One major distinctive feature of Google+ is that it does not allow users to update their profiles from another network. Unlike Facebook that allows users to share posts on their walls from another app or network, Google+ does not allow this. So, when you see any account updated, it must have been done by the owner of the account while on the network.
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The next logical questions are: what is Google Plus used for and is Google Plus free? To give brief answers, Google Plus is used to build your circle of contacts and Google Plus is completely free. Once you have a Google account, you can create a new Google Plus account quite easily. Even if you already have existing network of contacts, it won’t be integrated into your new Google+ account automatically. This gives you total control of who you include in your contact and who does not get into it. The bigger picture here is that your circle won’t be filled with unwanted posts.
Apart from just creating your circles, you can also use Google Plus for SEO. However, you can’t use Google Plus for business directly at this time because the platform only accepts people’s profiles and not business profiles yet. It is quite funny that one of the most frequently asked question about Google is “can I delete Google Plus?”. If what people really want to know is if it’s possible to delete your Google Plus account while your other Google applications and services remain standing. Well, the simple answer is yes. You can delete your Google+ account anytime you so wish.
After finding out the benefits of Google+, the question you will be asking yourself is “do I have Google+ account?” and if the answer is no, you will likely create one immediately. Enough of introduction, now let’s go into the nitty-gritty of Google Plus.
How to sign up on Google Plus
You have the option of either signing up for Google+ from your existing Google account or you can create a new Google account from which you will sign up for your Google+ account. Fill the signup form and upload a picture that you have in your other social media account for easy identification.
After that, you will be asked if you want Google+ to search all your email contacts. It is better to decline this offer first. You may eventually add it later. This will enable you control the kind of feeds you will get. In fact, it is better to create the account for a purpose and then you can now allow only feeds related to the purpose.
Build your profile
While a lot of people signed up just for social activities, Google+ is a great tool not only for personal branding, it is also for search engine optimization. So, you need to create a very strong brand. That way, when people come to your profile or stumble on it, making their mind to connect with you and adding you to their circles will be easy. A glimpse at your profile should tell anyone why you created the Google+ account.
When you make it very clear in your profile that your account is meant for online marketing, it will be difficult for someone whose account is just for fun to add you to his or her circle and that is good for you. Truth be told, what some people share is garbage and garbage belongs to the garbage dump. Your Google+ account should have a professional touch. In fact, your profile can be used to assess you.
SEO and brand
Google+ has several fantastic facilities for search engine optimization and brand building. There are features that will help you optimize your profile easily and there are other functions that promote building of links back to your website. Most importantly, you need to fill all the fields in your profile form. The more people know about you, the easier it is for them to decide to follow you or not.
After signing up, you will be asked for a tagline to be inserted under your name. This isn’t just a tagline. It is the meta-description for your profile. So, you need to be brief and concise. Pass the best information about you and your Google+ account in as few words as possible. Use selectively catchy terms. This simply means you should use the terms that will attract only the set of people you want to attract. People usually follow people they share something in common with or people they can benefit from. So, before creating a tagline, ask yourself what you have to offer. When you find the answer, include it in your tagline.
There is a section that gives you an opportunity to add important links. Make sure you exploit it to the fullest. You may add links to strategic pages on your website. There is room for images too. In fact, you can add up to five images. This will be a great facility for a photographer to showcase some of his works.
Adding contacts to your Google+ circles
This is one of the most interesting parts of Google+ and chances are good that this is one of the parts you have been looking forward to. You can follow people by simply placing them in circles. You only need to click the circles icon to add people to your circle. Google will also suggest a list of people for you to add based on your profile.
There are five default circles that you can use or edit. If you want to use any of the default circles: Acquaintances, Family, Friends, and Following, you only need to drag the people you want to add into any of the circles one after the other. In the alternative, you can create new Google+ circles by dragging people into blank circle.
You can search for new names by using the “Search Google+” box if you already have certain names in mind. Before adding anybody, you can go to the person’s profile to check the people in his circles. The way you organize your circles will determine who you share information with and whose posts you get to see. So, don’t just arrange your circles randomly.
It is a good idea to check the people in people’s circles. Even if you don’t want to follow some people, you may come across people you like in their circles. It is needless to say the more people in your circles the better.
To promote easier reach, Google+ users can share their circles with other people so that they can check to see if there is anyone they like in the circles. It is a fantastic feature you can adopt not only to promote your connections but to also help others find people they may want to add.
To share your circles, just go to your circles page and click on the circle you want to share and then click on the Share link. Before sharing it, you have the option of including a comment or just sharing it without a comment. However, it is always better to include a comment. People often explain why they are sharing particular circles. You also need to choose whether you want to share it publicly to everyone or to some circles or to some people.
On the other hand, if you come across a circle shared by someone else within your connections, you can either add everyone in the circle to one of your circles or add selected members of the circle. To do the latter you need click on the “View people in circle” button to be able to see the members of the circle.
About posting updates
Just like how you update your status on Facebook, you can post updates on Google+. You can post links, videos, photos and updates. In sharing posts, you have three options as to who you share your posts with. You can share it with selected people, you can share it with certain circles and you can share it with the general public. To make your choice, just click on the “Add circles or people to share with” link. It is better to make most your posts public. This is because people prefer to follow only active profiles and your profile will seem inactive to people who don’t see your posts.
Interacting and tagging on Google+
The purpose of every social platform is for interaction and Google+ is not an exception. You can make comment on status updates of people within your connections. More people will get to see you as you comment and they may check out your profile and follow or add you. So, you should focus more on commenting on public status updates more. It will give you necessary exposure.
You can also tag people on Google+ to make them see your status update. However, it should be something they will be interested in. Tagging people wildly is often seen as spam. So, you should be careful about who you tag and how you tag them. Google could sanction you if any of them reports you.
It is also very important to make your status update educative, informational, or hilarious. Once you make it a habit to send any of these, people will generally look forward to your posts and people will follow you because of the educative or informative posts. People generally hate advertisements so if most of your posts are adverts, you will lose followers faster than you acquired themA
All in all, there are numerous features on Google+ that make it unique and interesting.
Ready to take the plunge? Enjoy!