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September 13, 2012

10 Helpful Tips for Using Google Plus

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Google Plus is a social networking site launched by Google in 2011. It now has approximately 250 million users and is growing in popularity. Google Plus is similar to Facebook but yet different in several ways. One major difference is that you can organize your friends and followers into separate “Circles” so you can post appropriate messages to the right people. It is not just one mass posting.

With its many features and differences, Google Plus can seem a bit complicated and confusing so below are ten tips to help you use Google Plus to its maximum efficiency.

1. Profile – As always, take advantage of your profile area. You want to establish your personal identity but also connect your personal profile with your business. Instead of using your company logo for your avatar, use a picture of yourself. This will establish you as an actual person and give you a head start for building the relationships needed for your online business. Showcase what your business can do for people in the “About” section. Highlight your business but keep your personal identity evident as well.

2. Hangouts – This is one feature that separates Google Plus from Facebook and other social networking sites. The Hangouts feature allows you to connect, by video, with up to ten people at one time. This is great for meetings, training, demonstrations, webinars, e-classes, etc. Use this tool with creativity and grow your business.

3. Categorize with Circles – Another advantage of using Google Plus is their “Circles” feature. This allows you to categorize your followers, which in turn allows you to send the appropriate messages to the appropriate groups of people. No more mass posting and sending irrelevant messages to people. You can separate your followers into customers, family, trainees, etc. This is another way that Google Plus has come out ahead for networking.

4. Sparks – Yet another great feature of Google Plus is Sparks. This handy tool lets you enter a keyword and an alert will be sent to you whenever any content on this subject is posted. This is a great way to search for, and find relevant and interesting content to share.

5. Shorten Your URL – Be sure to shorten your URL as you probably won’t want to use the default link Google assigns to you. To do this, you can go to gplus.to and choose the nickname for your URL. I use my company name but some people prefer to use their actual name.

6. Invite People to Your Circles – In your account you will see a suggestion list, provided by Google, of people to invite to your circles. Make a habit of going through these suggestions and inviting different people to the appropriate circle. More people than not will accept your invitation and it helps in building an effective network.

7. Drag and Drop – You can easily drag and drop photos, links, videos, etc. from your desktop to your Google Plus comment box. This allows you much creativity to create memorable and unique posts.

8. Google Notifications Window – This feature is helpful because it allows you to comment right in the window. You do not have to click over to a website to share a comment. You can also scroll through to see older and/or newer notifications. This can be a great timesaver.

9. Check Your Google Plus Settings – There are many notification options available to you. You can opt to get notified when someone mentions you or adds you to their circle. There are several options available to you so be sure to check all the ones that apply.

10. Use Mashable – Mashable is a news source that will keep you abreast of all Google’s features, updates, and other digital social media news as well. This will allow you to make the most of your Google Plus and social media tactics.

Although Google Plus is not yet the powerhouse that Facebook is, it has many outstanding features and uses that could make it a very effective component in your social networking agenda.


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19 Responses to “10 Helpful Tips for Using Google Plus

    avatar Paul Serban says:

    Interesting, I didn’t use all of these options. I’ll do changes to my account now.
    Thank you!

    avatar Kevin says:

    Nice post but I do believe that Facebook’s List feature gives you the ability group your Friends and then restrict your status updates to a selected List in the same way as Circles. Maybe someone can confirm/reject this?

    I am hoping that with all these features Google+ will take over Facebook soon.

    avatar Eamon says:

    Great information Thanks for the post

    thank for in depth information on google plus and comparing features of both google + and facebook

    Thanks for your article.
    We are doing what you recommend for Google+. In the meanwhile things are not easy and to get anyone really interested in what we are saying or linking(unlikely Pinterest just for example whre people pin in our boards where we can edit some words and links to other users).
    Concerning the circles i choose circles with a search and was sharing with them but Google closed my profile account only allowing me the webpage account. Now everyone in my circles is posting in my profile (not on webpage) and i can´t post in there. Isn´t life strange (Moody Blues quoting).
    Anyone can help me to understand what really happened and what i did wrongly?

    avatar reachschools.org says:

    It is great for branding activity. But it has no great effect if our circle is still small

    avatar jugglingart says:

    I try to use Google+ for my web branding activity. I hope the effect will great

    Sparks at number 4 is really not explained well enough by anyone. So I guess I’ll do what Google and others aren’t doing. I’ll actually explain it:

    1) Do a Search. You’ll probably also want to click “Most Recent” because the regular results tend to become boringly static (stuff you’ve seen before that was popular and lots of people commented, but so what, it’s months old).

    2) Then, in the dropdown box that says Everything (above the results), click Sparks and then Save Your Search.

    3) After this, whenever you click “Home” there will be your main feed but you can then click “Friends” or “Family” or “More” to see filtered feeds. Click More and your Spark should be listed.

    It will take as much time to do that as to type in your keyword new anytime. =)

    avatar frynki says:

    great information. I am starting to use Google+, and I like it. This information explain more

    Wait a minute…

    I was just able to achieve the same “Sparks” results by simply saving searches. These saved searches are then found if you click Home and then the More dropdown box.

    I’m, therefore, not seeing why this is called a “Sparks” function. It’s just saved searches in the filters section, near where you can filter for “Friends” of “Family”. What I described above is a long way around, repeated by a lot of people over the past year.

    avatar Sagir Azam says:

    I use Google Plus & Facebook both especially for business promotion but the information about Hangouts is great & It will help us for sure.

    I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my article and post your comments. I would also like to thank those of you who added additional info as it is hard to get everything into one article. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding this or any of my articles. I wish you all much success!

    Warm regards,
    Terri Seymour

    avatar patrick says:

    I AM NOT LONG USING A COMPUTER AND HAVE A MENTAL BLOCK WITH ANY GADGET . HAVE ALSO STARTED A NEW BUSINESS SO I NEED ANY TOOL I CAN GET TO SURVIVE IN THESE DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES

    SLAINTE

    PATRICK

    I really like Google Plus. I do however think they should make things more transparent. You have to be logged in to see some things and I think thats a pain.

    avatar SallyE says:

    Thanks Terri,

    Great summary of all Google Plus’s “tricks.” Some of them are different, some are the tried and true, and some I’ve never noticed. Sparks is a new one for me. I’m seeing it as a Google Alert for Google Plus. I use those all the time, so I know they can be very helpful.

    Now I know I need to go back to it and try to make it work for me. It’s very difficult for solopreneurs to keep up on all of the social media.

    Thanks for the clear overview of each feature. It really helps.

    –SallyE

    avatar Jane says:

    This site is good for helping people create a custom Google Plus profile picture http://www.gplusavatarmaker.com

    This is great! I am quiet enamoured with the Sparks feature and it is really helping me narrow down on the topics I want to follow. The URL shortening too is a nice feature as now I can do away with the lengthy URLs copy pasted on the text (which looks ugly) or the rote routine of embedding it as hyper-link on the texts. Nicknaming the URLs is a fun way to direct users too.

    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for sharing these tips, I’ve been looking for some info on G+ for a while now. A lot of people use it as a blogging platform because it allows you to write long status updates. What do you think about the idea?

    ~Philip

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