UPDATE: Since Google+ has considerably changed since the writing of this tutorial, please go to the updated version of this post:
Raise your hand if you think we, online business owners, need another social network to drain our time that we don't really have as it is.
I don't see any hands up in the air, do you?
And yet here it is.
Google Plus Social Network.
So now what? Do we ignore it or make it work?
You already know what the answer is as far as I am concerned if you read my opinion on Google Plus social and its place in our businesses.
In short, yes, we'd better pay attention to it.
However, our first priority should be to give Google Plus as much time as it needs and not a second longer – we really do have better things to do, don't we?
Thus, I read and read and read (I pretty much had no life outside of living and breathing Google Plus for the past few days) and finally came up with the most efficient Google Plus Tutorial I've seen anywhere.
Google Plus Tutorial
Google Plus Social Circles
Google Plus Circles allow you to organize your contacts according to their social or business value.
To begin editing your circles, go under Circles tab at the top of your stream.
1. You can add the same person to as many circles as you'd like.
2. Circle names are only visible to you.
3. Drag and drop people's names to add them to a circle.
4. To name a new circle, click on “Create Circle“.
5. Circles will display the number of people you have in them.
6. You won't add the same person to the same circle more than once.
7. If the same person is in multiple circles, they'll see your shares only once.
8. To see which circle a person is in, hover over their profile picture.
9. To rename a circle, click on it, then click Rename next to the circle name.
10. You can also add a description under the circle name.
11. To remove someone from a circle, click on the person's name and click “Remove” in the top corner of the circle editor.
12. To delete a circle, click on it and choose Delete this circle at the bottom of the pop up box.
13. Google Plus doesn't require mutual friend acceptance like Facebook does.
14. Your extended circles are your circles' circles.
15. You can't have more than 5,000 people in ALL your circles.
16. You can add your Gmail and Yahoo! contacts to your circles.
17. You can export your Facebook friends to Yahoo! email and then import them to Google Plus.
18. If you start the name of a circle with “*”, it'll sort to the top of the circles list on the left side of the stream.
Here are some great unique ideas of how to make the best out of Google Plus circles.
19. Create a circle for the early adopters of Google Plus social network for valuable tips and feedback.
20. Decide on a few people you really want to keep up with and add them to a separate *Inbox circle.
21. Create a circle for bookmarks with no friends in it; add to it the posts you like for your own use or to share later.
How to Gain More Google Plus Followers
22. Email your list and ask them to add you to their circles.
23. Ask to be added at the end of your blog posts.
24. Add GoogleCards widget to your sidebar (like you see in mine – in your WP plugin directory).
25. Import your contacts from Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter (use Export.ly for that).
Google Plus Social Stream
The stream is where you communicate with the Plussers.
By default, your stream consists of ALL the content from people who've shared with you specifically, shared with a circle (or extended circle) you're in, or shared publicly.
26. Come to grips with the fact that you will never read EVERYTHING on Google+.
27. Filter your stream by clicking on the circle name to the left of the stream.
28. If you created *Inbox circle for people who you actually want to hear from, check that one first.
29. “Incoming” filter will show you the stream of people who are not in your circles, but are trying to share with you.
30. If you like someone from your Incoming stream, mouse over their avatar and choose to add them to a circle.
31. If you don't want to hear from someone ever again, you can block them.
32. To mention someone in your post, use “+” or “@” signs.
33. When you post publicly, people who've added you to one of their circles will see your update in their stream.
34. Content you share publicly may show up in search results.
35. When you share with extended circles, circles of your circles will see it.
36. You can reshare any post you like with your circles by clicking on “Share” at the bottom of the post.
37. Anything you share can be reshared by anyone, unless you specifically “Disable Reshares” by clicking the arrow at the top of your post.
38. To stop receiving updates from a post, click on “Mute Post” through the arrow at the top of the post.
39. You can drag and drop photos, videos, links to the post you want to share.
40. You can edit your Google Plus photos right on the spot.
41. You can upload multiple videos and photos at a time.
42. You can click on the post time stamp to get its permalink.
43. Click “+1” button to “like” the post; clicking it again will undo the like.
44. You can share anything to Google Plus directly from your Gmail – you'll see a “share” tab in the top right corner.
Google Plus Profiles
You can control what kind of information people can see about you – such as your bio, contact details, and links to other sites about you or created by you – through your profile.
