Whether you’re using social media for personal purposes, or you’re representing a business, Google+ is becoming an increasingly important social media site to be on. That’s because your presence there can affect your ranking in the Google search engine, since the two sites are intertwined. As such, create a Google+ profile, but don’t stop there. Get involved with the community on the social media site, and you’ll start to see your readership and engagement grow – not to mention a spike in your search rankings.
Add People to Your Circles
Circles are the heart of Google+, and you use them to connect with other users. Build out your circles by starting with the people you know who are already on Google+. To do this, go to your Google+ home page, and click on “view more” under the “you may know” section. This area of the social media site allows you to connect to your email accounts — not just Gmail — as well as peruse people who have listed the same education background as you, or the same employer or job title.
When you see someone you want to add, you can then choose which circle to add them to. This functionality is nice, because when you share content you can choose who to share it with. Plus, while the standard circles usually include “friends,” “family,” “acquaintances” and “following,” you can also customize and add other circles depending on the content you’re creating and who you want to share it with.
Also, as you grow your presence, pretty soon you’ll be getting email notifications from people are adding you to their circles. Follow them back so you can share your content with them, too.
Share Content with Your Circles
After adding people to your various circles, it’s time to start generating content and sharing it appropriately. By sharing content, you’ll also be building out your page for when other people view it, whether they’re in your circles or they’re the public — because your Google+ is searchable. That said, if you’re only sharing your content with certain groups, and not publicly, then your profile may look blank to outsiders, which is important to keep in mind!
For example, if you’re running a personal page, you might share old family photos with just family. On the other hand, if you’re running a business, you can choose to share some of your content with a circle that you’ve named ‘vendors,’ while you share other content with ‘customers.’
The kind of content you share is totally up to you. Google+ allows you share everything from photos and links to text-only updates, infographics and videos.
Participate in Communities
Communities are all about the things that people care about. Like art? Search that topic and you’ll come across everything from black and white photography to people discussing surreal art. You can join these groups and get in on the conversation by adding your own commentary to the Google+ communities. In this way, you can also find like-minded people who you can add to your circles. If you don’t know them personally, it’s recommended that you add them to your ‘following’ circle. And if you don’t see a community that fits what you want to talk about — start your own and invite people in your circles to join.
Start a Hangout
Google+ hangouts are a great way to interact with other Google+ users in real time or through a video. Think of hangouts as a way of hosting or participating in an online event. Someone hosts the hangout by starting a ‘hangout on air’ or pre-recording a video. Then other people can join and take part in the conversation by asking questions as part of a Q&A. After attending a hangout, consider hosting one of your own to share your knowledge on just about any topic, from how to keep your air conditioning unit in the best working condition in the summer months, to how to plan your next European vacation.
Explore What People are Talking About
Need some more inspiration to get started? Take a look at what Google+ users are talking about just by hitting ‘explore’ on your Google+ homepage. This page features all the trending hashtags, which you can use when you share your own content; think of it as another way to extend your reach because it’ll make your content easier to find.
The ‘explore’ page also features popular posts, ones that have been ‘+1’-ed by a number of users. While you can comment on these posts as well, they’re also examples of what works well on Google+ so you can in turn emulate their best practices.
Google+ has an enormous range of functionality, and these five things are just the beginning of getting started on the social media site.
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