You go to conferences and you hear people say really smart things. If you look around the audience you will most likely see everyone nodding their heads. Even though we hear people say smart things, and we agree with them, we often don’t put them into practice. So, here are a few things you’ve probably heard, agreed to, but aren’t really practicing on a daily basis…
Listening for brand related keywords in the social space: You should know what conversations your brand is the topic of in the social space.
In the seemingly never-ending search for the solution to curate relevant content, Circles get close. Circles are a great concept, but have you noticed that when you look at your G+ stream it look very similar to all your other feeds? Even when you create categorized Circles like “photography”, “social media gurus”, “googlers’, the streams only hint towards topical content, but the steam still has a mishmash of personal posts, pictures and topical posts. It’s still a bit of everything.
We’ve been using Circles much like Twitter lists to curate our intake of content to specific subjects. But Google also allows us to push content to the people we’ve put in Circles. This is nice for privacy situations when you want to post content or news to only your closest friends, but from a business stand point there is a flaw. If the people you put in circles are not following you back, it’s unlikely they will ever see the content you post to that circle. Only if they happen to be looking at their “incoming” stream will they see the content, but they still won’t have context for that content because they don’t know what Circle you’ve put them in!
This is a big problem. If you’re someone who wants posts relevant content to specific audiences you’re going to have to hope that they have time and care about every single person that adds them to a Circle. And if you’ve even spent some time on G+ you know that a lot of strangers are adding you to Circles – Circles that you have no idea are about or what context the person wants to connect with you on.
There is a solution and although it completely flips Circles 180 degrees, they are still Circles. This is how Circles should work.
First: people add you to a Circle, be it categorized by relationship or topic.
Second: Now when you create a post the options that appear are based on the Circles you’ve been placed in – not created. If someone has put you in their “Marketing” or “Iguanas on Ice” Circle, you now have the option to post to “Marketing” or “Iguana’s on Ice”.
Third: When you add people to circles, the circle options are now curated based on existing Circles across G+ – much like Facebook Interests are generated. This creates consistency across G+ Circles. Yes, you can still create “Iguanas on Ice” or “Muffin Tasters” and the people you put in those Circles can choose to post there. Based on the number of people who add you to specific Circle those Circles would be highlighted, weighted or recognized differently.
With this Circle system people will have a context of what content they expected from you – also what people think you’re influential about – which gives you a better opportunity to post relevant content. When you add people to specific circles you will also know what to expect from them based on the Circle you’ve put them in. And before you ask: What happens if someone adds me to “Family” and I don’t want them to see my posts. With the new system you have the option of accepting or declined additions to Circles created for private audiences. “Circles of Trust” so to speak.
Unfortunately this is not how Circles works (yet?)