Now let’s take a look a more in-depth some of G+’s features, so that you can start navigating like a champ.
First, we’ll get acquainted with sharing content. Like most social media outlets, you can share on G+ through the share bar in your profile or newsfeed. But unlike most social media outlets, G+ allows you to fully customize your posts.
To the right of the share bar, you will find icons to share Photos, Videos, Events, and Links. As mentioned in our other article , G+ is fully integrated with other Google apps. This means it will be easier to share content via Google apps such as Picassa and Youtube. You can also shout out your connections by inserting a “+” and then typing the connections names. This +person will then be notified and their profile linked to your shared content. Whether they choose to be tagged in embarrassing stories from their weekend/childhood is uncertain. So they have the option of untagging themselves, thereby striking the post from their profile.
But the cool thing about G+ is that you can choose who exactly is seeing your content. Simple click in the Share bar and you will be greeted with a pop down menu. In the pop down menu is an audience personalization bar. The default option is Public, which means that any-and-everyone can see your post. You can clear the Public option, and select specific circles or even individual people to share with. You can even get into disabling comments and locking the post. This is a deeper level of customization than any other social media outlet available, allowing for audience-tailored messages. And you can totally make inside jokes, and prevent some people from seeing it.
Now we’re off to create and organize your Circles.
This is the bread and butter of Google+. With circles, you can organize your connections into groups based on pre-defined characteristics. Each profile comes with 4 default circle which are friends, family, acquaintances, and following. But you can create as many unique circles as your heart desires (like a bloggers-named-Jeromy-whose-posts-I-never-read). Just hover over the white circle that says “drop here to create a circle” and it will become “create circle”.
Now, give your circle a descriptive title based on the membership. I chose to make The Social Firm and Professional Connections. Once you have your circles ready, you can manage your connections. To add someone to a circle, simply click and hold down on their picture above and drag-and-drop it into their appropriate circle. Simple as that! Connections can be placed in multiple circles.
To get a better visual representation of who is in which circle, simply hover over the circle and everyone who is a member of it will fade out. You can do the reverse, and hover over a connection to see which circle they’re in. Give it a try!
Okay, now onto pages. With G+, you can create pages for businesses, products, companies, arts, sports, etc. Scroll down to the bottom of the tool bar on the side, and you will find the Pages tab. Now just click Create new page, and you’re on your way!
On this section, you can select which category your page fits under. Once you’ve made your selection, you will be prompted to input some pertinent information to your page. Once this step is completed, your page is ready to go. Now you get the chance to design the layout. Choose a unique profile picture and cover photo, write up a little biography, and put in relevant times and dates.
With G+ pages, you can interact with other businesses’ pages, set up (and verify) a location on Google maps, and create brand awareness. You can’t add personal profile’s to your circles until they add you first, but you certainly can add other pages.
To verify a business on G+, simply hover over the “unverified” tile next to your business name. You will see a drop down prompt that allows you to Verify now.
When you click verify now, you will be taken to the Google+ for Businesses page. G+ will locate the businesses’ address that you’ve specified and display it on a Google Map. Once you have confirmed that it is indeed your location, click Yes, Continue to verify. Request a postcard to your business location. This postcard will come in the mail, and will contain a special pin number. When you receive the card, click back to the Google+ for Business page and you will be prompted to input the pin. Once this is complete, congratulations, your business is Google verified!
The main advantage of having a Google certified G+ Business page is an air of legitimacy. If Google has verified your business, then you just got the nod of approval from a multi-national search-engine industry giant. We’re not just talking about some urban street cred, although that could definitely help you in certain industries (hedge fund manager?) Now we’re off to boost the visibility of your page a little bit more.
G+ has also re-defined the way we interact with business pages. Everyone can offer their +1 to a page, or postings on a page.
As you can see, The Social Firm has 53 +1’s, or +53. The more +1’s a business page has, the higher it’s indexing will be. This means that it will show up more frequently, and in higher positions in the Google+ search bar, and eventually Google Search in general. The applications of this function are enormous for Search Engine Optimization and Link Building.
Now that your business page is all setup, and picking up a few +1’s, let’s go one step further.
With the G+ Local tab, you can find verified businesses through Google and interact with them. Click on the local tab which will bring you to the dashboard. Here, you can find recommended places in your area, places recommended by your connections, reviews from top raters, and various categories of places to see. A cool thing about G+ is the level of interconnectivity between functions. In order to have a good online reputation, it really helps to have good ratings in G+ local and lots of +1’s on their business page.
From G+ Local page, fans can learn more information about your company, write and see reviews, and give your business a rating. These all factor into your overall business ranking. The better your ranking, the higher your index in Google search. Once again, search engine optimization is fundamental for growth.
Now onto the Events tab.
With G+ events, the event page becomes an event all in itself! Go ahead; click the Create Event button to get started. Just enter the event details and customize the theme picture if you want. Upon completion, you will be brought to the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can find event details, post comments, invite friends/circles, and even check your availability through your Google Calendar. These are some pretty standard functions in most social media networking outlets. Now here are some non-standard functions.
When you arrive at the event, your Google+ app will give you the option of enabling Party Mode. With party mode on, any photo you take with your phone during the event will be automatically uploaded to the event’s page on G+. You can disable Party Mode at any time.
When everything is said and done, the page turns into a recap of the event. Photos and comments will be organized chronologically on the page. It’s like hearing a play-by-play summary from a friend! For all of our internet addicted friends who haven’t seen the sunlight in days, this is the closest to an online party as you’re going to get!
Check out this video to see it in action:
Alright, we’ve seen a lot of what G+ has to offer. Last but not least, we have the Explore tab. The explore tab is like the watering hole, where you can find out what’s trending and new things that G+ thinks will interest you. Much time will be spent surfing the explore section, which may not be good for workplace productivity (unless you’re the executive G+ explore tab surfer).
In the Explore dashboard, you can see recent popular posts, what’s trending on Google+, people you might like, and other things that may interest you (such as businesses, musicians, brands etc.) This area is really cool because it is a veritable goldmine of pop culture. As you can see in the picture above, some of the topics in the trending section are “Chris Brown”, “Mitt Romney”, and “Music Monday”. The world of Social Media exists on its own terms, and this is where you can pick up the lay of the land.
Just mention or hashtag a trending topic, and you will see the power of this influence firsthand. Yes Twitter fans, you can totally hashtag on Google+. Try it out! Hashtag or shoutout “The Social Firm” in your next post. We’re sure to reply. Really we will, we love our fans! You know you want to…
Now you know a little bit more in-depth about navigating through Google+. Tune in on Wednesday to see our 4th and final installment of our G+ User’s Guide. We’ll be covering how to utilize G+ for marketers.
Adios for now!