Time will tell how much staying power Google+ has, but for the moment, Facebook is still the most used social network and established blogs are still something that directs to and from various social networks. In the meantime, I've been banging around on the site and searching for tips on how to best use Google+.
Here's what I've found so far (and feel encouraged to throw in other tips in the comments below):
- Complete your profile. As with all social networks, please complete as much of your profile as possible. This makes it easy for others to understand who you are and if you're of interest to them.
- Build your connections wisely. Don't just start circling people haphazardly. Search for useful connections you know from the real world and other social networks. Invite friends and family to join you.
- Circle people with a purpose. Google doesn't do "friending" or "following," but "circling." Here's my best advice on cirlces: Think about how you want to take information "in" and push information "out" when creating circles and placing users in circles. For instance, some of my circles include "Poets," "Publishers," "Publications," and "Media Gurus."
- The +1 button = Like. If you like something someone has to say, you can "plus one" them.
- Share the good stuff. As with Facebook, you can share the information that you really like, and you can share that information with the specific circles or everyone.
- Mute specific posts. If you want to block a post, but not a specific person completely, you can do that. Each post has a little options menu on the right-hand side of the post that allows you to mute the specific post.
- Tag friends in posts. As with Twitter and Facebook, you can use the at-sign (@) to tag friends on Google+.
- Double check privacy settings. This is just a good idea any time you join a social network. I'm a proponent of sharing as much as possible, but still... To check the privacy settings, click the options icon in upper right of page, click "Google+ Settings" and select the "profile and privacy" tab.
- Experiment with hangouts. The hangouts part of the site is basically a video feed. You can invite G+ friends to join you. Early uses for this feature have included tutorials, music performances, and, of course, just hanging out and talking online.
- Follow your interests. Sort of like following feeds on Twitter, you can follow specific search terms using the Sparks feature of G+. To use, click on Sparks (on the left-hand toolbar). Then, perform a search on a topic or two. If you find a feed you'd like to save, click the "Add interest" button. For instance, you could create a feed of "Google+ Tips."
- Stop the e-mails! One thing I did not like about starting my account was that I started receiving a bunch of e-mail notifications anytime anything happened on G+. I put a stop to that by doing this: First, click the options icon in upper right hand corner of page; click "Google+ Settings"; select the "Google+" tab; and unselect any notifications you do not want to receive by e-mail. For instance, I unchecked them all.
Am I abandoning all of my other social media accounts? No way.
I'm cautiously optimistic that Google+ may become my favorite social media site, but it's not like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all of a sudden completely useless. In fact, Facebook is still the top dog, though they better be looking over their shoulders.
Want to connect with me? Here's where I'm at on:
Want to make a difference with your social networking? Don't chase numbers; build relationships. Here are a few resources to help:
- Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms: The Guide to Establishing Credibility and Accelerating Relationships, by Michelle Golden
- Relationships 101, by John C. Maxwell
- Huge Profits With a Tiny List: 50 Ways to Use Relationships to Increase Your Bottom Line, by Connie Ragen Green