How to get started on Google+

Blog | 23 Oct, 2015

Want to get started on Google+ but don’t know where to begin? Here is the Jellyfish guide to getting started on Google’s very own social network.

With its benefit for search, Google+ is a social channel that shouldn't be ignored. In this blog post, we'll show you how to set up a Google+ personal profile, a business page and show you how to connect your Google+ page to your website.

Once you've set up your profile/s on Google+, watch the two video blogs that I've created. The first is why you should be using Google+ and the second is my five top tips for getting started. Both are great to watch if you're just getting started with Google+.

How to set up your personal Google+ profile

How to claim Google Authorship

How to set up your Google+ business page

How to verify your Google+ page with your website

 

How to set up a personal Google+ profile

Whether you want to share content and connect with people or to set up a Google+ business page, you'll need a personal Google+ profile in order to get started. 

  • Visit www.google.co.uk and hit the sign-up button.
  • Go through the steps of creating a new Google account. You can use your current email address to set this account up.
Google profile
  • Verify the account via email or telephone.
  • That’s it – you’ve set up your Google profile. Now let’s set up your Google+ profile.

Setting up your Google+ profile

  • When on the Google homepage, hit the +You button in the top-left hand corner
  • You’ll need to verify your account again, either with a text message or by voice call.
  • Once you have a verified account, you can start setting up your public profile. Add your photo, name, gender and date of birth. This is known as upgrading your account.
     
Create your Google+ profile
  • The next step is to add people you know. Google makes this easy for you by allowing you to connect your Yahoo or Gmail address lists so that contacts can be imported. Google also gives you a list of interesting people you might want to follow. If you don’t know anyone on Google+ then I’d recommend following a few of the people/brands Google suggest for you, just to get you started.
     
Circles on Google+
 
  • The next step is to ‘make yourself awesome’ by adding more information about yourself, such as employer, education and location details. Remember to be vague about your location details, all information here will be public.
     
Your profile on Google+

That’s it; you’re done and ready to go with Google+. My recommendation is to spend some time getting used to the format. Join some communities, comment and +1 content and add people to your circles that you might find interesting. Once you are used the ins and outs of Google+, you'll be in a better position to create a Google+ business page.
 

Google Authorship

When searching using Google, you may have noticed that some search results have faces next to their names. This image links that page or post with the author's Google+ page. In order to do this, you will need to claim Google authorship. Google authorship is great if you have a blog or write content for a website.

You can only claim authorship if you have an email address with the same domain as the website you wish to claim authorship on. Once you have generated the necessary code, you will need to add this to the tag of your website replacing the number at the end with your profile URL. Once done, the authorship feature will be enabled.


Now that you’ve set up a Google+ profile page and you have some experience of getting around the website, you’re ready to set up a Google+ business page.

Set up a Google+ page
  • If you pick a local business or place, you will be asked for the country that the business is in as well as the contact telephone number. Once confirmed, Google will then look for a matching result within Google Places. If it finds one, then it will use the information there to fill out the business page. If not, you can add this information yourself.
  • If you don’t think that your page fits into any of the categories, you can choose ‘Other’. This will allow you to enter a name and a website address.
  • Regardless of what category you pick, you will be asked if your page content will be suitable for any user or if there is a restriction, such as the page being alcohol-related.
  • Now it’s time to customise your business page.
  • Add a profile picture and a tagline. Once you have added these, click finish.
  • Add some information about your business. Visit the business page and click on the ‘About tab’. There you can click ‘edit’ on each of the boxes to add your own information. Make sure that you include friendly copy that contains all the information that the user would want, such as website URL, address and contact number. Take advantage of the fact that Google allows you to add links and bullet points within the copy.
  • Add a cover photo. This cover photo is a great opportunity for you to showcase your business, so choose something interesting and eye-catching that represents your brand.
  • Now that your business page is complete, it’s now time to start making updates on your business page. Visual content works best, so upload a mix of content such as videos and images as well as text. If you are publishing links from your website, make sure that you have imagery on the page so that Google+ can pull the image into the update.
Creating a Google+ business page

Setting up your circles

The big difference between a Google+ page and a Facebook page is the fact that you can follow your page’s fans back and add them to circles. You can also search for those talking about your brand and industry and add them to one of your circles.

To find out who has added your page to one of their circles, take a look at the notifications for your page, which will be highlighted in red at the top-right of the page. You can also see this from the Find People tab on the left hand side. From the Find People section, you can see all those who have you in circles and those who you already have in circles. You can drag and drop your fans into one or more of the four default circles: team members, VIPs, customers and following.

You can also create new circles. There are a lot of ways you can use these custom circles for marketing such as creating circles of fans in a specific location and sharing updates with them about geo-specific offers.

Using circles to engage and interact

By categorising your fans into circles, you'll be able to follow your fans’ updates, comment on their fans’ status messages and +1 their updates as your page. This allows for greater engagement and interactivity, which will help increase your reach and brand awareness. Your fans will see your interaction with their updates via their notifications.

Circles

Thanks to this circles function, Google+ will become a very powerful way for brands to communicate with their fans, specifically in the tailoring of relevant content to each individual audience.

Connecting Your Google+ Page to Your Website

Google allows you to connect your Google+ business page to your website by adding your website address to the About section of your page and adding a badge to your website. By doing this, you're telling Google that all the +1s that you receive are attributed to your website and will help boost your website further up the search results

Link your Google+ page to your website

Social plugins on your website are a great way to promote your social channels and capture visitors to your website. Whether you want to add social plugins to your websiteor not, you will want to connect your Google+ page to your website simply for the search benefits.

Add the Google+ badge to your website

To add the badge, just grab a snippet of code from Google and give it to whoever looks after your website. If this is you then you'll need to add this code to the HTML of your website; wherever you want to feature your social plugins. Once you have added your website to the About section of your Google+ page and a verification tick is shown, your Google+ page and your site are now linked.

Troubleshooting

If the Google+ badge does not work on your site then a rel=”publisher” link must be placed on your website to confirm verification. Replace {plusPageUrl} with your Google+ page URL, which you can find by visiting your Google+ page and clicking on the address bar

< a href="https://plus.google.com/[your google ID]" rel="publisher">Find us on Google+

If you want this link to be invisible on your page, add a link tag to the section of your page, like this:

< link href="{plusPageUrl}" rel="publisher" />

There are instructions on the Google+ Pages help page and within the badge generation tool that tell you where to place the rel=”publisher” link (in the section of your page). Essentially, this will place the rel=”publisher” link on every page of your website. 

Once you have done this, visitors will be able to add your Google+ page to their circles simply through search results.

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