Are you a Google+ user? If so, you’re likely fairly new to Google’s latest attempt at a social network — or at least comparatively new to the beta users who joined Google+ when it first launched in June, 2011. Many of these early adopters have now had a chance to explore Google+ and discover the best ways to use this social network — many of whom are quick to say that it’s not really a social network, but more of a forum. If you’re new to Google+ and still finding your way around, here is some advice we’ve gleaned from other LockerGnome community members on how to not only use Google+, but how to use Google+ better.
Realize It’s Google+ — Not Facebook
One of the most common pieces of advice we heard when asked how new Google+ users could use Google+ better was that, as Google+ users Heavy Maniac and Adam Thompson said: “Google+ is not Facebook.” Adam continued to say that, as a result, “don’t try to use it as such!” Additionally, LockerGnome community member and Google+ user Derrick Wallner said, “Don’t expect it to replace or behave like Facebook. It’s not a collaboration of people who want to see pictures of your kids and you’re not going to find that girl you had a crush on in 8th grade to check out photos of her in a swimsuit.” Instead, he suggested to simply “share and find information on topics of interest.” This brings us to our next piece of advice on how to use Google+ better.
Connect with Others Who Share Your Interests
Google+ may be best defined as a social network, but its unique Circle feature allows users to connect with others based on niche topics or specifc interests. To continue the comparison to Facebook, Google+ user Adalgiso Mancini IV advised, “Don’t fret that your Facebook friends aren’t all represented here. [Instead,] fill your G+ circles with people who post about your interests, and you’ll never be dissatisfied.”
Adalgiso also recommended to “circle lots of people. There’s no harm in following hundreds or thousands of people. You can always go back through later and remove people.” He also suggested using Chrome extensions to make G+ features more accessible, thereby helping you use Google+ better, like Hangout Canopy, Better Circle Management, and Plus Minus.
Another LockerGnome community member on Google+, Brian Worhatch, shared Adalgiso’s recommendation to find other like-minded Google+ users, suggesting to “use the Search Google+Bar above [the Google+ content] to search for people and interests you have.”
Interact and Share
Once you have found other Google+ users with similar interests — and have added them to Circles to easily follow — be sure you are interacting with them. Marc Jansen, another Google+ user and LockerGnome reader, elaborates on this process:
“I think the most useful thing I can recommend is that they cannot wait for people to come to them. They need to start adding people to their circles right way, so that they do not appear to have a dead stream. After that, I think that they need to not be afraid to jump in and interact with complete strangers, because if you limit your interactions only to those you already know, your stream will still appear relatively still.”
Also, if you’re looking for exposure on Google+, Jeff Pettorino also suggets that “if you want to be an ‘influencer’ and not just a member, Public posts are a must. Limited posts have an exponentially lower impact.”
Update Your Profile
Finally, don’t forget about your profile, which many social network users tend to not take very seriously, but is a critical component of your Google+ activity. Mohammad Khatib recommends that the first thing a Google+ user actually does is “fill in their profile in order for others to add them or easily find them through searching.” Eduardo Chavez echoes this sentiment for existing users: “Fix your profile. Half of the time why I don’t circle back any of my followers is because I don’t know if they are spam or not. By writing a couple of things about themselves, [it] certainly helps distinguish real people from spam.”
Are you a Google+ user? What tips do you have for new Google+ users to use Google+ better? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.