10 Practical Google+ Tips For New Users
Google+ is upon us and brings with it a whole new world to explore and to learn how to use effectively. As with anything new there is an avalanche of excellent advice and useful tips being shared but we need to be able to get to grips with the basics before we can make good use of them.
If you are like me might find that at first it’s the simple things that can stop you getting more involved and you may be looking for something moreÂ downÂ to earth and practical.
So for all of you who, like me are dipping their toe in the Google+ pond for the first time I am pleased to share with you 10 practical tips which have I have put together after my first few days of blundering around.
When you first join Google+ you will have the opportunity to fill out your profile. I would suggest that you do this as far as possible straight away. Think of it like your Twitter bio or blog ‘About Page’, people soon move on in those other places if they are incomplete.
I have seen some which are like a LinkedIn profile and others which have nothing at all other than an image. Set yours at the level that suits you but be sure to add links to all of the other places people can find you. Just click on this image or ‘Add to Circles’ in the box on the sidebar if you would like to connect with me.
You can make changes at any time by clicking the ‘Edit Profile’ button and then clicking the area you would like to change, you can also set features such as search visibility and who can see your circles from here, if you are not sure of anything there are plenty links to Help.
You will find ‘Settings‘ at the top right hand corner of Google+ or by clicking on your account name on the toolbar, this will allow you to set your requirements for Privacy, Notifications and similar. – Read this Article for some good advice on this as shared by Chris Brogan on Google+ and also 5 Steps To Configuring Privacy on Google+ from Branded Clever.
See your notifications
Making new connections
You will probably find that as soon as you appear you will see notifications telling you that people are adding you toÂ theirÂ circles, don’t panic!
Go into ‘Circles’ using the links at the top of the page. From there you can see who has added you, who you have added and some suggestions of who you might like to connect with. You can just drag the people you want in your circles into the preset options or you can create more of your own.
The people you add can’t see which circle they are in so don’t worry that you might inadvertently offend someone who thinks they should be in ‘Friend’!
You aren’t obliged to add everybody back, I have adopted the policy I would on Twitter, if someone appears to be real and not just a spammer I will generally add them to a circle but organise myself so that I know who is going where and give myself the opportunity to review people later. Try to create your circles from the start so that you can allocate people accordingly.
If you want to reorganise or change the circles that someone is in you can do that from their Profile page by clicking on the green box in the right hand corner. Alternatively, if you want to look at all of the people in a circle go to ‘Circles‘, click on the one you want to look at and then click ‘View circle in tab‘. This will open up all the people in the circle at the top of the page so you can make changes as required.
If you have lost track of who has added you to their Circles and want to review which of them to add to yours then do the following;
Go To Circles and then People who’ve added you and select Not yet in circles from the Sort by drop down menu. The first names shown will then be the people who are not in your circles and you can move them from there if you want to add them to yours.
Another good way I have found to see who has added you to review if you want to add back is to do it through Notifications. Click on Notifications (the box with the number in) in the toolbar and then on an entry that has advised that you have been added. This will drop down the most recent entries and if you go to the bottom of that list you will find an option to ‘view all circle notifications‘. Click on that and you can view everyone who has added you and who is not in your circles so you can review them from there.
Find and Invite
It feels a bit overwhelming at first! After you have added the first few friends who you already know where do you go to find more? Well you will be pleased to hear that there is a helpful ‘Find and Invite’ facility in your Circles page.
This will display a list of people, some of whom you will know and some who will be new to you. You can add people simply by dragging to the appropriate Circle. I would suggest removing people you don’t want to connect with and refreshing the page as this will bring some new suggestions, this may have limited effect as it ceased to renew for me after a few days. (Has now become active again as more users join!).
You can also click on ‘Get More Suggestions’ at the foot of the list but this will add to the list rather than removing those you don’t want to add.
If you want to find out more about someone then hover over their name and a link to their profile will appear, if you want to remove them then highlight them by clicking and then use the ‘Remove’ button which will now be available, you can highlight multiple names at the same time.
Finding new people
So you have found the people you already know and have connected with some of those who have put you in their circles but I think if you are going to get the most out of this you need to keep going.
Look at who your friends are connected to, see whose posts are being shared by them in the stream, see who is commenting on posts and don’t be frightened to add them to your circles, you may be pleasantly surprised at who adds you back. (Make sure you give them a good reason to!)
You can easily add someone or change the circle they are in from their Profile page using the button to the right of their name, you will also see a note here if you are in one of their circles.
This confused me a bit at first but it’s very simple (I am easily confused). Your stream will contain all your circles by default unless you select only to view the content of specific circles using the menu on the left hand side of the page.
One thing I had found confusing is where the posts in the Incoming section in the Stream appear from. I am indebted to Krystyn Chong for this excellent explanation.
“The “incoming” group allows you to be seen by people who would normally not see you, so look at it from your side, when you post – you are sharing it with individuals, circles, extended circles and public. (See below)
When you choose extended circles, you’re “sharing” with people who are in your circled friends circles, when you choose public – you’re sharing with more people who haven’t added you and your post will appear in their Incoming Stream.
This feature is brilliant. I get to see who has the same interests as me or who is interested in what I post. (It’s like a built in follower but they’re doing the leg work for us and hand it to us on a platter, we then get to choose whether we want to add.)” – Thanks Krystyn!
Sharing your content is straightforward and familiar to us from other platforms but I did find it a bit confusing at first as to who I was sharing with.
I don’t intend to go into great detail about the definitions as Help does that better than I ever could but suffice to say that clicking +Add circles or people to share with… gives you control over who sees your content, be sure though to have a look at Disabling reshares if you want something to remain in the circles you share with.
I would recommend that you take a good look at Sharing in the stream and the Help link above so that you get a good understanding of who your posts are shared with.
Â Before you share something visit the profile of the originator by clicking on the link next to ‘originally shared this post’. If you look at the post in their stream you will see how many times it’s already been shared and who by so you will know if you are one of the first or if it’s already been ‘all around the houses’.
This will save you cluttering the stream up with something most people may already have seen several times. maybe add a +1 and a comment instead.
Great fun! I was a bit shy at first but having jumped in I can highly recommend it. You will see Hangouts in your stream, if you see a couple of familiar faces there why not just jump in at the deep end? I did and was made so welcome, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people.
Try starting a Hangout of your own in your friends circle, the worst thing that can happen is that no one will join in and you have the option of deleting the entry from your stream if you don’t want to look like ‘Billy no mates’.
Very straightforward to use with a handy chat facility within the application so you can share links etc, it’s quite addictive really.
Go on – give it a go, I look forward to seeing you there :-)
One final tip (I know that makes 11 but think of this as a Top 10+) courtesy of Sunil who you can find on Google+ atÂ http://gplus.to/Sunil - get yourself a short URL, much better than that long string of numbers you were given, find out how at Tech18. (You might also want to check this post and comment thread to see the pros + cons on this one – sorry comments can only be viewed if you are have a Google+ account!)
If you want to let everyone know on Twitter/ Facebook etc that you have arrived on Google+ then just copy the URL from your profile page into your Tweet or update.
So what do you make of Google+ so far, what do you like and what would like to see added? Please do let me have your comments and any other practical tips you might have.
There are so many areas I haven’t yet explored but I hope you find these practical tips useful when you start out and that they help you to enjoy your Google+ experience. I have added these tips in good faith but be sure to check out the very useful Help pages that Google has supplied where you will find all of the detailed information that you need.
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*Google+ Icon – bold perspective