45. Your profile is public.
46. To see your profile, click on the Profile icon at the top (see image).
47. To edit your profile, click on “Edit Profile”.
48. You can see how any other Plusser sees your profile: just enter their name in “View Profile as” box.
49. The only requirement for your profile is your full name; you can keep everything else to yourself.
50. You can choose if you want your Google Plus social profile to be indexed by the search engines.
51. Changing your profile name will also change your name on other Google products, like Gmail, etc.
52. Deleting your profile name will delete your Google account.
53. You can choose who you want to view the specific profile sections.
54. You can choose to allow people to contact you directly from your profile.
55. All content you share will be saved in your Profile under Posts Tab.
56. By default, people in your circles will appear in your profile, but not the names of the circles.
57. You can choose which people publicly appear in your profile and which ones don't in Edit Profile mode.
58. Other people can view your profile by clicking on your picture.
59. Link your profile to the websites you own – great time to do some link building as well.
Google Plus Sparks
Sparks is a way to search and track the different interests you might have.
Effectively, it can become your own customized news stream based around what you want to know about.
60. In a way, Sparks are like Google Alerts.
61. You can set up an “alert” on any topic you like, including your name or your website – see who's talking about you.
62. When you find something interesting in Sparks, click Share to pull your circles into a conversation.
63. You can quickly access your interests by clicking the interest name beneath the Sparks link to the left of your stream.
64. All your Sparks interests are kept private.
65. To delete an interest, mouse over it and click on X.
66. Results in Sparks only show partial story; click on the title to read the rest.
Google Plus Social Hangouts
The best way to describe Google Plus Hangouts, is to imagine someone saying “Hey, I am online, I've got nothing better to do; come hang out with me!”
67. First, you'll need to download a plugin – you'll be prompted to do that after you click on “Start a Hangout” to the right of your stream.
68. You can start a Hangout at any time from your stream or by going to plus.google.com/hangouts
69. After you click on “hangout”, you'll be taken to what Google Plus refers to as “green room”.
70. You can invite anyone and everyone you see in your stream to hang out with you.
71. You can check out for current hangouts and join them if you like what you see at http://gphangouts.com/.
72. When you enter a hangout, you'll see the current participants, broken down according to who is in your circles and who isn't.
73. No one owns a hangout: anyone in the hangout can invite anyone else.
74. If you invite people to join a hangout, a post will appear in their stream.
75. You can watch YouTube videos in a hangout; just click on “YouTube”.
76. Each hangout has a specific URL. That URL can be shared as a link to invite others.
77. Only Google+ users are able to join.
78. You can't kick anyone out of a hangout.
79. If you feel uncomfortable in a hangout, you can leave at any time.
Google Plus Social Network Chat
Chat is chat whatever social network you are using.
80. Access chat through Chat button to the left of your stream, right under Sparks.
81. All your Google contacts are automatically transferred to your Google Plus chat.
82. If someone isn't already a contact, you can invite them to chat right from the Chat search box.
83. Your Chat list will only appear while you're in the stream.
84. Simply type the person's email address into the chat search box and click Invite to chat.
85. Before you can chat with someone, they must also add you to their chat list.
86. You can also make a computer-to-computer voice or video call by clicking on the phone icon at the top of the chat window.
87. In the chat window, click the camera icon to make a video call or the phone icon to make a voice call.
88. Your email address can be seen by people via the chat list.
Google Plus Keyboard Shortcuts
I've seen people trying to use HTML to make their posts stand out. To no avail though; HTML codes won't work with Google Plus.
Here's a list of shortcuts that will though.
89. (*)bold(*) = Bold
90. (_)italics(_) = Italic
91. (-)strike-through(-) =
92. Space or J = scroll down
93. Shift + Space or K = scroll up
94. Q = jump to chat
95. Return = start comment
96. Tab + Return = end your comment
97. Tab + Tab + Return = cancel writing a comment
Increase Traffic with Google Plus Social Network
98. Post a personal “Welcome” to everyone who adds you to their circles.
99. Ask a question even when posting a link.
100. Get back with your commentators to keep the conversation going.
101. Be generous with mentions.
Google Plus Bite-Sized Tutorial Takeaway
Well there you have it – my attempt to do the impossible: make sense of Google Plus in one (very long) post.
How did I do?
If you think it's thumbs up, do me a huge favor please: link to it in one of your future posts and allow your readers to benefit from this tutorial as well.
And don't forget to add me to your circles!