A quick start guide to Google+

Over on Google+, Alex Garcia put together a pretty awesome quick start guide for G+ that deserved some sharing. However, I know some of you aren’t sure enough where to start that sending a direct link wouldn’t necessarily be helpful, and that it could use a little bit of expanding. If you’ve been interested in seeing what Google+ is all about, but had no clue where to go or what to do when you first signed in, read on.

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Level 1: Fill out your profile.

First impressions really count. Pick a photo. Share a little more information than just gender.

Level 2: Start building your personal circles.

Choose “People” from the left menu. You will get options to search contacts from your email accounts, classmates (if you added schools), coworkers (if you added workplaces), other connections. If you find nobody, send some invitations to let your friends know that you are exploring Google+. Click here to see Alex’s profile, and add him to a circle (so you can see other cool stuff like this as he posts it).

Level 3: Create some PUBLIC posts that represent what interests you.

These posts will show in your “posts” tab in your profile. The main purpose of this step is that when you start adding strangers they will visit your profile and look at a “posts” tab that is not empty. Anything you would normally share on other social media is fine here, and you can select what type of content (image, link, video) when you click the “Share what’s new” box. The most important part is to be sure that your “To” field has “Public” in it. If it doesn’t include Public in that field, it will only be visible to people you’ve put into circles.

Level 4: Time to join the party.

Start typing one of your interests in the Google+ searchbox (just below the black bar). Choose communities from the top menu. When you find one that looks interesting click the “Join Community” or “Accept Invitation” button.

Read the posts. +1 the ones you like. Write comments longer than 1 word. And add the people that sound interesting to the appropriate circle. You can start with a circle named after the community, so later you will now why you added someone. There will be time later to organize and re-arrange your circles. When you post to communities, make sure you post in the appropriate category.

Level 5: Building your audience.

As you proceed through the previous step, people will start visiting your profile. Then decide to add you or not. Google+ is a unilateral platform. You decide who to follow and people will do the same.

Level 6: Activity in the home page (stream).

Now that you are following some people your stream will fill up with their posts. Reshare those posts that deserve a +1. Keep expanding your circles by searching and exploring other things that interest you.

Level 7: Let your voice be heard.

By now you should have a small audience. Publish a few posts and see your followers reaction. When they +1, comment or reshare your post, thank them. Don’t be surprised if people that you don’t know are participating in your public posts. In Google+ there is no need to accept strangers. They don’t gain any special access to your privacy. They are reading your PUBLIC posts.

Level 8: Explore other options.

Participate in Hangouts. Create a page for your business. Go Local if you have a business physical location. Organize events. Create YouTube channels. Play Music. Play games. Enjoy! Learn and expand your horizon. There’s a whole world to discover.

If you found this helpful, be sure to follow Alex on Google+. Questions? Post them as comments. You may leave a comment using either your Google+ or Facebook credentials by selecting the appropriate tab below.