Let’s keep this week of social media awesomeness going with Google+. Are you on G+? If you’re not, you probably should be. It’s a super-fast growing social media that’s trying hard to overtake Facebook’s hold, and in time it totally could. My friend Amy of Beloved Atmosphere is a mom, world traveler, crafter, and an amazing chef. Right now, she’s living and learning between the United States and Europe with her husband and three daughters. Jealous? Me to. Today she’s sharing all she knows about Google+.
By now you’ve heard of, or are currently using Google+. In fact, you may even refer to this social media darling as “G+.” Admittedly, I was skeptical at first. Now I recognize the vast capabilities of the G+ platform. While some resist bringing G+ into their social media circles. I say, “Bring it on.”
G+ has dynamic features, including:
- Real-time sharing, video chat, and the ability to upload any type of media file
- Capability to connect with people, businesses, brands, and communities in an engaging atmosphere (see Circles, Pages, Communities, Hangouts, for starters)
- Integration with YouTube, G-mail, and other Google products
What makes G+ different or better than other social media channels?
G+ is a beautiful marriage of several social media tools. Not only does G+ encourage interaction on a personal level, but it also offers opportunities to broaden sharing and develop relationships however the user sees fit. With bonus features such as Pages, Communities, Chat, Hangouts, and Hangouts on Air, the breadth of interaction may be wider than in other social media platforms.
How do I sign up for a G+ account?
To participate in G+, you must have a Google account. Your G+ profile is then connected to your G-mail account.
What’s the +1 thing?
When you find something you appreciate or find interesting on the internet, you click +1 next to it. Think of it as a “Like” in Facebook terms.
What’s a G+ circle?
Unlike Facebook where mutual agreement to follow (“friend”) a person is required, G+ allows you to follow any person, business, or page on G+, whether or not they choose to follow you back. This is called “adding a person/a business/an organization to your circles.”
First, you add a person or page to a G+ circle. Next you may organize your G+ circles however you wish. You also have the option to choose the level of privacy/visibility your posts among your circles.
Circles can be arranged and organized according to many qualifications, such as family, personal connections, professional relationships, interests, people you might like to promote your blog or site to, or maybe people you don’t even know. Your method of organization is up to you, but it might be helpful to start with a method so you don’t end up with a lots of people clumped together in the same circle with no organization.
Here’s an example of how some of my circles are organized.
If you are new to G+, click here for a simple tutorial on G+ circles.
If you are a G+ veteran, click here for more advanced ideas for managing your circles.
What is the difference between a G+ personal profile and a G+ page?
A personal profile is linked to your Gmail account. Through your G+ profile, you manage circles, +1s, communities and other G+ functions. When you add people to your circles, you are adding their personal profile so you may see things they share and what they comment on.
A G+ page is typically linked to a business or organization. Pages must have an owner and a manager, and may include reviews or places. You will also see a button to “follow” a page in addition to being able to add it to your circles.
Netiquette on G+?
Always give credit to the author, cite sources of your information, and include a “+” in front of any names, shares or comments (called a +mention). This is huge on G+. A +mention is akin to Twitter using “@” in front of a user’s name or Facebook auto-highlighting a friend or page’s name. Using relevant hashtags (#) are encouraged on G+. However, Google Plussers discourage overusing hashtags.
For example, in G+ we write the following:
Don’t miss this #insightful article from +Amy Askin: Getting to Know Google+. A must-read for anyone using G+ today, it covers the basics to some advanced features.
+Gigi Ross of Kludgy Mom adds “…never use a thumbnail image. Always use a big photo.”
Do I go with a G+ Community or a G+ Business Page?
Quick answer: it depends on your goals.
A G+ Community is a group of people on G+ who enjoy discussing or sharing content on specific interest areas, hobbies, topics, organizations or fields. Here’s an overview of how to join and engage in G+ Communities. More G+ Communities FAQs.
+Jaana Nystrom highlights the marketing benefits of G+ Communities in “Google+ Communities vs. Business Pages”.
What are Google hangouts?
Google Hangouts are free video chats operated through G+. You can even Hangout via a mobile app! User-friendly and convenient, Google hangouts are the new standard for video conferencing
What are Google Hangouts on Air?
Google Hangouts on Air offer G+ users the opportunity to create and view live webcasts. The best part? If you miss a scheduled Hangout on Air, you may be able to catch a recorded version later.
Now that I’ve offered you a taste of G+, how will you let G+ work for you and your business?
Extras for Intermediate level Google Plussers…
sources: +Kristin Zaslavsky, +Liz Jostes, +Jeff Sieh, +Jaana Nystrom
Do you have any Google+ advice you’d like to add? Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed when I look at my G+ page. But Amy makes the social media feel a little more do-able. Be sure to follow Amy on G+ too, and check out Beloved Atmosphere. And remember how I told you she was an amazing chef, check out these ah-mazing turtle bars. And this post about traveling in Budapest makes me ready to book a flight. Like tomorrow.