For all that I believe the world has all discovered and become settled into Google+, I’ve heard that lots of people have yet to find their footing in there, and haven’t really set up a home. First off, if you’re still looking for an invite, there are lots and lots and lots of people who have free invites. Just search Twitter for #plusinvites, and you’ll find lots of URLs to pick from.
But then what?
Start Now on Google+ : Start With Your Profile
First off, go to your profile page. Click the red “About” Link (2nd one in), and click the blue “Edit Profile” button in the corner. Put in a photo. Add some information to your “introduction.” Add some (but not a lot) of links to the links area to the right.
And then, this is really important, where it says “Employment” (not occupation), put something REALLY interesting in the “current” one that lets people know who you are, what you do, and where. This is probably the most important part of profile editing that people don’t know much about. Why is it so important? Because when someone sees your name anywhere on Google+ and they hover their mouse over that content, that’s what they see as the representation of you. That little bit of text explains who you are to them at a glance. Don’t write a novel. Just, don’t leave it blank or put something lame there. It’s a power move. (hint: that’ll be in my new book.)
Everything else in your profile section is up to you.
Create New Circle Structures
Circles are how you group and organize people on Google+. Your circles are here. The first thing MOST people do is rename these circles into something more useful. For instance, if you want to follow local people, and you live in Charlotte, NC, then make a circle called “Wilbur.” If you want to build a circle of people who post great amounts of interesting and useful data, like myself and Robert Scoble and Chris Pirillo, make a circle called “Loudmouths.” Make sure you do this step. Organizing people LATER is a big pain in the butt, and it is important to put people into lists that match your interests and needs. Call them what you want. Editing circles is reasonably easy. If you get stuck, ask us in the comments. Someone (maybe even me) will walk you through it.
Find People to Circle
Now, find interesting people to connect with on Google+. I have a few ways for you to do this. Go to FindPeopleOnPlus.com, for one. There’s also group.as. Those are great for just striking out into the wild to look for people.
Once you add a few interesting people, go to THEIR profile page and see who they’ve added to circles. Now, you’re finding some interesting people. I call this “friendsurfing.” This, to me, is where the cool stuff happens. Once you find someone interesting, like Mahei Foliaki (you know him as @iconic88 on Twitter), or Ben Kunz, or whoever makes you cheery. There are celebs and things, but their list of people followed are normally lame. Besides, Ben and Mahei are my kind of celebs. One more for your list: Glenda Watson Hyatt.
Post Interesting Things
You can create 4 types of posts in Google+:
- Link posts.
- Video posts.
- Photo posts.
- Location posts.
You can write a post and offer a link to something interesting (like your latest blog post). You can upload a photo and write something to go along with it. You can point to YouTube videos or upload a video (terribly slow, even on my amazingly fast Comcast service). And you can post location information, if that’s your thing. (It is not my thing.)
Sharing is Caring
The other thing you can do is share other people’s interesting posts. There’s a “share” button below most posts. That lets you find the good stuff and share it with your growing community. One point: If someone else has shared something, and you see it in your stream, and then you decide to share it, it’s nice form to credit the person who shared it with you via the text above the share. (So, if Chris posts a funny photo, and Dave shares it, and then Margie finds it in Dave’s stream and decides to share it, Margie clicks share, and says “found via Dave” in the text). Make sense? It’s a nice thing to do.
Comments Are All the Rage
The advantage that Google+ has over Twitter is the comments. People are having really great time contributing to really good conversations in the comments sections. Comments on photos are just amazing, and in other forms, it depends on what you’re putting out, but people seem to really enjoy the back and forth. As I say about blogging, I’ll say about Google+: try to be the #1 commenter on your account. Respond as often as you can.
Try a Hangout
Last, but not least, try a live video Hangout. They are pretty fun. You can do some fun things with them. Aaron Smith does Bible study with his. John Herman does a game show with his. Michael Dell (yes, THAT Michael Dell) does all kinds of conversations with his. It’s really a great way to see what Google+ might be able to do for you as a platform, I believe.
So Go Forth And Plus
The reasons to love Google+ are that it’s clean, it’s fast, it’s useful, people are very engaged, and it’s got a strong boost to your searchability (I know that’s not a word) built right in. It’s fast-paced sometimes, and yes, there are a few too many animated cat gifs floating around, but I think that’s just us clearing the lines for something truly new, interesting and amazing.
Oh, and if you want to connect with me on Google+, I’m right here. Love to get talking with you there soon.