Google+ as the “new kid on the block” has many fans, and many that hate it. But very few seem to make full use of one of its best features.
Let’s start with an admission – I like Google+. I like the interface, the look and feel and I like the level of interaction I get there. Most of all I like Circles, they are key to getting value from it.
The biggest problem with Circles is – most people don’t use them!
Circles allow you to focus your most precious resource on exactly what you want to, you spend your time interacting with only those people you strategically need to.
When you want to listen to your potential clients, listen to them and no other. When you want to talk to potential clients (or suppliers, or professions, or…) only talk to them.
You are probably interested in the ability of Google+ to drive web traffic, or engage with others. But you may still wonder “what is the point to Google+ circles?“.
Google+ Circles: What are they?
Google plus circles are (some would say) equivalent to Twitter’s lists, I’ve even heard some people say they’re like groups. The reality is that they’re subtly different to both of those, and more useful!
Google+ circles are a way of organising your connections. They are are flexible enough to use in many ways. To set up your circles, think about what you might do with them and create them. It’s really simple. How about a circles for clients, potential clients, suppliers, local contacts, networking contacts, introducers, one for each of the main professions you interact with, shal I go on?
A circle can have one, or more, people in it. You can put the same person into many different circles, and that doesn’t mean they’ll get your updates many times.
If you’re totally new to Google+, click here to download our guide to Google+ and how to get real value from using it (email address required).
Who can read your updates?
The only people that can read your updates are those in the circle you send it to (unless you choose public). This doesn’t mean that everybody you circle will have your update on your timeline (see the diagram to follow this).
Google plus circles: What can you do with them?
You might choose to share an update with only those you know will be interested, a great tool for helping engagement. That’s really useful if your use of Social Media is targeted at specific audiences and you’re looking to become their Go-To Expert.
I have two or three groups of people I’m more interested in than others. Clicking on the circle that contains them, I can see all their updates. Just their updates, without the clutter of everybody else’s, so I don’t miss important updates. Great for research, engaging with prospects or clients, or chatting with friends.
- creating a real focus on what you do: This ability to focus on specific subjects allows you to spend time in a more focused way. That’s always worthwhile, especially if you want to get results from Social Media, in less time.
- giving yourself more chances of getting the message out there: Sending your message to those that are most interested is much more likely to get you heard. Those who are not interested are effectively getting spam from you, and I like following you but…I don’t want your SPAM
Written by Jon Baker, The 5-50 Coach. Jon coaches professionals to grow their firm from 5 to 50 employees and to be come the Go-To Expert. Jon co-wrote the Go-To Expert, published by FT Publishing in March 2014.