Not only are you sharing your faith with those that you have a direct influence, but the combined efforts of many sharing these same videos, links, etc... emanating from official LDS websites, sends an important signal to search engines, like Google.com, that where they come from is relevant to a specific topic -- and for our purposes here, all things credibly Mormon.
So, when John Smith, not of the Mormon faith, wants to know more about what Mormons believe and uses Google to search: What do Mormons believe? Google is going to give him search results that it has determined are the most authoritative and relevant. And of course this is exactly why we all use Google to search for the 'things' or 'terms' we want information about, feeling confident that our search results will be among the best on the Internet -- for what we are trying to find.
There's a lot of people of our faith, not of our faith, that don't like our faith, want to misrepresent our faith, online. Many of 'them' are talking about 'us' and writing about 'us' -- and too often what they're saying is not what we would want 'John Smith' to first come in contact with, about Mormonism -- when he does his Google search to learn more about Mormon beliefs.
For those planning to share General Conference, online, by posting on your favorite social network, such as tweeting #LDSConf on Twitter, it has recently come to my attention that by posting these same things on Google Plus,(G+) a fairly new social network, Google search is much more inclined to give the type of authority, in search results, that we desire.
Jesse Stay, LDS Church social media strategist, and friend, explains why we might want to spread our influence beyond Twitter: "Twitter is good for promoting conference, because there are more people using it (although the numbers are close). However, for long-term effects, Google+ will have a better effect. Mostly because of search."
In other words, if we really want to help, and are strategic, we can accomplish both goals: Promote and share General Conference in real time, on Twitter, and build authority for official Church websites in Google search results, on Google+.
In this way, those that 'follow' us and 'John Smith' will benefit by our efforts. And if we do this right, they might eventually be one in the same person!
We want to keep this very simple. You can do this in one of two ways:
1. Share #LDSConf quotes, thoughts and links on both Twitter and Google Plus by alternating posts.
2. Use a third party application, such as Manageflitter - PLUS, which enables what you post on G+ to automatically post on Twitter.
A few days ago Jesse was kind enough to share an example of how this works using Google Plus, in order for what we post to be considered relevant in Google search results:
"Here's a good example: search for "Earthquake" on Google+:
Posts come through in real time (you can pause any time you like). If you post anything in the box, as those things are streaming by - even if you don't include the term, "earthquake", all those searching for "earthquake" will see your update in their similar search results.
The advantage to using Google+ is not only the more effective search, but its advantage in Google.com search as well. For instance, if your post on Google+ includes the term, "jesus christ", or links to an article about Jesus Christ on LDS.org, your post, as well as that article, will rank higher in Google.com search over a similar post or article shared on any other social network.
The fact is Google ranks Google+ posts higher than similar posts on other social networks. This happened since Google started incorporating your Google+ network into their search results. So, while the conversation may be happening in greater volume on Twitter, Google+ has greater long-term effects due to its inclusion of Google+ in search.
If you want to participate in a larger conversation, Twitter may be a better choice. However, you may consider cross-posting this conference, since it does have that greater effect.
It should also be noted that Google+ has a slightly less-religious audience than Twitter and Facebook. You may cater your message to that audience. You may also want to warn your audience ahead of time so they are aware they're going to get a higher volume than on Twitter.
Another approach may be to post fewer posts on Google+, but post in a format that allows for conversation using the threaded conversation available on Google+.
Think on Google+ of every post being to start a conversation around a particular topic. This can be a great way to start an intellectual discussion about Gospel topics being discussed at Conference. Google+ is more about conversation, while Twitter is more about broadcasting."
I have to say that Jesse Stay is one of the best members, online, for knowing how to begin and have gospel conversations. If I were you, I would subscribe to him on Facebook, just to watch him in action.
General Conference is a great opportunity to create these conversations, and as Jesse mentioned, G+ , among other things, provides a good climate for allowing that to take place, naturally.
One of my Church callings is to serve as the Stake Social Media Specialist on our Public Affairs Counsel. It's a great fit for me. In preparing for our up and coming Mormon Helping Hands service day, I attended an excellent training Webinar. One of the presenters, in relation to the use of social media, shared this great scripture:
"And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude.
Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude." (3 Nephi 19:2-3)
I can't stop thinking about how we "noise abroad" today, to share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in preparation of His Second Coming. More on that in an upcoming post.
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Kathryn Skaggs on G+
Jesse Stay on G+
Mormon on G+
How to Rank for a Keyword Using Google+
Information: April 2012 LDS General Conference #LDSConf