Google+ Post 3: Circles, Communities, and Hangouts

In post #1, we shared many reasons why bloggers should use Google+, and in post #2, we talked primarily about SEO and authorship which will really help your blog show up in Google search engines.

This post will get down to the what you use every day in Google+.

3 more reasons to use Google+:  Circles, Communities, and Hangouts

Every day, you will use your circles; and if you are smart, you will get in some communities and build relationships.  Then, Google Hangouts are just awesome–Facebook has nothing like it!

Before we get into circles, there are a few things you need to know about Google+ that are different than Facebook.

  • If you want to tag someone, you have to put the + symbol in front of their name.  (+Tammy Doiel).
  • You can use hashtags (#recipe) on your post so that your post is found more easily.

Google+ Circles

Instead of gaining followers  by “liking” them as you do on Facebook, you have to add people to your circles.   G+ gives you circles automatically, but you can add people to a new circle by clicking on the + circle and calling that circle anything you want.Circles for G+ - Google+ Post 3:  Circles, Communities, and HangoutsThis is a great feature of G+ as you can keep your followers in circles according to different niches.

Adding people to circles is also very simple.  Directions will be how you do it on a computer, but it is similar on a phone.

To find people that you might want to follow:

How to add people to a circle #1

  •  Go to the left hand side of your screen and click on “Home.”
  • Go down and click on “People.”
  • Click on “Find people”,  and Google+ will show you people that your followers have followed.
    finding people in circles

To add people to your circles:

  • Click on “Add to Circles.”
    circles

 

adding followers to a circle

 

  • Then click on the circle you want to add them to or create a new circle.

To organize your circles:

  • Click on “Your Circles”How to organize your circles on g+
  • To look at who is in a specific circle, you click on the circle and all the names are shown on the top of your screen.  see who is in a circle on G+
  • To add more people, you just click on “add a person” and type their name in.
  • deleting people from a circleYou can delete a person by hovering over their name and clicking the X that pops up on the top right hand corner.
  • To take  one  person from circle to a different circle, just click and drag them to the right circle.
  • To merge a smaller circle into a bigger circle, click on the smaller circle.
  • Then click on “Actions.”
  • Click on “Select all.”  Then click on one name and all of the names will come together.  You can drag them to the larger circle all at once.  Google+ will count this as adding followers for the day (even though you are not), so you can only do a certain amount of adding people to different circles for one day.
  • You can also share a circle from the actions tab.  Again, click on the circle you want to share.  Then click on Share this circle. combining circles - Google+ Post 3:  Circles, Communities, and Hangouts
  • Now you can add a comment and decide who you want to share the circle with.  If you only want to share it with that circle (so that it is private), X out “Public” and add the circles name in the “To:” spot.  Or you can just add one person’s/a few people’s  name(s).  If you want people to add you to their circles, make sure you check the “Include yourself in shared circle” box.  Then you can share it.  I rarely send an email.  Your followers should get a notification, and if you send an email every time you post on G+, you are spamming them.  If I am sending a notification to a small circle of people about something important, then I might send an email.
  • Be careful of huge circle shares.  It is easy to get a large amount of followers with big circle shares, but you also get spammers and people who would never really interact with you.  There are blogging parties that share circles, and those would be great to take advantage of.

How to share a circle

How to share a circle #2

 

If you want to send a private message to someone on G+, type your message just like you are typing a status. In the “To:” spot, unclick “public” and start typing their name. If you follow them, their name should pop up, and you can click it. If you don’t want anyone else to see the message, make sure no other circle or name is in the “To:” spot.

Communities:

20 categories for G+ groups.Communities are just like Facebook groups that you can ask to join or you can start your own community.  They can be public or private.  Their are two main differences of which I am aware:

  1. You can have up to 20 categories to put different threads of discussion.  I love this feature. On a Facebook group, all you have is the search function to find past conversations or a file.  If you are the owner or moderator of a community, you can change these categories to whatever you want.
  2. On Google+, you share documents from your Google Drive instead of uploading files from your computer.  You could do this on Facebook as well, but for some reason, I usually upload a file.  You can’t do files on G+ (as far as I know.)

There are thousands of communities you can join.  You can read the open communities without joining, but you can’t comment unless you are a member.  When I first joined Google+, I joined big communities like:

  • WordPress — I like this community as I now can ask questions to some experts for free about wordpress!
  • Google Plus Pro Tips — If you had questions about how to do an event or anything else on G+, this community would help you.
  • Mom Blog

I personally would recommend joining smaller communities if you want interaction.  I have turned off notifications for most of the groups, so I don’t participate in most of them unless I have a question.

To search for communities to join, go under “Home” again, click on “Communities,” and on the right hand side you can search for communities.  You can also “discover communities” based on what Google+ shows you.  You then ask to join a community and follow their rules.

Hangouts:

Hangouts on G+ are just awesome.  Facebook has nothing like this feature of G+.  I have not personally done a hangout, but supposedly it is very simple to do.   Many of the public hangouts are then available on YouTube later if you are not able to watch the Hangouts when they are done live.  Hangouts are also called HOA’s (Hangout on Air.)

If you are in a tribe, your tribe can do a private hangout together where you can see each other face-to-face and discuss topics together.

Many group blogging lessons are done via Hangouts.

Here are some people who do Hangouts monthly or weekly:

How do you use Google+?  Are there communities that you love or  Hangouts that you watch?
I would love to know your thoughts!

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3 Comments

  1. Natalie August 15, 2014
  2. Elizabeth August 15, 2014
  3. Kristina & Millie August 16, 2014

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