Google recently launched the Google+ social network. Geeks rejoiced (partially because it’s fun to play with new toys).
This isn’t Google’s first attempt at social networking. Far from it. They’ve had a few years of practice with stuff like Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Orkut. This time, it seems, they’ve come out with something that’s truly promising.
If you’re a marketer, you know that this will make it to a whiteboard near you sooner rather than later. Before clients start asking about it, you’ll want to know more about getting started with Google+.
Here are five really easy tips for getting started with Google+:
1. Just get started.
Seriously, get off the sidelines and get started. That means register for a GMail account, fill out your profile, and sign up for Google+. This is literally the ground floor, so everyone is a noob. Wait too long and you’ll be playing catch up. This is your big chance to get in early. Don’t blow it.
2. Build a few circles.
Google+ is based on the concept of social “circles.” They literally have you place people in circles that represent a particular group of relationships. Immediately put people in proper categories for work, family, and friends. Then build a new circle for something related to your passions, like a hobby. Circles, Sparks, Streams. Yeah, you have to learn a whole new language, but it’s really not all that hard. Just do it.
3. Use it every day.
If you want to learn something new, you need to practice. If you learned Facebook, you can learn this. It’s really easy right now because (it appears) Google has not rolled out all of the features yet. If you can learn it now, it will be easier to grow with the network as new features are added. Honestly, right now, Google+ is a bit dull. It’s just a series of news feeds by category. Don’t worry, it’ll get better. If not, you can bail later. But for now, use it.
4. Avoid past mistakes with social networks.
Look, this is a brand new start. We all posted questionable photos in MySpace (well, I did). We all added way too many friends on Facebook (un-friend them!). This time, you get a fresh start. Only make circles that make sense. Stop friending people (or circling them) just because they added you. Make this place the clean start you wish you could have with Facebook.
5. Help define it.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Ning, and other social networks are defined by their users. Spend some time, hang out, and you’ll start to build the network. That’s really the secret to social networks. Since Google+ is still sort of being born, it’s not too late for you to add your thumbprint. If you want to go along for the ride, that’s cool too, but just know that you’re about as close to the driver’s seat as you’ll ever be.
As a marketer, yeah, you’ll probably have a chance to use Google+ to promote your brands. Google is building this thing to make them money, and they will be happy to take yours once the time is right. It may be next year or next week, but Google will roll out the red carpet for advertisers. Don’t worry, they get it.
In the meantime, kick back, try my five tips and let me know if you have a few of your own. Let’s form a circle of smart people who started Google+ early.