Tuesday, January 21, 2014

HOW TO GET STARTED ON GOOGLE +





This guide is to help you set up your page on Google +.  It’s a VERY basic guide, as there are so many unique and intricate aspects to G+ that it’s best to take it one step at a time.  A special thank you to Marc Pitman for allowing us to adapt his guide for our small businesses on The CraftStar.

At the end of this guide, you will find some very useful articles, videos, and links to LIVE shows we’ve done on The CraftStar with Google + Pros.  

For small business owners like all of us, Google + is something you really want to start building.  Don’t get overwhelmed with trying to do too much at once (I learned that the hard way!), but once you’re in, you will see the amazing resources, and you will be very pleasantly surprised with the people on there.  It, like The CraftStar, is a community, full of people who want to help you. 

As Dustin W. Stout pointed out in The CraftStar LIVE broadcast “The CraftStarGuide to Google + Part 2”, Google+ has had a growth rate much faster than that of Facebook or Twitter.   And as BenFisher explained in "The CraftStar Guide to Google + Part 1," “what starts on Google, stays on Google.”  Google is powerful!  By having an active and engaging presence on Google +, you’re basically cutting out the middle man to Google search … and of course with YouTube being part of the Google family, there are lots of ways to make your “social signal” strong.

In our Google + Part 1 LIVE show, Ben suggested “30 minutes on Google + for 30 days” and see what you get out of it.  I’m pretty certain that will lead you to a great appreciation of how Google + can help your small business.

Being active on Google + is COMPLETELY different than Facebook and Twitter.  It’s a different world … a VERY effective world where you can gain a lot of knowledge to help grow your small business and can share your items with a lot of people.  But, as Ben explained: Google is a karma wheel.  You get out, what you put in.  Google + is not a place to splash and dash (list and run) … it’s a place to engage.  Ben’s acronym for this is SKETCH:



Those who don’t bother putting the time, effort, and thought into Google + will just get run out as spammers.  Those who ARE willing, will get more out of it than you can imagine.

We’re starting with the very basics here: getting your page up and running on Google + … but there are SO many more levels to it, it’s pretty much addicting!  And a GREAT addiction to have as if you play it right, you will see you on the front page of Google search results!

Here are six easy steps to get you started on the right foot.

Step 1: As Maria said in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning.” You need to register for a Google+ profile. But that’s pretty easy, especially if you’re already using Gmail. (You are using Gmail, right?)  Simply go to Google.com and sign in or if you are not using Gmail, sign up.  It is best to use your name, not your business . You can create a business page later; right now you’re creating a personal profile.

Step 2: Once you have completed the beginning profile information, simply click "next step". This will take you to the next page, where you will look in the upper right hand corner. Click on your email address there.  A small pop out will appear that reads "Join Google Plus".  This will take you to "public profile".  Click upgrade once your information is entered. You will have the option to "Find friends" via Gmail and Hotmail contacts. The next 2 steps ask you to add or follow others. At this point you can skip these if you so chose. 

Our next step will be adding a profile picture – this is all part of your “hover card”.  This is important because G+ is all about people.  Other users want to "see" who you are. Choosing not to have a profile pic shows other users that you are new or maybe aren’t that interested in taking the wonders of Google + seriously.   We want to appear professional!

The minimum picture size is 250x250 pixels, but 500x500 pixels is best.

Bonus tip: Upload more than one profile image.

Google+ is full of cool animation designs, and one of them happens on your profile. If you have more than one profile picture, each time you click on the image, it will flip to the next one. This is a little-known feature, but looks pretty cool in action.
  
Step 3: Google is first and foremost a search engine, so it helps to fill out your “about” page as completely as possible.  Google will use this to help other people connect with you on Google+ and in other Google searches.

If you already have fleshed out your Google+ profile, this section will be pre-filled for you. But take a look at it to see if this represents you the way you want it to.

Step 4 : Fill up your links
While you’re editing your “about” page, be sure to pay attention to the “other profiles” section. Here is a list of some links to consider including:

Links to other social media networks
Links to your business sites
Links to special pages on your website


Step 5 : Look for interesting people
If you’re not following people, Google+ can be a boring, barren wasteland. So start circling all sorts of people who seem interesting – and make sure you have The CraftStar in your CIRCLE. The search field in Google+ keeps getting better. Here are some ways to find interesting folk:

Search for people with the same occupation
Search for people interested in the same cause communities
Search for people with the same hobbies

One thing to keep in mind, you can create your own CIRCLES to put people in.  So you might have The CraftStar circle with your fellow sellers in there, or Business circle with business contacts.  By putting people in appropriate circles from the beginning makes things a lot easier once you have a lot of people circled.  When you post on Google +, you choose which circles those posts go to.  So for instance, if you’re posting about a new item you’ve listed, you’ll want to send to The CraftStar circle, your friends circle, customers circle, but maybe not your “business” circle which may include people like your accountant!

You can also join Communities! Hover your mouse over the Home icon on the left side and scroll down to communities. This will take you to a page full of G+ communities, and will also recommend some for you!

Step 6 : Play around
Nothing helps you get started better than spending some time on Google+.  In addition to following people, be sure to +1 their posts and comment on them. Try re-sharing posts to specific circles of people.  Experiment with hangouts.

Play with the type of posts they share on Google+. Some people are simply reposting their blog links. Others are finding Google+ to be a phenomenal tool for sharing pictures and videos.

After you’ve become familiar with Google+ as a person, then repeat the process in making a Google+ page for your business!

Make sure you have The CraftStar in YOUR circles:  https://plus.google.com/+Thecraftstar/posts

To see the Set-up process in action Ronnie Bincer (G+ Hangouts Guru) has a great video about hang-outs on You Tube called New Google+ Hangouts. He describes step by step all of the above information on getting started with G+ at the beginning of the video!



A special thanks to the fabulous Marc Pitman with  http://fundraisingcoach.com/ who has graciously allowed us to share this great guide to Getting Started With G+ and offered a FREE Ebook! http://googleplusfornonprofits.com/ 

His original article with photos can be viewed here :http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/6-steps-to-getting-started-with-google/

The CraftStar LIVE shows on Google +:  

The CraftStar Guide To Google + Part 1:

The CraftStar Guide To Google + Part 2:

The CraftStar Guide To Google + with Stephan Hovnanian

Here are some other very useful links to help you get started!




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