This is a step-by-step tutorial for people looking to get started on Google+, perfect if you want to build up a following, like the one you may have on Twitter and Facebook – but you must keep in mind that Google+ is rather different!

Introduction (AWESOME NEW VIDEO!)

I know many people want to get rolling with Google Plus but don’t know where to begin.

As such, here is a complete tour to get you going…

This video is the first in a series I have published and will help you learn every aspect of the Plus.

For this Quickstarter Guide, however, below are some tactics to help you build up your network in no time as well.

Step 1: Profile and Posting

Your profile is what people will look at to decide whether to circle you – does it display enough of you?

Filling everything out.

Fill out your profile and upload a profile picture as this helps to build up trust. Make sure your “About” section includes info about who you are, your interests, links to your other profiles, links to your websites and rather importantly, what topics people should add you to their Circles for.

Remember, Google+ is interest driven. Don’t make people work too hard to figure out what you’re all about.

Some will hide the number of people who have Circled them, or who they have Circled. But this is a choice. You may want people to simply see where you are at.

Start posting!

Make seven or eight posts showing a variety of your interests. Post publicly. Try and have some of them with original content, your own words etc.

Don’t just broadcast, interact!

It is likely only celebrities will get ‘Circled’ without interacting with other’s posts!

Posting interesting stuff and interacting is the key to G+

Basic principles

  • Sharing is caring! – people love it when you share their posts. Add in your own message when sharing to your circles and you will make it personal.
  • Interact, interact, interact – keep commenting and +1ing on what you like; mention people who have helped you out by adding in +theirname
  • Use #hashtags– this makes your postings more likely to show up in searches.
  • Shorten URLs can be done using Google URL Shortener
  • Cross Platform Sharing – for easing posting to your other networks use Chrome Extension Extended Share for Google Plus [currently may not be working since the update!]
  • Formatting your posts – here is a posting I made on posts, including making them more appealing:The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts

Step 2 – Circles

Shared Circles

Shared Circles are a great place to start when you don’t know who to follow on Google+

Search for “[my interests] Circles” and add every one you want (i.e. the whole circle). Or add in “Engagers Circles” – many people create these full of people with whom they are engaging.

Check out CircleCount and search for shared Circles which align with your interests.

Comment, +1 and share every post you think is interesting. Remember: Interaction is the key!

Want an in depth look at circles? Here is a complete guide.

How are your posts performing?

Use Circle Count to analyse what is working best e.g. personal topics or informational articles you have shared. It shows you how many Plus 1’s* you have and how many shares you have for each post. This gives you some “real” feedback as to what people think of what you are posting.

Sign up (free) to www.circlecount.com as it shows you your stats, what circles you are included in etc.

Getting more Circlers, Circling Others (this is a bit more advanced!)

On Google Plus you can only have 5000 people in your circles, so it’s a good idea to remove people who don’t provide you with interesting posts and don’t interact with yours.

If you use the Chrome browser, then you can install the Circloscope extension – it is well worth the $5 for the upgraded version.

Look to tidy up your circles, following the recipes, to free up space to add more relevant people. Keep doing this until you have 3500 – 5000 people circling. +Anthony Fox says that in that range the strategy starts to change, to more creating circles than adding them, and creating good content becomes the highest priority.

Note: this may take a little getting your head past and what will make a big difference to how many people having you in circles will be this: getting included in a shared circle by people who already have a good following. This can boost your numbers when people add in that circle.

Compared to Twitter, the percentage of people who will follow you back just by following them may not be as high. It’s all about those high quality relationships on Google Plus!

Step 3 – Explore Google Plus Communities

Once you get the idea of circles, you may well want to explore communities as well.

People who are into everything from the latest news in science through to sharing cat images are just a few clicks away!

You can find communities by clicking on the side bar and choosing the ‘green’ icon’, then you will see recommended communities as well as being able to search for them there too.

Here is a complete guide on communities that will tell you more.

Step 4 – Use Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts are far and away one of the best features available on Google+. As well as ‘chat’, they allow you to group video chat with up to 9 other people, share links, screenshare and utilize all sorts of useful apps.

Use hangouts to meet people – there are some awesome people are there! Simply hangout and get to know people better. Just like in real life, this is how relationships are formed.

You can use this link to see what hangouts you can enter: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/is/hangouts

Also, you will want to add in extension such as the Hangout Toolbox within the Hangout itself – it gives you tools, including a Hangout Lower Third.

Hangout echo? Always use headphones. Audio from speakers feeds back into your microphone and makes it difficult for everyone.

Want to know more? Here is complete guide to hangouts.

Step 5: Add this “Help, Support and Guidance” Circle

Here is a great support circle I have put together with people willing to help newcomers to Google Plus. Add it to your Circles, interact with these people and you will find your feet in no time at all.

CIRCLE: Find Help Here!

Perfect for newbies and anyone looking for some support.

Once you are rolling…

There is a true community feel on Google+, so do ask people for help if you come unstuck. We are here to help.

Finally…are a business?

Join my community on Google Plus: Plus Your Business! for some more help, support and advice.