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September 26, 2011 / jasonpinto

Three Tips for Getting Started with Google+

Google Plus App Screenshot

Google+ has certainly been creating buzz in the social networking world for a few months now. However, because it was in an invitation-only/beta mode for most of that time, I believe that its growth potential had a cap.

However, Google recently started to change that policy. People no longer need an invitation to create join the social network — it’s now available to anyone that has a free Google account.

I do think that change will help to further increase Google+ adoption. If you decide to take the step to give it a try, here are three tips that may help you to get more out of the experience:

Take the Time to Fill out Your Profile

One of the bigger complaints that I’ve heard from people that have dabbled with Google+ is that there’s “nothing happening there”. Yes, of course, your Google+ stream will most likely not be able to compete with your Facebook Wall for awhile in terms of activity. You will need to actively find and follow other people. But before we talk about that, it’s important to talk about this — what can you do to make it easy for people to find you? Also, what can you do so that people will want to follow you?

One of the biggest things involved in accomplishing those items is to fill out your Google+ profile.

Google provides a number of fields that can help you to truly tell your story. These include Introduction, Bragging Rights, Employment, Occupation, Education, Places Lived, etc.

Also, you can use pictures to share information about yourself to others. Of course, this includes your Profile picture. But beyond that, you can upload other photos that will appear to people that view your profile.

Taking the few moments to share relevant information about yourself through those fields and features may increase the chances that other Google+ users will find and follow your profile.

Search for People to Follow

Google+ allows you to find people through the main Search box at the top of the page. You can certainly search for people by name. Also, you can search for people by specific keywords through that field. For example, you could type the words “printing” into the Search box, click Enter, and then search under the “People” tab to find people that may have that term somewhere in their profile.

There are certainly far less people on Google+ than there are on Twitter and Facebook. Thus, I would encourage that you be willing to follow a wide variety of folks — not just people that you know offline or that are in your industry.

Of course, the more people that you follow, the busier your stream will get. One way to deal with that is to take advantage of Google+’s Circles feature. Google provides some default circles, but you can also create your own. This will enable you to better classify your online friends into how your mind may classify them.

As Google+ becomes more popular and people start sharing more information there, the Circles feature may enable you to still maximize the value that can come from the network.

Be Committed to Share and Comment Beyond 140 Characters

I admit it — I’m still figuring out how much I should share on Google+. Also, I’m still trying to determine what exactly I should share. But I have noticed this: many people are finding success with their Google+ posts by taking advantage of the fact that the character limit is well beyond what many other social networks offer.

Twitter and Facebook have forced many people to cut down on the words that they would typically use to make an observation or share an article. And in some cases, that’s a good thing! However, there are some subjects that need to have a more in-depth conversation around them. Google+ certainly allows for this.

Along with expanding on your thoughts when you share content there, you can also provide longer and more insightful comments when you engage with someone else’s posts as well.

A lot of people have noted that they are seeing much higher engagement levels on Google+ than they do on Facebook and Twitter. This is certainly not because they have similar user levels! Rather, I do think that having the ability to really express your thoughts a bit more is contributing to that.

Moving Forward

If you do get on Google+ in the near future, I hope that you enjoy it. Please feel free to connect with me there!

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