/follow). There are some pretty good Photogs on there and they are rotating out the Arts section every few months. 3.) Engage in those Daily Photo Themes, here is G+ page that showcases many of the themes (https://plus.google.com/104772045073519492155).
       
      My book has a lot of other great ideas and goes much more in depth in using the network and developing your own strategy.

      • http://photogabi.com/ photogabi

        @ColbyBrown This is absolute goldmine, Colby!! Ok, where’s that Google+ for photographers link?? Thanks so much!

    • Bjorn Kleemann

      @photogabi

    • Bjorn Kleemann

      @photogabi another idea would be to search for the curated circles of photographers and simply add them – there are quite a few well organised ones with loads of high quality photographers. The most recent one was shared by Margaret Tompkins, other names that spring to mind are Charles Lupica or Peter From – but there are many others. You could also search for the HQSP pages, there is also a ton of good stuff to be found.
       
      Have fun!
      Bjorn

      • http://photogabi.com/ photogabi

        @Bjorn Kleemann Thanks much Bjorn! I added the Landscape photography from Margaret Tompkins and the one that Charles Lupica and Peter From shared. Not sure what HQSP pages are. Thanks a lot!

  • ostrich102

    photogabi to find good photos on G+ just follow the suggestion of Bjorn Kleemann. It takes a while till you found what you are looking for. Might a few weeks or even month. When you are looking for photos who give comments on your posts than you are very good to check out Margaret Tompkins site. Or type Landscape Photography in the search bar, HQSP, comes with animals, Landscape….etc. The theme page you will find here https://plus.google.com/u/0/104772045073519492155/posts   many themes are created by now. Pick a few and just click on the lets say #Motion, it will bring you to all images with this hash tag, from there you will find what you are looking for. When you like someone’s work just add him/her to your circle. Creat circles, don’t stick with just one, so it is easier later on for your to browse all images or specific images/photogs !
    It takes a while, but it is fun. The conversations sometimes is so much fun. If you look closer you learn a lot as well.
    Hope that helps a bit further. With the SUL, yes they do post great images, but hardly will give you a comment. In my eyes, because they get so many comments they really cannot answer you back. Maybe sometimes when they have time. I gave up on it, but this you need to find out yourself what you are looking for. 
    Happy using G+, have much fun, it is a fun place to be. Made lots of friends here, even meet quite a lot in person through G+. Even on my last trip to Africa :))

  • morksnork

    This post is well researched, written and concise, Colby (as all the others so far in the series). After reading this I am glad that I was an early adopter of G+, and having a well-established blog on Blogger only helped me integrate everything into the seamless new Google User profile. I am looking forward to seeing how G+ will develop.
     
    I myself am a big proponent of the Daily Photo Themes and try to post at least one new post daily into themes that I find interesting. Keep up the good work!!

  • http://www.morkelerasmus.com/ Morkel Erasmus

    This post is well researched, written and concise, Colby (as all the others so far in the series). After reading this I am glad that I was an early adopter of G+, and having a well-established blog on Blogger only helped me integrate everything into the seamless new Google User profile. I am looking forward to seeing how G+ will develop.
     
    I myself am a big proponent of the Daily Photo Themes and try to post at least one new post daily into themes that I find interesting. Keep up the good work!!

  • http://www.morkelerasmus.com/ Morkel Erasmus

    This post is well researched, written and concise, Colby (as all the others so far in the series). After reading this I am glad that I was an early adopter of G+, and having a well-established blog on Blogger only helped me integrate everything into the seamless new Google User profile. I am looking forward to seeing how G+ will develop.
     
    I myself am a big proponent of the Daily Photo Themes and try to post at least one new post daily into themes that I find interesting. Keep up the good work!!

  • emccoyphoto

    Thank you so much for this post!!! I feel like I finally “get it”. I’ve had an account since the beginning of G+ but kept treating it like Facebook – like you wrote about in the article. I’ll be getting involved & coming to G+ for more than just the Hangouts for sure! Daily Photo Themes sound like fun! Thanks again.

  • mbstuart

    Just a great article +Colby Brown!  (I plus mention everywhere now)
    I often feel like the only one in a 50 mile radius using it.  But that doesn’t really bother me.  I get more than I could ask for out of the network already.  I’m 100% in it as a long term investment like you pointed out.  Thanks!

  • kkartPhoto

    I don’t know Colby. As it is, G+ is great for talking shop among like minded individuals which is all fine and dandy however it can not come close to competing with my facebook photography page in terms of reaching the general public at large & that my friend is the sheer differences between the two. On my facebook photography page I communicate with those not about the latest camera released, not about if golden hour is better in the mornings or in the evening but with those who purchase my work to hang on their walls. I have for all intents and purposes become rather disenfranchised with G+. I like it but one can not deny the cliques which have taken place and how you essentially have a few running the whole show. As it is, I have close to 50,000 followers on G+ yet when compared to my facebook photography page where I have 2600 odd followers, the feedback is greater. My “likes” actually have started to outnumber my +1s now and with only a fraction of the followers. I think that speaks volumes of things and penetration. 
     
