Are You Using Google + Yet?
Google + has now been around for a couple of months and gaining in popularity.
Many people are jumping on Google + in the hopes that this will turn out to be bigger and better than Facebook.
Wouldn’t you have liked to be in at the beginning of Facebook?
Google + has many social features and is very easy to use.
Google + basically consists of various social products and features.
• Stream - a newsfeed
• Sparks - recommendation engine
• Hangouts – video chat feature
• Huddle – group texting service
• Circles – a way of managing your friends
The main difference with Google + is that you are putting your name and face out in the community. You cannot hide behind a mask!
Currently the only way to access Google + is to be invited to join.
Apparently this is only a temporary restriction and will be lifted when Google + is made available to everyone.
Another important note is that a business cannot register for an account. If you do your account will be disabled.
This is purely because Google is coming out with a platform that is intended for businesses.
This will include new features and tabs directly aimed at your business.
That is not to say however, that a representative cannot sign up for an individual account and start promoting what you have to offer.
They would do this by registering their account and including a link to the business website.
Once you have accepted your invitation you can begin to set up your Google + profile.
You will see that your profile page has six tabs.
5. + 1’s
The About tab is important and is the place where you can add lots of information.
You can add your occupation, employment, bragging rights, places you have lived, gender, relationship status, links and your education.
The link field inside your About tab is where you can add custom URL to any websites you wish.
You will notice that Google will suggest URL’s for you to add but you can include a custom link by doing the following.
• Click on add link
• Enter the name of the site and the URL
• If this site is about you click the box that says ‘specifically about me’
• Click save.
• If you wish to re-organize your links just drag and drop into the appropriate order.
From your home page on Google + you will want to navigate to the upper right hand corner and click on the Settings button.
There are several useful and important links inside this section.
• Account Overview
• Profile and Privacy
• Google +
• Data Liberation
• Connected Accounts
The data liberation link is the link to use should you wish to cancel your account.
Google has made it very easy for you to do this if you choose.
This link allows you to download all your contact information before cancelling your account.
Or for just saving this information to your hard drive.
The connected accounts feature allows you to connect your Google + account to your mobile phone without using an app.
You can also set how and when you would like to be notified of alerts sent to your account.
Google Circles is probably the part that you will use most often to organize your contacts.
Using circles you can easily organize your contacts into groups.
This can be family, friends, co-workers or even people you dislike! Then when you post a message you simply choose which circles receive your message.
If you think about this feature for a moment it can be extremely powerful!
If you have a business or offer a service you can set up specific circles.
If you offer a service then you can create a customer list circle and send only them information and offers pertaining to your business.
You could even create a customer service circle and direct people to this circle when asking questions.
How about creating a newsletter circle and sending a reminder whenever your letter is mailed out to them. This could help improve your open rates immensely.
On your circle page Google will suggest people that you can add to your circles. To add someone simply drag and drop them into your circle.
You can also import your address list from your Yahoo, Hotmail and your desk top.
Facebook contacts simply save them first into your Yahoo account and then import from Yahoo into Google.
Another great idea for a circle is to make a circle called Drafts or Notes.
Then you can simply keep all your notes, drafts, to do lists and more in one easy to find location. This circle would act as your filing cabinet.
With some social sites keeping your business separate from your family and friends is not always easy.
With Google Circles you can have all your family and friends in one or two circles. Then when you wish to share something personal such as a private photo you can.
You simply select to share with your selected circles and no-one else can see your content.
Plus your family doesn’t have to be bothered with all your business messages and mailings.
Google Photos allows you to upload and store all your photos in one easy place. The Your Album section is kept private until you choose to share it. Here you can easily store all the pictures you like.
Google has also given you the ability to edit your photos once you have uploaded them. This includes editing the contrast and adjusting the black and white levels.
The Google Stream feature is basically a news feed that is shared by members of a circle.
You will see what other people are posting and this can include text, videos or photos. You have the ability to edit your posts once you have shared them.
Another cool feature can be found by clicking on the small drop down arrow next to a post.
You can link to this post, report it for abuse, block the person or mute the post. Muting the post can be helpful if one person tends to post too many things each day.
Especially if you don’t wish to read or view them all, by using the mute button you can shrink their post and view other messages on your stream.
When sharing a post you need to choose who can see the content. If you choose specific circles such as your family and friends then your post will be seen as Limited.
If you don’t mind who sees your post then you can select Public sharing.
The Google Sparks feature is known as a content recommendation search engine. By typing your interests into the search bar a list of results will be displayed.
By clicking on the add button this interest will be pinned underneath your Sparks link. This way it will be easy to find again.
You can also share this information with your circles if you wish.
The Google Hangout feature is set to become one of the best features on Google +.
A hangout is a place where you can invite up to ten people to come and chat via video with you.
The first time you access this feature you will be asked to download a small piece of software just as you do with any webinar or chat tool.
During your hangout session the camera automatically goes to whoever is talking. Plus you can also watch a YouTube video at the same time.
You can easily adjust your camera and mic settings inside Google Hangouts.
This feature has many large businesses eager to get started with Google +.
They are seeing Google Hangouts as a way to offer in person, live customer service to their customers.
It can also be used by anyone with a business to show a behind the scenes look at your company.
Google is currently spending lots of time and money on Google +.
They intend to make it better and bigger than Facebook and easier to use. They are reportedly working on adding a gaming section to Google + along with a fantastic business platform.
Google + is still new and users must just wait and see what the future will bring. In a very short time over 20 million users have joined Google + which is a good sign.
If you would like to get set up with Google + but don’t have an invite let me know and I will be happy to send one out to you.
Learn so much here about social networking including How to use Google Plus / G+
Do you use social networking tools like Google Plus for your business?
Is Google+ one of your favorite tools?
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