Now, I don't profess to be a master at social media - however I do think I'm pretty fly at the social part. This morning I jumped into a Twitter chat (as I obviously can't help myself) with a couple of people discussing how they they have no idea how Google+ works, or even what it really is.
I for one am a massive advocate of Google. I love their design thought process and output, as well as their whole ethos when it comes to making products or services for people like you and me. As bloggers it's crucial we use everything we can in our arsenal to get ourselves out there and accessible to as many people as we can.
So, I thought I'd throw together a quick and easy guide with the help of Google's own videos to shed a little light on how to get started with this pretty awesome, mostly forgotten social network. I love the videos Google make and they will probably make a lot more sense than I do - so sit back, good luck and enjoy!
1 - Create Your Profile
For this you will need to sign up for a Google account. Chances are you already have one! If you use Blogger, Youtube, or any of the other services that Google provides - you can go ahead and use that account. Just like any social media you'll need a profile picture, cover photo, and a few personal details to tell the world who you are!
2 - Circles
Circles is where Google have made themselves unique from the likes of Twitter and Facebook. So like Facebook - you aren't restricted to a short word limit, and like Twitter you aren't restricted to just engaging intuitively with people you're friends with. You can make as many circles as you want and add people to them. Then, when you share updates you have the choice to share them publicly, or targeted - straight to a specific circle. (you can even set it so that they will get an email, too. Just don't be spammy!!)
3 - Join a Community
Google+ has a community for just about everything - you can even make your own! Most are public however some will require you to apply to join. They're great for chatting with like-minded people and personally, I find people in them a lot more friendly than those you find on Facebook pages.
4 - Photos
A lot of phones now support auto-backup of photos. Personally, I think Google+ does this way better than any other service like it. Amongst a whole ream of editing features and wacky special effects you can do, I'd say the biggest advantage 'Photos' has is again the ability to share specific albums to individual Circles. For instance you could pop all your new born baby photos into an album and it to your 'Family' circle.
5 - Hangouts
I love Hangouts! It's basically video to video chat - but you aren't limited to just 1 person. For example, I am a massive fan of Youtuber Mamrie Hart and she often does 'Happy Hour' Hangouts, which allow you to video link with her and chat away -- it's such a good feature to be more connected to your fans. Being linked to Youtube, too, it's such an effective way to reach an enormous audience straight from either your personal or business page.
6 - Events
My absolute favourite part of Google+ and something I think bloggers should utilise a hell of a lot more. I use it all the time with my family. So with Google+ events you can send out a dynamic invitation to people you're circled with, public or even people via email/url link. You can attach all the details and map location to the event and it becomes it's own mini stream. The best part about it is that if you have Google+ installed on your phone you can set up instant upload. This means that when you are at a scheduled event, any photos you take get uploaded straight to the event album!! Something that I'm sure you happy snappers like me would love.
7 - Pages
So lastly, Pages. Now I have to admit I've literally only just set up my Page for That Gent (here) as I've just been using my personal page to promote the blog. After a bit more research I've seen how important it is as a channel for people to connect to your blog with and have it's own page.
So there you have it! To finish off I thought I'd pop up a case study of how Topshop have been using Google+ and maybe it'll give you a bit of inspiration on what you could potentially do with it!
Let me know if this was of any help and if you create a page send me a link!