Google Plus takes a a bit of getting used to, but if you spend a bit of time finding great people to follow you’ll find a hive of activity and really good content to read and share.
WHERE DO I START?
In order to have a Google+ account, you need a Google account, which you can set up at plus.google.com. Once you are signed up, you’ll be redirected to your gmail account. You can access Google Plus from the top right, where it says your name followed by a +.
DO I CREATE NEED TO CREATE A PAGE FOR MY BLOG?
This is very much personal choice. A Google+ profile represents you as an individual whereas a page generally represents a brand or organisation. The advantage of a page is that it can be managed by more than one person. The advantage of a personal profile is that it’s used across all Google services giving you a consistent name across all your channels. If you want to keep your blog identity separate from your personal profile or build a strong brand, a page is a good way to go.
A Google+ page works in the same way as a normal Google+ profile. You can create and add people to circles, share posts, +1, comments, add photos and videos, and join Hangouts.
Pages are accessed from your profile page by clicking on your photo in the top right hand corner and selecting the page you wish to open.
SETTING UP YOUR PROFILE
Google + is very visual so make sure you chose a profile photo and header image to convey you or your brand.
Don’t forget to check your settings, accessed from the left hand menu, to select the information you want to share publicly. Here you can chose who can comment, send you notifications and how those notifications are communicated to you.
WHAT IS A GOOGLE PLUS CIRCLE?
Circles allow you to organise people you follow into groups. You can then share directly with your circles – thereby targeting your content to the best audience. You can also filter your stream by only viewing content from certain circles. Google + has four default circles, but you can add and name your own circles to fit your needs.
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND
The main menu appears on the left hand side of your page.
The Hangout box on the right can be used for starting text chats of Hangouts with people you follow.
POSTING ON GOOGLE +
It’s very easy to share on Google+ and you can tag people or brands in the same way you do on Facebook. You can even use a tagged post as a private message to someone, as long as you’re not sharing publicly as well as with that person.
Choose whether to share publicly, with certain circles, or with certain ‘communities’.
WHAT IS A GOOGLE + COMMUNITY?
Communities are places for like-minded people to share content and conversations.
To see your communities, search for new ones or start your own, choose the Communities option from the left hand menu. You can share posts directly in the community or from your page by choosing the Community to share with. Posts to public Communities will show up on your profile, so do check the visibility before posting.
WHAT IS A HANGOUT?
Hangouts are a great way to video chat with up to 10 people either privately or publicly (Hangouts On Air). To initiate a hangout use the Hangouts box on the right hand side of your page. To Hangout On Air you’ll need your account linked to YouTube.
INTERACTING WITH POSTS
If you see a post you like you can +1 ( which is basically ‘liking’ a post ), comment or even share.
When you +1 , the creator of the post and the people it was shared with can see your +1. You can even +1 from outside Google + if a post has the +1 button. If you want to see the posts you’ve given a +1, there is a list in your profile from the centre menu.
If you don’t like a post click on the down arrow in the top right hand corner to mute or report it.
Struggling to find good content?
Try the What’s hot option from the left hand menu and you’ll be shown popular posts.
You can use the # box to search for popular hashtags which you can then use in your own posts or to find content relevant to your audience.
TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR FOLLOWING
Be yourself and post content that is interesting to you. If you have a niche that makes you stand out from others that’s even better.
Add a link to your G+ profile or page from your blog and add the G+ button to your blog posts.
Make sure your profile is up to date and reflects you.
Interact with people you find interesting, share their content and comment on posts.
Google + is very visual so sharing images, infographics, and videos works better than text posts.
Post frequently, once or twice a day is ideal.
Search for other good Google + users with similar interests, you can use # to find people or check out the circles of other people you follow.
Watch out for people sharing circles, this is a great way to find lots of great people to follow quickly and easily.
– This post by Emma Vanstone from Mummy Mummy Mum! first appeared on Tots100.
[Photo credit: Shutterstock and Emma Vanstone]