How To Use GooglePlus - a short tutorial on how to sign up for, comment on, use photos and find alike interests on the social network, Google+.
Last year, I wrote a Google+ For Dummies post. Since that time, G+ has exploded with users. That means a lot of new people come onto G+ every day. And some find it daunting. How do you use GooglePlus? How do I find people to follow? Do I have to follow people? What exactly is Google+ all about?
Google defines G+ as their “social layer”. They use it to index website posts, to identify faces on photographs, to tie together your online presence basically.
Setting up a G+ account is easy.
First things first: sign up for Google+. If you have a Gmail account, Youtube, Picasa, basically anything that Google owns, you already have an account.
Set up your profile if you don’t have one from Gmail. And, edit your settings preferences on who can see what, send you email, comment, etc.
I also urge you to take the short tour when you begin. It will make Google+ much easier to understand.
Now head over to Google+ and look up your interests! The easiest way to do this is through a hashtag. Just type in anything you’d like to find at the top bar…
I typed in the word “deals”, click the blue search icon, and got a stream full of people who used #deals (the # is a hash, the word is a tag, #+ a word = hashtag) or just the word “deals”!
If this is my interest, I’d want to follow and explore those folks that looked interesting. I can either lump everyone together “following” for me, or I can make a circle that says “deals” or “deal bloggers” or “this is my circle for deals” or whatever you’d like to call it.
The beauty of following people? Every single last person or business you follow will show up in your stream!
The dropdown menu on your left has a lot of great things to explore:
The very bottom is your settings. This is everything from the notifications you receive to who sees your posts to your location and more. Take care to have your posts public if you want everyone to see what you post, share privately if you do not.
This one is great to have checked:
If you have to hashtags checked, G+ will automatically add up to three for you in a post, relating to the words you used in your post. Hashtag explanation.
The people dropdown is a list of who you are following, who is following you, recommendations on who to follow and your gmail contacts.
The communities dropdown is communities you belong to, and suggested communities to join based on your interests. While communities are great ways to find like minded people, remember you need to be in the community to share the post you find there.
G+ keeps track of your photos too.
Exploring all the dropdowns will give you a better idea of all that G+ can do for you, and how it keeps track of you. Always something to keep in mind online. G+ updates their menus, look of G+ and functions on occasion. Surprisingly, they have usually made for a better user experience.
GooglePlus is not facebook. And that is a good thing. GooglePlus is where strangers with common interests come together as adults to share and learn. If a topic interests you, click the hashtag. You’ll get a stream full of people using the word or hashtag! Like a suggested community? Join it! That is where you will find people with likes and passions similar to yours. As you get into Google+, people will invite you to join their community!
The joy of common interests.
If you post on Google+, upload the photo from your computer, your albums, drop and drag, select. Google makes sharing a photograph simple. The photo capture attention of those in your stream. Google+ is very visual. Just like Pinterest.
Once you upload that photo, rotate it, crop it, …
Or add text to the photo!
You can share a Google+ post by clicking the action arrow. The post will open allowing you to write on the top of your share and add hashtags if you like.
The +1 is a “like”. As a blogger I have to say, like once, like often!
If you flip around the options menu in the upper right, you can see exactly who +1s, shared, where the post went, and more!
If you want to capture someone’s attention by tagging them, the @ symbol plus their name will do it for you!
Comments are entered below the post. A great feature for many people is you can reply to Google+ from your Gmail when you receive a comment notification! What could be easier?
Comments made on G+ about a shared youtube video are automatically posted to youtube underneath that video. At this time, to comment or upload to youtube you must have a G+ account.
The latest statistic I could find from last October lists 540 million active monthly users. In two years. No other social media has grown as quickly.
Google+ was launched in 2011 as a beta test, and is now three years old. Google has tied search, youtube, Gmail and more to Google+, and it looks like G+ is here to stay. GooglePlus for users is the best of the other large social networks in one location: the community of facebook, the visual of pinterest, and the searchability of hashtags on twitter.
Note: Google Plus is frequently referred to as GooglePlus, Google+, G+ and Google Plus. Google’s own G+ account uses Google+
For bloggers and brands GooglePlus is essential for business promotion. Next week I will share the whys and wherefores of GooglePlus for business.
Do you use GooglePlus? Do you like it? Have questions? What would you add to this tutorial to help someone get started on Google+?
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