Google recently announced that it will be splitting Google+ apart which caused much speculation around the longevity and use of Google+ for both users and marketers.
However, with the platform now more centered on bringing users together based on shared experiences this means marketers can more easily reach people who are passionate about something – be it a particular topic, product or service.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:
#1: Missing from the new Google+ dashboard menu are the following:
- Events is available in the Google+ Android app and classic view of Google+.
- Hangouts now operates on it’s own sub-domain and has it’s own app for Android and IOS devices.
- Photos also has it’s own subdomain, which is where people can find all of their photos uploaded to Google+.
Google My Business
Your Google+ brand and local business pages are now split between Google+ and Google My Business. The big difference is when you want to edit your page or view your page insights. To do this, you need to…
- Click on the My Business button when using Google+ as your page.
- Or you can go to the Google My Business sub-domain, business.google.com. There you’ll find options to edit your pages, manage your locations (local business pages), view your page insights, create new brand or local business pages and restore previously deleted brand or local business pages. Google My Business also has its own app for Android and iOS devices, separate from the main Google+ app.
#2: View the New Stream
Just like before, you can view the stream using your Google+ profile or page. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. You’ll then be taken to your profile or page stream.
The new Google+ stream shows updates in one or two columns and included in your stream are updates from the people, pages, communities and collections you follow.
At the bottom of each update, you’ll see icons that allow you to +1 (like) updates, comment and share to Google+ as well as Facebook and Twitter.
To customize what you see in your Google+ stream…
- Go to the People menu in the left sidebar and then click the Following tab at the top.
- You’ll see a list of the people and pages you have in your circles.
- Click the three dots to the right of your circles to find your Circle Settings. There, you can choose whether you want to see more or less of a particular circle’s updates in your stream.
The same goes for Communities. Posts in your stream from your communities will show the community name in green or blue, depending on whether you follow the person who posted to the community.
If you don’t want to see that community’s post in your stream, click on the community name, and then click on the three dots at the top of the community cover photo to find the Community Settings. Similar to Circle Settings, you can choose whether you want to see more or fewer updates from the community in your stream. If you don’t want to see updates from collections you’re following in your stream, you have to go to the collection and unfollow it.
#3: Post Updates
Post updates to your Google+ profile or page from the stream:
- To post updates to your Google+ profile or page from the stream click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. You can then post updates from the stream using the update box at the top or the pencil icon at the bottom right.
- If you click on the link next to your name, you can set the visibility for your update. To get additional selections beyond Public and select Communities or Collections, click the See More link.
This allows you to post to one or more collections (visible to everyone following selected collections), to one or more communities (visible to everyone in selected communities), to one or more circles (visible to everyone in selected circles) or to one or more individuals (visible to the selected individuals).
If you belong to a lot of collections and communities, you’ll have to scroll past them to find your circles. To select individuals, you’ll have to scroll past your communities and circles.
Once you’ve selected with whom you want to share your updates, enter the text for your update and click on the icons at the bottom to share a photo, link or your current location.
#4: Discover and Create Collections
Follow and create collections using your Google+ profile or page:
- Click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use. Then click on the Collections menu in the left sidebar.
- On the following page, you’ll see a search box for Collections and three tabs at the top: Featured, Followed and Yours.
- Use the search box or Featured tab to find collections to follow. Click the Followed tab to see the collections you’re following. And use the Yours tab to see collections you’ve created or to create a new one.
If you’re the creator of a collection, you’ll want to visit your collection to see the latest changes. To edit your collection, click the three dots at the top right of the collection cover photo and choose Edit Collection. Now, you can also update your collection’s cover photo, tagline, theme color and following preferences.
#5: Join and Create Communities
- Start by clicking on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the Communities menu in the left sidebar.
- On the following page, you’ll see a search box for Communities and three tabs at the top: Recommended, Member and Yours.
- You can use the search box or the Recommended tab to find communities to join and participate in. Click the Member tab to see the communities you’ve already joined. And use the Yours tab to see communities you’ve created or to create a new one.
- Now, you can edit the community cover photo, name, tagline, privacy, description, posting categories and links.
- Use the Manage Members menu if you want to promote members to moderator or remove them from the community. You can also modify your personal community settings to show more or fewer posts from the community in your stream or to turn notifications on or off.
You can post updates to your community from here using the pencil icon at the bottom right of the screen, or from the update box on your stream by selecting your community as the destination for your update.
#6: Edit Your Profile
You can edit your Google+ profile using a couple of methods…
- Click your profile picture at the top right and click the Google+ Profile link. Or click the Profile link in the left sidebar menu.
The new Google+ profile design has changed in several ways. First, there are no tabs for your About information, photos, videos, etc. Instead, you’ll see your cover photo and basic information, followed by your collections and communities and then your updates.
- To edit the visibility of the collections you follow and communities you’re a member of, click the Edit Profile button. This brings up options to select (or deselect) the collections and communities you want shown on your profile.
- You can deselect all of them if you want people to see your updates immediately, or you can select featured collections or communities that you own to showcase them on your profile.
You can also update your cover photo, profile photo and tagline from this view.
- To update what was formerly your Google+ About tab, click on the info icon (the “i” in the circle) in this view or next to your Edit Profile button. This takes you to your new About Me page, which is on its own subdomain at aboutme.google.com.
This page contains the information formerly on your Google+ About tab, with the exception of the Introduction. To edit a section, click on the pencil icon at the top right of the section. The information here is shown to anyone who clicks on your profile from other Google services.
- You can click on the Public link beneath each section to change the visibility of that section to Private, people in your circles (Your Circles) or people in your circles and people connected to those in your circles (Extended Circles).
#7: Edit Your Page
You can edit your Google+ brand or local business page a couple of ways…
- To use the menu at the top right of your dashboard, click on your profile photo to select your page and click on the My Business button. Or go to business.google.com and select your page.
- On the following screen, you should see a red Edit button on the page you’ve selected.
- For some brand pages, you may also be directed back to the Classic G+ and can edit your page from there. If you click on the prompt to go to the new Google+, you’ll lose the ability to edit your page.
#8: Organize Your Circles
- Click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the People menu in the left sidebar.
- On the following page, you’ll see a search box for People and three tabs at the top: Find People, Following and Followers.
- To find people and pages to follow, use the search box or Find People tab. Click on the Follow link to add them to specific circles.
- On the Following tab, you’ll see the circles you’ve created and can create new ones from there. If you want to edit your circle settings, click on the three dots next to each circle.
- The circle settings allow you to configure how many updates you want to see in your stream from people and pages in the circle. You can also specify whether you want to receive notifications from those people and pages in the circle.
#9: Check Your Settings
- Click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the Settings menu in the left sidebar.
- Here you’ll find the settings for your selected profile or page. These allow you to specify who can comment on your posts, how photos and videos are shared, what’s shown on your profile, how your stream is laid out, email and phone notifications, apps and activities, location sharing and other advanced settings. These options may vary based on your selected profile or page.
What do you think of these changes to Google+? Does your brand use this platform to reach your target audience?