If you’re still baffled by Google+ then worry not….you are not alone! 3 years after it awkwardly appeared onto the social media scene, the network continues to create controversy and confusion, and works to do little more than confuse the living daylights out of most of us! However, help is here! We have compiled this beginners guide to help you get the most out of Google+, with its shiny features its very easy to get lost, spending hours roaming the site with very little to show for it!
Even with its bad press, Google+ has gained an impressive 359 million monthly active users and is constantly bettering and updating its features in an attempt to stand out form the crowd.
Once you’ve added your account, Google+ allows you to follow people, much like Twitter, and categorise them into ‘Circles’. These may range from Friends, Work, Interests etc. and you can share specific content with certain circles. People will be notified once they have been added to your circles t prompt them to follow you back.
This Google+ home screen shows you photos, posts, videos and everything else you contacts may be posting! On the left hand side you will see a drop down of all the areas within the Google platform, such as communities and Events etc. Down the right hand side are your hangouts, which we will cover later! On the home stream you can +1 other people’s content, which works much like a Facebook like, share or comment on them. You can filter the posts on your home screen via your circles using the bar at the top of the screen, making it much easier to find what specific contacts are saying!
Much like Facebook, when you share an update on Google+ you can choose who you share it with, be this a specific group of people or with the whole public. You can also tag individual companies or people in your posts to bring a topic to their attention; they will then get a notification letting them know that they have been tagged in a post. With this in mind, a post shared with a specific group of people acts much like a Private message and only allows those specific few to read your update.
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This is one of the most popular features on the Google+ platform and is the only real feature that makes it stand out amongst its competitors. Hangouts is where you can video call your connections, either as a group chat or as private conversations. Google position it as a way to “Turn one-on-one or group conversations into live face-to-face video calls with up to 10 people at once. Catch up with friends and family even when you’re on the go, all for free.” Now, with the new Uberconference app you can dial into your Google Hangouts from your phone and host a call with up to 100 people, making the complicated world of conference calls a whole lot easier!
This is where you are able to find discussion surrounding specific topics that are of interest to you. There is a community for nearly everything, and we’ve certainly stumbled across some of the weird and the wonderful! This allows you to join in conversations with people with similar interests- be this social media, travel, animals, fashion…the list really is endless! All you need to do is the request to join and you can create and join in discussion ‘till your hearts content!
This works much like a Facebook event and allows business or individuals to raise awareness surrounding an upcoming occasion. This may be a conference, webinar or even the office party! And the best part? Being Google, this is linked to your Google calendar so you never have to worry about forgetting an event! The downside, you now need to think of a better excuse for missing those office do’s! To create an even, click on the left sidebar and when you get on the events page, simply click on ‘Create Event’ to get organising! If this is a top-secret do, then you can choose who sees the event, much like with your posts, allowing you to share it with a specific group of people! Handy ey!
The explore button on the top tool bar is another excellent feature which sets it apart from its many competitors. This section allows you to see what subjects, topics and hashtags are currently trending on the site. This section also suggests similar hashtags for your future posts, as well as any communities or posts that it feels you may be interested in! In an attempt to rival Twitter, Google+ really has gone all out with hashtags allowing you to see why they are trending.
So, this is a whistle-stop tour of Google+, to explain all its features we really would be here all week! These are the basics to get you off the ground but make sure you take some time to explore the site and get the hang of its many features. We are still undecided about Google+ and if you want to read why, make sure you check out our previous posts.
Once you’ve got the hang of Google+, here is an excellent video from Chris Brogan to show you how it can be used to really benefit your business…. However, with all its controversy and privacy breaches is Google+ really worth the hassle? Make sure you let us know how you get on!
Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.
Image Credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham via flickr