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Getting Started on Google +

October 11, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224615

In his book, What the Plus! Google+ For the Rest of Us,author Guy Kawasaki details strategies, tactics and time-savers to create an effective presence and attract followers, engage the right people, and promote your brand. In this edited excerpt, Kawasaki explains how to get started on Google+, which has garnered over 250 million active users since its beta test in June 2011.

Since Google can divert the river and owns the playing field, you may find it hard to avoid Google+. Here's how to get started:

Sign up for a Google account that enables you to use all the Google products. Keep your name simple, which will make it easier for people to remember you and find your Google+ post.

The next step is to find people to "circle." When you've circled approximately 50 people, Google+ gets really interesting. This process will only take a few minutes but will yield many hours of enlightenment, engagement, and enjoyment.

Google+ provides multiple options to get started. First, you can click on "Find people" to search for people you already know. Don't be disappointed if all your BFFs (best friends for life) aren't already on Google+; this is a chance to make new BFFs.

Related: Chris Brogan on How Businesses Benefit from Google+

Second, you can click on categories of people, such as "Entertainment" or "Fun & Interesting." Google compiled a list of "Picks" based on the fame and level of activity of the people. You can add these entire preselected circles or individual people.

There are a few simple ways to decide whether to circle someone:

An easy way to check out a person is to use Chrome, Google's browser, and install a Chrome browser extension called "CircleCount." Then, when you mouse-over a person's name, you'll see the follower history and the average number of shares and comments.

Related: How Google+ Can Improve Your SEO

Now that you've circled a few people, it's time to explore how to navigate Google+. The nine buttons in the vertical navigation ribbon on the left side of the page are the primary ways to navigate Google+ itself. Here's what the buttons do:

There are more ways Google+ helps you find people to circle. You can search for people at any time by using the Google+ search area. When you find a person, Google+ also displays more people who might interest you.

Related: How the New Google+ Local Tab Could Influence Local SEO

You also can enter keywords that describe your interests and passions, and Google+ will display relevant people, posts, people, and pages. When you find people who share your sensibilities, circle them so you may continue to read their posts. Then read the comments on their posts, which can also help you find people to circle.