Keep being told you need to be on Google Plus but don’t understand what you’re doing on there? Then this post is for you. When it comes to the fashion blogging community everyone seems to be explaining the benefits of the social media site but few really tell you how to use it. On every Twitter chat I’ve been on whenever the words ‘social media’ are uttered Google Plus comes up, along with the notion that it’s a labyrinth of menus that only rewards the dedicated. Which is a shame as the benefits are bountiful for bloggers. Spend a bit of ‘me time’ with it and I promise you’ll be navigating it like it’s your local luxury department store.
If you’re using Google’s ‘Blogger’ platform then you really need to start using Google Plus as slowly they’ll be tying more and more features to the social network. You can already use it as your commenting system and replace your blogger profile with a Google Plus one.
I’ve put together a pretty lengthy video tutorial showing you the main features and how to use them, if you’d prefer to watch that rather than read the post, feel free to skip to the bottom of the page.
What’s a Frickin’ Circle?
Circles are an easy way to categorise the people you’re following, by default you’re given a few to start off with such as friends, family and following. But you can edit these and create your own, separating followers by interest is a good way of organising your circles. You may want to have a circle for fashion bloggers, one for beauty and one for lifestyle bloggers. Then you can choose which posts you share to each circle group. Working on a project with other bloggers? Pop them in their own circle group and whatever you share with that circle will only be seen by them.
I recommend watching this video from Google to give you a more in depth look at getting the most out of your circle groups.
First things first, make sure you update your profile picture and your cover picture. If you’re wanting to know the resolutions I used this little website to help me. Make sure you click on your ‘about’ section and update as much information as possible. There’s nothing worse than stumbling across a profile with nothing about the person on it, pay particular attention to the ‘links’ section. At the top of your profile there’s an option to view your profile as yourself or public. Anything that you’ve shared with a particular set of people won’t show up when viewing as public. So you can breath a sigh of relief if you thought you’d just shared your most intimate secrets to the world.
One thing about Google Plus you may notice about your profile is that you don’t have a vanity url. If you want to link someone to your profile page you’ll need to copy the address which is a series of long numbers and paste it. Here’s mine for example: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116695464837702565464
The Feed is Confusing!
The feed can be a bit of a sensory overload to begin with, but once you know how to manage it you can tailor it to your liking. I view it as a mini-Pinterest but not everyone is a fan of that multi-stream view. If you click on the more tab at the very top of the feed you have the option of viewing it as a single stream.
You’ll also notice across the top there are the names of the circles you’ve created. By default the feed is set to ‘all’ but you can view your feed by circle too. So if you want to catch up on what the lifestyle bloggers have been posting, just click on the lifestyle tab, providing you’ve created that circle to begin with of course!
You can control whether posts from certain circle members show up in the feed or how often they show up. I use this to stop people that tend to spam their blog posts and clutter up my feed. But you could also use it if you wanted to see more posts from a certain set of friends.
Sharing is Sexy!
You’ve probably noticed that there is no ‘inbox’ or direct messaging section on Google Plus. That’s down to the way you can share your posts. You can do all the usual stuff like add a photo, links, video etc but you also have the option to select who you share it to. Anything that has ‘public’ selected will show up on your profile and will be viewable by everyone. But you have the option to share to certain circles or individuals. If I shared a post with just one person then only me and that person will be able to see it, hence why there’s no inbox.
Hashtags can be added to posts in the usual way, but if you forget to add one Google has your back as it will automatically find a keyword from your post and add one for you.
You can also re-share anything that appears in your feed to your followers and again choose who see’s it by selecting which circle you want to share it with. You’ll also find the +1 button next to the share button on posts in your feed, this is the equivalent of a ‘like’ on Facebook, so get +1ing!
Communities are similar to groups on Facebook where you can find people with similar interests and interact with each other. There are tons of fashion and blogging communities with lots of great content on there. But if you don’t find anything you like then why not create your own?
They’re a great place to find people to follower and gain new followers on Google Plus. Get involved in one or two groups and post some good content, don’t just spam your blog posts and you’ll quickly see your follower count go up.
Hangouts allows you to video chat, regular chat and have group conversations with friends and people you’re following. You can hide the Hangouts sidebar by clicking on the logo above it.
You can also ‘Hangout on Air’ where your video chat will be live streamed to your YouTube account. People can watch the stream as it happens live. Myself, Heather Fonseca and Anne M Bray regularly use this to host our #FBlogHangout chat where we discuss different blogging topics such as….how to use Google Plus ;-).
Check out Google’s own video for the lowdown on Hangouts.
If you want a further look into Google Plus then here’s a little video I put together for you. It’s 20 minutes in length so you may want to get comfy!
If you’re still reading then a huge thank you! I hope you’ve found the post and the video useful. If you have ANY Google Plus questions then please leave a comment and I’ll help you as best as I can.
I love reading and replying to all my comments and will click-through to say ‘hello’ and visit you on your site. I usually end up working with those of you that do comment in some capacity, whether it be a guest post or Google hangout.
Are you on Google Plus?