    I guess G+ is more of a place to kick back and talk shop than it is about actually doing business and concentrating on that end of the spectrum which is fine. When I want to unwind and such I head to G+ but when I want to promote my work, I head to facebook.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

      @kkartPhoto - Everyone’s experience will certainly be different, but I think you again miss the point of G+. As I said in the article, Facebook will be a better choice for those looking to sell prints. G+ is where other photographers are currently. But print sales for today and tomorrow is a short term goal and outlook. Understanding the long term benefits of being active on G+ FAR outweigh the benefits from nearly any other social network currently. FB is great for many things, but the recent changes to promoting posts, so that of those 2600 followers you have, you will soon have to pay money to actually reach them is a fact that is turning many off to FB. On top of that, the info on FB is only valuable to those on FB…which is a large number…sure….but it is still a closed network. Branding and building a business takes more then just a few prints sales here and there. One has to have their own long term goals and projections. One does not have to use G+ to have a “long term plan” but given the facts, I think it is undeniable the potential benefits.
       
      Bottom line… +1′s, reshares, likes and comments on any network matter only for today…but not next week.

      • kkartPhoto

        @ColbyBrown I agree with you in a sense BUT I was an early adapter to G+ and honestly outside of interaction with my fellow photographers, how many clients have I gotten because of G+? Absolutely zero. As far as paying $ to reach people on facebook, “add to interest lists” and “show in news feed” does work around that however that is also where the likes of Pinterest come in to play too. facebook however is proven as marketing goes, G+ isn’t. Maybe in time it will be but for now I see it no different than a coffee shop of like minded people which is all fine and dandy. It is very disorganized however and things fly by in terms of posts and that is a problem. that is something which I hope they fix in the future. “Closed network”, I am not sure I am following you there considering that the whole world is essentially on it and fan pages are “open” to the public at large. As it is, on Google search, my fan page is #2 when searching for me while my website is #1….even flickr, which I never use outranks G+ which is right behind it.
         
        SEO on facebook though–check this out http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2110283/Basic-SEO-for-Facebook-Fan-Pages Quite the interesting little read.

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

          @kkartPhoto For print sales, I think I have to agree with you about FB being “proven” for marketing. But for many, myself included, that is not enough in this business. Print sales make up only about 10% of my business model. The rest is contract work, workshops, e-books, working with sponsors and consulting. While FB does lead to some print sales for me, it leads to very little of the other avenues. As a photo educator, my focus is to be where the photographers are. As someone looking for contract work and sponsors, my focus is to be where I can be found on the Internet. E-books work the same way. Considering that Google controls over 65% of ALL search online and G+ has a more engaging or active photo community….that is why I focus more on G+ then FB these days for those aspects of my various businesses.
           
          As for a closed network, well yes…a few things pop up from your Fan Page, but not as much as you may think. Doing a search for “John De Board”, in Google, your FB fan page comes up 6th for me. 1st is your website, followed by LinkedIn, then Redbubble then White pages then two G+ posts by you and then FB. On top of this, your G+ profile is highlighted and is large in the top right corner of the search page. Then when we go into Google image search, only ONE in the top 50 images actually is from Facebook. The rest are Google+, Redbubble and Pinterest. Have you been to Picasa Web Albums and seen how many times your images have been viewed?
           
          The point is that Facebook is a closed network in the sense that its data is what makes it valuable. It is what makes FB money, since it is an advertising company. It will never open up all that data to the world…as it would loose that value.
           
          So yes, there are 1 billion people on FB and of that 1 billion you have 2600 followers and growing. But There are over 6 billion people on this planet and nearly half of those are active internet users. The closest search competitor to Google is bing “powered” which is not even bing.com with nearly 27%…which is mostly licensed tech in China and India. bing.com comes in at a whopping 13% of all online search. So if G+ is indexing all public posts and highlighting activity on G+ over content on FB and other social networks, you can see the potential.
           
          All this being said, I do not dislike FB by any means. It is certainly a viable social platform and one that does help with my businesses, but I would by lying if I said that it was for short term gains. I don’t see the likes or comments I get on FB today helping my business in 5 years…atleast on in the same way I can effect my search results for all of my content via Google…which one can argue is fair or not. It is what it is. Not everyone needs to be on every network…that is one of the main points of this series of posts on social media…but at the same time there is a lot of miss information out there, about all the networks and their benefits…both in the long and short term. G+ isn’t perfect, but its benefits in the long term outweigh its cons…atleast for my businesses.

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

          @kkartPhoto oops…made a typo
           
          ” but I would by lying if I said that it wasn’t *only* for short term gains.”

