I am sure you are aware by now that Google has launched their social network, Google +. The goal of the Google Plus social network is to mirror more accurately the way we actually share information in real life.
When the network started you needed to receive an “invite” to join. However, we are now past that exclusive stage and anybody can sign up for a Google+ account.
Here is an official Google promo video explaining a bit more about the Google+ project.
You can sign up for Google+ for free here. Once you sign up you will notice that there is a checkbox which says “Google may use my information to personalize content and ads on non-Google websites.”
When you click on the question for more information you are directed to a privacy notice regarding Google + on non-Google sites. It basically says that when you enable Google+1 you will also see recommendations from your friends in Google plus and that they will also see your recommendations based on the +1 that you have clicked on. The plus ones will start appearing on your Google public profile.
It is a good idea to completely fill out the Google profile to get the maximum exposure.
The very first question you are asked once you have signed up is if you would like to link your Picassa Web Album to your Google+ account. This will allow you to share your photos and videos with other in the network. The privacy settings for your existing albums stay the same.
Creating Your Google+ Profile
The first step in getting started with Google+ is setting up your profile. Click on the black bar across the top of the screen to view your profile.This is where you can edit your Google Plus profile data such as adding employment info, education, photo scrapbook and even a tagline.
In addition you can set the privacy on each element of your profile to allow anyone , just certain cirles or extended circles to have access to your information.
When you click on Continue to my profile you will then see your complete profile including Google+ posts and updates under the Posts tab.
The About tab takes information from your main Google+ profile but you can edit it specifically by clicking on Edit Profile and then clicking on the particular area that you would like to edit.
Under photos and videos you will see the videos and photos that you agreed to import for Picasa. After that are your +1 and Buzz updates.
Adding Connections In Google+
Your next step is to start adding connections. Connections are people of course. Click on the Show All link on the right sidebar underneath Suggestions to
see friends that you may already have on Google+. Now you can find connections from those you have emailed you in Gmail and who also have Google+
accounts. You can also find connections from those who follow you on Google Buzz. Use the Find And Invite tab. In addition you can see those have have already added you to their own connections by clicking on the People Who’ve Added You tab.
Do you want to see what is up with a specific person? Just click on their box and then click on their profile link. If they have allowed you to view their activity in their privacy settings you will be able to see those who they have added them to their circles, people they have added to their circles plus people you have in common.
Creating Circles In Google+
Circles help you organized the people you are connected to on Google+.
Here is a short video which gives a quick introduction to Circles.
An interesting note: When you add somebody to a circle they do not necessarily know what circle they are in. This gives you more control who you are sharing your info with. For example maybe you are into martial arts but only some of your friends are interested in this subject. You could create a martial arts circle just add friends who are interested in martial arts to this circle.
The standard circles that come with your Google+ account are Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following. You can drag people around to different circles inidividually or several at a time. Of course, you can create new circles by dropping a friend into the drop here to create a new circle area.
When you add you first connection to a circle you will get a popup alert telling you that you can now share with this person and also see what they are sharing with you. They will receive a notification that they have been added but they will not know what circle they have been added to.
You will also receive a notification when they show up on your public profile. If you do not want people you have added to circles to show up on your public profile click on the Change link which take you to your Google profile where you can alter the visibility parameters to either show all people in all circles or to show people in just specific circles. You can also adjust your settings so that just people in your circles see new additions or whether everybody can see your additions regardless if they are in your circles or not.
You can even add people who are not on Google+ to circles. You will be able to send them email updates, however they do not receive Google+ updates
unless they join Google+.
Tweaking Your Google+ Settings
It is probably a good idea to change some of the settings for your Google+ account.
To change your settings click on the Options symbol to the right on the black bar across the top of the page or you can go here while logged into your Google account: https://www.google.com/settings/plus
This is where you can determine which notifications you are going to get.
You might take a look at these two settings:
People Whose Tags Are Automatically Approved To Link To Your Profile- Unlike Facebook with Google+ you can control who tags you and who does not
tag you. You can even adjust to work within certain circles and not others or even to all circles. Photos And Geolocation Information:
If you do not want you location tagged to your photos uncheck this. You might not want everyone to know where you are at any given moment by the photos you upload.
Your Google+ Notifications
When somebody shares a post, adds you to a circle or there is any activity on your Google+ account you will see a little red number at the top right of your page.
You can click on these numbers to see more specific information about the particular activity.
Your Google+ Stream
After you have organized your profile, added some connections to your circles, and tweaked your settings you can then return to the main page just by clicking the Home icon. This will show you a stream of updates from your various connections.
You can choose to see all the updates from all the circles or just click on a particular circle and see updates from those circles only.
You can also click the down arrow to the right of the update to create a link to the update, share it on your profile, block it, delete it, report it as spam or just block the person who posted the update.
How +1 Relates To Google+
I am sure you have seen the Google Plus One buttons on websites. They operate in a similar way to Facebook likes. You can like posts on Facebook and/or
you can Google+ them.
Just as with Facebook likes you can see the +1 count in the Google+ social media icon.
How To Send Updates With Google+
If you want to send an update click the right box below your stream. You will then have the option of posting a link, photo, video or even a location based update.
You can then select who you want to see your latest update. The entire web? Just a few privileged circles? It is up to you.
If people who you have added to your circles have not yet joined Google+ you have the option to email then your updates.
Chatting On Google+
In the left sidebar you can choose to chat with your connections. It is very similar to the chat available in Google Talk in Gmail.
The green dot means they are online and available for a text chat. If there is a green video camera next to their name they are ready for a video chat. When you click on their name the chat screen pops up and you can begin your chat.
Video Chat With Google+
You can start a video chat by clicking on Start A Hangout on the right sidebar. Here is a video on Google+ hangouts:
In order to use this feature you will need to install Google Video and Google Voice plugins.
Getting Feeds From Sparks
Sparks is another tool from Google+ which will let you find topic specific feeds. Sparks is very much like a feed search engine. Search for a feed according
to your interest and click add interest which is the blue button near the top of the search screen. This will save your feed in the left sidebar. You can then check on this feed conveniently from your sidebar. This is an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest news in your industry as well as a source of
new content to share in your various circles.
As of now you can access Google+ from your mobile phone. The only app is for Android. However, you can still access Google+ from any mobile browser in any mobile phone including iPhone.
Well, this should get your started! Please let us know your experiences with Google+ especially on how this new social media can help you with your marketing. Also, please share this post on Google Plus! Thank you!