All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go?
This guide is for those who already have a Google Plus account.
When Google Plus was first launched, it seemed too complicated (to me). The circles, hangouts and communities were too much to sort out and organize. Sorting laundry is enough work for me.
Forget all that - you can post your work and become a social butterfly before setting up any of those groups.
One of the key advantages that G+ has over Facebook is that you don't need a bunch of friends to make an impact. In business, you need to have reach - bombarding your friends with posts isn't likely to accomplish it (you might even lose some friends doing that).
In fact, I find G+ less obtrusive than Facebook. I especially like that you have control over what and who you read. After participating in a forum thread on InfoBarrel, I decided to throw together this pictorial guide to get you feeling comfortable using Google Plus. (This is by no means an expert guide).
If you need help getting started and want a tour of every feature, I highly recommend you check out: Welcome to the Google+ Help Center.
Accessing Your G+ Page
There are probably other ways to get into your G+ profile and stream, but here's what I do:
"You can always add an alternate email address to your account. That way, you can sign in to your Google Account with either your alternate email address or your primary Gmail address."
After I open a new tab, I just click on my avatar (upper right hand corner of my screen) and hit "View profile" (shown in the blue box, above photo).
Once you've done that, a new page opens up (see next photo).
View profile as "Yourself" to Share What's New
I Don't Have a Twitter Account
but G+ automatically tries to hashtag your posts
You Can Access Your Options Menu Anytime
Sometimes I Don't See All Options (esp. Ripples)
Perhaps it depends on whether or not it makes waves
Obviously, I Don't Mind Making Waves
Next (and here's where the fun truly begins) you need to get out there and be a social butterfly. I know, I know, I'd rather sit at the singles table and sip wine too. But, there are plenty of easy ways Google has paved a path for you to the A-list and you can stop the trolls in their path (without ever having to do more than push a button).
Only Dance with Those YOU Like for a Change
Click on the Profile button shown at top left of your G+ page.
Click on Home (the Profile button becomes the Home button when you click on it, actually). Then you'll be swimming in the stream. You can view all the posts of the people and communities that you follow.
I caution you to not select everything. Only choose the ones that truly interest you, otherwise it's like getting every section of a newspaper to weed through until you get the section you really want. For me, it's like making me read the sports section before I can check out the comic strips.
Remember: you can always remove yourself from groups, people, or associations at any time.
Follow people, businesses and other publications/media that you enjoy.
Soon enough, Google will show a little reminder box in your stream with communities or things "trending" that might interest you. But not the big "suggested posts" you see on Facebook. You can easily ignore these.
What I like is there is no outside pressure (from others) to follow and like certain things. You are left alone to "read the paper" so to speak.
E.g. I Follow Funny Technology and Forbes
Silence the Trolls and Keep them Out
Without ever having to write one word to them
Here's an example (I hid the identity of the person who posted this who was a "moderator" in some community). The words "sl*t" and "b*tch" were used in this cartoon (which I found offensive). I chose to show a small portion of this cartoon.
Remember That Down Arrow? (Top Right)
Click on it and you can select "Report this post"
This Prompt Appears
I smudged out the name of who posted that cartoon
If You Click on "Something Else" Google Asks
What's wrong with this post?
After I Clicked on "Something Else"
I chose it's hateful towards a group (women)
The Beauty of This System of Reporting
In the past, I only flagged posts, but I found the same people were posting the same junk.
Or worse, they were becoming even more abusive online.
Finally, I figured out that after I reported him or her, I could simply Block so-and-so from my stream.
Google Tells You What Blocking Does
I smudged out this person's identity and avatar
Click on "Block" and You'll See This
Again, I've obscured this person's avatar and name
What's it going to take to get noticed by Google? A lot. There are simply too many of us online.
If you want to make space on the first few pages of Google for quality work (like yours), it's not enough to just ignore the garbage and "not feed the trolls."
We need to report it and block it.
Even though Google Authorship is gone, Google Author Rank remains. Your individual patterns online are easy for Google to track. The Big G knows who are playing by the rules and who are pushing the limits.
You don't need multiple accounts and identities (these will, in fact, work against you).
Concentrate on quality and only boost quality work. You don't need to "like and share" the work of others online - really. Even if it's your Aunt Blah-Blah (do that on Facebook).
Oh and hey, at first Google Plus might feel alien or lonely to you. But after a few weeks, it'll be one of your favourite social media hangouts. You might even feel as good about it as the Yip Yip aliens eventually did after they discovered radio.