        • kkartPhoto

          @ColbyBrown I think it’s all in what you want and what your focus is as a photographer. You said as an educator and that prints only make up for 10% of your business. Which I find astonishly low, I thought it would have been a great deal more (learn something new everyday!) I do think you might be an exception to the rule there Colby as most pro photographers aren’t educators. I’ll ask you this, can you see wedding photographers advertising their services on G+ like they do on facebook? I can’t. At least not now simply because the general public isn’t there like they are on facebook. In the future perhaps but not now. I do think that you are a very specialized case here in how G+ works for you, just remember, most of us don’t wear suits like that :) 
           
          I hope you didn’t search for “John De Board” lol It’s spelled wrong! lol It is interesting that our results are different. In my search I did “John De Bord Photography” and my facebook page is second. LinkedIn? Ok now something is wrong because…I am not a member of that site. I’ve never joined it? ~red flag alert~ I’ll have to go look at that. Again different results for Google image search than me with having more facebook results than you. This is getting odd. Again i used “John De Bord Photography”. 
           
          Ok so when you say closed you are meaning the info which is posted outward online. Gotchya. I was thinking that you were perhaps meaning from personal facebook pages and how they are often times private. That being said, there is a big ace in the hole for facebook, Instagram. 
           
          yes google does own a huge market share with search no questions asked and I would fully expect for G+ to take off and it has in it’s own right but for fellow photographers. It is like the second coming of Flickr. I just don’t see the general public at large using it though until it is revamped to where things aren’t rushing by at 90 million mph. I can say this much, I have talked with some employees of Google who work on G+ and from what I can tell they have taken my suggestion at looking at deviantART and seeing how it’s message center is done because there is nothing else like it on the planet, it is the absolute best around of any social network. It’s rare I ever give pops to DA but they have this down to an absolute science. It is organization personified. 
           
          I think that for me, I don’t see G+ helping me THAT much. In some ways sure it does but I think our goals are quite different. Your aim is at fellow photographers with education, mine is more of the prints & publishing realm of things and I want to teach people who have never held a camera before to see the world as I see it. It is stock and licensing as well and galleries. 
           
          In the end though I think it’s safe to say that we all need to get our work out there as much as we possibly can. 
           
          Now excuse me while I go ‘ppin” your article here. PS–one of these nights we should go get a beer.l

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

          @kkartPhoto - All fair points. In this post, I did specifically mention that for Wedding photogs, G+ is not for you…just as I did with those trying to sell prints. Either way, I think we are both on the same page there. From my stand point, print sales and publications are paying less by the month…which comes down to more of a supply and demand look at economics. Heck, this months cover of Time magazine was taken with the i-phone and found on Instagram. Its a crazy world and industry we live in now days.
           
          To me, that says the writing is on the wall, which is why I moved my focus from print sales and publications to more lucrative avenue streams. I just wrapped up a $150k marketing campaign with Wacom and a few big name photographers. The pay from selling prints, atleast for me, has paled in comparison to the money found in marketing campaigns, sponsorship and consulting…let alone photo education. There is certainly no one right way to be a full time photog any more, but for me the choice was obvious.
           
          As for Google search, it will be different for each of us, which is also my point about activity on G+. It effects search results for EVERY individual logged into a Google account…not even talking about those that have an active G+ profile. If most people on the net use a Google product or service, from the numbers I listed in this article, that effect will be much much larger then Facebook. As we both know, when it comes to the dynamic industry and changing digital world we live in, one has to pick and choose where they spend they time. Time management after all is the hardest part of making a live as ANY entrepreneur.  That being said, would one want to be playing catch up with a changing tide or rather be in front of the wave? In the past, I missed way to many waves because I made the wrong choices. Now days I am very careful with were I spend my time, where I invest my energy and finances all while keeping an eye on the shifting forces on the internet. To me, everything I see paints FB as a valuable source today, but that its grip is slipping on the Internet. Check out my last post on FACEBOOK in this blog series for why. Does that mean people should jump ship now. Heck no. But once needs to know all the options out there and figure out the best networks for their businesses…both in the long and short term.
           
          Lets defiantly grab a beer. I am off to Zion to teach a workshop on Wed, return on the 13th and take off again on the 19th for another workshop in Jordan. I get back from that on December 10th. Lets get something on the books. It has been too long since we have seen each-other here in Denver!

  • http://www.ringcentral.com/virtual-pbx/index.html PBX

    I haven’t tried google plus yet. But I’ll still be looking into this.

  • Pingback: Join our Google+ Community! « Out of Chicago

  • gabstero

    @ColbyBrown  – I know that your Google+ for Photographers book was published before Google launched its Communities, but I was wondering if you have some insight on how to invite people to a Google+ Community you created.
    It looks like Google limits you to 150 invitations at the time. Given that, how would you keep track of people you already invited, and the next batch of 150 people.
    Do you have any suggestions on this?
     
    Thanks a lot!

  • EltonCela

    toni

  • PHP Development India

    Thank you very much for sharing this post. It is very useful to photographers.Use Google+ and connect with potential future clients.

  • chuckjacksonthree

    Thanks for all that you do! G+ has grown so much and I am loving it!

  • Kay Beaton

    Just bought your book today and can’t wait to get more google+ savvy!

  • Carlos Peñalba Photo

    As a freelance photographer, I’d like to ask you what your thoughts are about having a G+ Business page. Is there any benefit to it? Or would you say that just having a personal G+ page is the way to go? Thanks