The second largest social network on the web is Google+, the ever-evolving “social layer” Google launched 2 years ago. The popularity of Android smartphones, the ubiquity of Gmail and the recent merger of YouTube profiles with Google+ have pushed growth in a big way. G+ offers a growing list of features and tools that can enhance your Squidoo experience and bring your audience to you in a whole new way.
Here are my tips for getting the most out of your profile and some of my favorite features for sharing and discovering top-quality content.
Getting Started – Who are you?
Setting up a Google+ profile is really easy. Google is going to want your real name for the profile. I don’t recommend pseudonyms – your profile might be removed and you could even lose access to other Google services. Instead, create a profile that’s associated with your primary Gmail address. If you haven’t created a Gmail address, you’ll want to do that first. Once you’re set up, just click your name in the upper right hand corner of the Inbox and press the blue “Join Google+” button. You can also sign in and then point your browser to plus.google.com to start creating your profile.
You’ll have the opportunity to decide what you’ll share with the public and what will stay private so don’t be shy about fleshing out your profile with information that’s for friends and family only. Google+ uses “circles” to help you control who can see what. Circles are customizable and always changeable so you’ll always be in control of what information is displayed to the public.
What do you do?
Once your profile is set up with all the details, add a recognizable headshot as your photo (preferably one you also use on Squidoo!) and sign up for Authorship.
This will let you add your name and photo to content you create online. When your lenses show up in searches, your name and photo will appear alongside, letting potential readers know that a real person created the content. It’s a great way to establish credibility and name recognition. The fastest way to get set up is to add a link to your Google+ profile to your Squidoo lensmaster profile or the about me of your lens. Then edit your Google+ profile’s “Links” section to list yourself as a “Contributor” to Squidoo and to the lenses you want to claim.
Want to hang out?
Google+ profiles provide access to communities, groups and pages that post interesting and engaging content from all over the web in a familiar “share” format, so you won’t have any trouble locating communities and groups that reflect your interests. If you’re looking for something more interactive or a more personal experience, definitely check out the Hangouts feature.
Hangouts are video conference calls hosted on the Google+ service. They’re super fast and generally easy to use. You can set up Hangouts like private conferences, but where the Hangout really shines is the “On Air” feature. These conference calls are open to observers and sometimes welcome participation.
There’s a dizzying variety of educational, social and informative Hangouts you can join or watch. There’s information on content creation, chats about hobbies, intense literary discussion and even religious services! Look for Hangouts that will help your writing, inspire you to learn more about your favorite subjects or sit in on experts talking technology for a boost to your creativity whenever you need it.
As you can see, there’s a lot of potential in an active G+ profile, so hare and post your content in a respectful fashion, make real contributions whenever possible and always be yourself, wherever you are online.
How do you use Google+ ? I’d love to hear your insights on what works for you and don’t forget to look us up on G+ and add us to your circles!