Saturday, July 14, 2012
What Can Google+ Do For YOU - Part 2 (circles)
Welcome to part 2 of my series on Google+ (G+). Today I will be talking about G+ "circles"....what they are and how to use them. I'll also introduce you to some other G+ features, like the Google+ badge and the +1 button.
By this time, you've probably gotten your G+ account and profile set up. If not, go back to part one of the series to read how to do it. You can read it here.
When I started writing this series, I made an outline so I would be sure to include all of the features of G+. By the time I finished the outline, I quickly realized that this series was going to be way too long and would probably make G+ seem more complicated than it is. So I cut out the things that I thought you could discover on your own once you've "gotten your feet wet" on the important stuff...like circles.
One of the best ways to understand "circles" is to substitute the word with "groups". G+ circles are simply groups of people/businesses/blogs that you follow or that follow you. They are the reason why I love G+ so much. You can use these circles (groups) to choose who to share your information with and whose information that you see.
When you create a circle (group) it's best to organize them by how you relate to them. For example, I have my family in one circle, my high school friends in one circle, my bloggy friends in one circle, online magazines in one circle, etc. The best analogy that I can think of is the different boards (groups of pictures) that you can form on Pinterest. It's just a way of organizing.
Now for the best part about circles. Once you have everybody in their own little circle (group), then you get to choose what they can see from your G+ page. Everything from the details on your "about" page to what you post. For example, I use my G+ page for everything...my personal information, contacts (family and close friends) and my blog. I can let my family and close friends see my "about" page's personal information while only letting businesses see my occupation and employment.
How? Click "Edit Profile" at the top of your profile page to set the circles (groups) that you want to see certain parts of your profile information. To chose what circle can see what you post, click the options bar that appears at the bottom of the post. Chose the circle(s) that you want to see your post, then click "share".
Or....use circles the opposite way. You can chose what you want to see. You can choose to read the posts from a certain circle. For example, suppose you only want to read posts by family or close friends and nothing else. You can choose to view only those posts. How? Go to your "home" page and look at the top. You'll see a bar that lists all of your circles...it looks something like this:
Simply click the circle (group) that you want to see. Now, only the posts by that circle (group) will be shown. It's that easy.
Before I end this post, I want to tell you about two important G+ tools that can be very beneficial to your blog growth. I will tell you how to add them to your blog now, then explain how they work next week.
First, place a "G+ badge" on your blog. The G+ badge will provide blogs, businesses and organizations a quick and easy way to add you to their circles. This can be very beneficial to your blog so make sure it's in a visible place on your sidebar (preferably near the top).
If you are on Blogger, it's super easy. Just go to your blog's layout page, click on "add a gadget" on your sidebar and the "Google+ badge" option will appear in the gadget choices box. If you want to add it manually, go to this link to find out how.
The next thing is adding a G+ share button to your blog. The +1 button can improve your blog's visibility in Google search applications. I will talk more about this next week but for right now, get it ready to use on your blog. This is also very easy in Blogger. Again, go to your blog's layout and choose the "+1 button" in the gadget window.
Part 3 of this G+ series will be about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and what role your G+ page has in it. Don't forget, at the end of this series, on August 4th, I will team up with 5 other blogs to bring you a G+ blog hop. So set up your circles and get ready to fill them up during the hop!