Marketers, Here’s How to Use the New Google+

Published on February 5, 2016

The rumors of the death of Google+ have been greatly exaggerated.

While many marketers feared that the service was on its way out following a series of moves by Google, including separating the social service from its other products. But those fears were a bit too much.

Instead of disappearing, Google+ has simply undergone some changes, mostly with a renewed focus on Communities and Collections. The interface for the site has changed over time, and some features that marketers once took for granted have now shifted around or been removed.

Here are a few things to know about the new Google+:

1.) How to Find What’s Missing

A few embedded features in the old Google+ now require some crafty digging to locate. To create or share an Event, you may want to toggle to the “Classic G+” mode. Hangouts is now located on its own subdomain, iPhone and Android app, or through the Air menu. Photos and Google My Business are now also located in their own unique subdomains. To edit your page or view your page insights, you will now need to click on the "My Business" button when using Google+ as your page.

2.) How to View The New Stream

Your Google+ stream will now display updates in one or two updating columns, depending on your screen’s size and resolution. The items displayed in your stream still come from updates from the people, pages, communities and collections you follow. Buttons for liking (+1, in Google parlance) and sharing across social media – including Facebook and Twitter – are located beneath each update.

It’s still easy to customize exactly what you see in your stream by going to the “People” tab, then selecting “Following” and adjusting your Circle and Community settings.

To post updates of your own from your stream, use the update box at the top left of your page, or the pencil icon on the bottom right. To set the visibility of your update – whether it’s public or only available to certain communities, circles, or just individuals – clink the link next to your name and make adjustments. You may also consider clicking on the three dots at the top right of the update box to enable or disable commenting and sharing on your posts.

3.) Editing Your Profile, Page, and Settings

The profile design for Google+ has changed in several key ways. Most notably, there are no longer tabs for your “About” information, photos, or videos. Instead, all that will be visible is your cover photo and basic information, your collections and communities, and then your updates.

The information that was previously located under your Google+ “About” tab is now available under the info icon (the “i” in the circle) next to your "Edit Profile" button, which takes you to “About Me,” now a discrete subdomain.

The information you edit here is public to anyone who clicks on your profile from other Google services, unless you change the settings to private or limit to certain circles by clicking the “Public” link below each section.

Once your profile is full of the information that you’d like to display, you can edit your page more generally by clicking on the “My Business” button or by visiting Google Business’ new subdomain. Simply click the red “Edit” button to start making changes as you see fit.

To adjust your settings – which allow you to dictate who can comment on your posts, how photos and videos are shared, how your stream is displayed, and toggle off and on email and phone notifications, apps and activities, and location sharing – simply click the “Settings” menu in the lefthand sidebar.

4.) Communities, Collections, and Circles

As we mentioned earlier, Google+ is now designed to place greater emphasis on helping you find and cultivate groups of people whose passions line up with yours – which is great news for marketers!

To start with Communities, click the “Communities” menu on the left-hand sidebar. From there, you can use the “Recommended” tab or the search bar to discover new communities to participate in; the “Member” tab allows you to keep track of communities you’ve already joined, while the “Yours” tab lets you create new communities or maintain the ones you’ve already launched.

Updating and maintaining your community works a lot like maintaining a personal or business page – you can edit the community cover photo, name, tagline, privacy, description, posting categories and links by selecting the three dots to the right of the community cover photo, and manage your membership (remove members, promote some to moderators) through the “Manage Members” menu.

Collections – a handy way to organize posts by topic, rather than by individual – works in much the same way. From the “Collections” menu in the left side bar, you can choose from the search bar or from tabs for “Featured,” “Followed,” and “Yours.”

Finally, the process for using Circles is still more or less intact. Click the “People” menu in the left sidebar; use “Find People” or the search bar to locate new contacts, “Following” to keep up with the people whose updates you’re receiving through the circles you’ve created, and “Followers” to view the people following you.

To change your circle settings – such as the number of updates you receive from each circle, or whether you’d like to receive updates or notifications – click the three dots to the right of each circle.

Have any more questions about putting Google products to use for you and your business? Looking to extend your reach to new social media platforms this year? Drop Geek a line for all of your digital marketing and content creation strategy needs! We have the team and the experience to start you down the road to social success.

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