How to get started using Google Plus

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Google Plus.

Just mention those words and watch people inwardly cringe. I used to be one of those people and on some days I still am. Many bloggers and others are resistant to using Google Plus. And I understand it. It’s like going to a party by yourself and not knowing a soul. And worse, you feel like they are speaking a different language. Maybe they are, but the language isn’t any different from Facebook or Twitter, really.

Let’s take Google Plus in Baby steps.

I’m going to assume you have your account set up with your NAME, yes your name, not your blog or business name. Google doesn’t like fake names, even as a nickname and they will find you. Google is all about being a PERSON in front of what you are representing. Facebook always let us hide behind our pages. You know what? I found on Facebook, soon after I put my name in my about me, easy for everyone to see, I got more comments. People could see ME, as Joan, a person with 3 kids at home, a hubby and dirty dishes. I was no longer this nameless thing posting sweet treats to lure them in. I was like THEM. Think about the party where you don’t know anyone, aren’t you going to try and find someone like you to go up and talk to? Google is trying to make it easier to help you find your new friends.

Let’s start with what you need to do to get ready to Party on Google Plus. Your Profile. Gareth Mark goes into great detail about why every aspect of your profile is important. You need a photo, of you. I was using my Blog button for the first six months on G+ and it didn’t hurt anything but I was hiding behind that mask of my blog. Remember, Google wants you to be a person. Find a picture of you. You also want to put something in your Cover Photo spot. Don’t leave it with that green blank thing Google puts there. I’ve seen comments in groups that if you don’t complete your profile, it looks like you don’t care enough about using Google plus and you won’t get followed. You can use the same cover photo you use for Facebook or create a new one. Either a single photo or a collage. Picmonkey is great for making a collage.

Now start filling in all your blanks. Use your Name! Go to Google Plus and I’m Joan Hayes. I don’t worry about stalkers coming to get me, I’m sure there are 1000’s of Joan Hayes in this world. I’m just one of them. I see a lot of people using their first name and initial for last name. I can’t be sure but if Google is checking nicknames, I have to think they’ll get around to initials for a last name. You don’t want to spend all your time working on Google plus just to have them delete your account.

After your photo and name, your TAG LINE is the most important thing. This is what everyone can see in your Hover Card. Your Hover Card is what will pop up when someone “hovers” over your name. Make those first words count. When someone looks at your Hover Card, they see about 35 characters of what you’ve written. Get to the point. Are you a foodie, a crafter, a writer, a techie? You may not think this is important but when I comment on someone else’s post, I read the rest of the comments. I hover over the names and check the other people out. What I read there will tell me if I want to maybe be friends (add them to my circles) with them at this new party called Google Plus.

Fill in the rest of the blanks, you can choose to make some thing public, just to circles or private. Make sure you get all those Other Profiles links filled in. You never know who might be looking for where you’re also connected,  a potential sponsor maybe? Hit the done editing at the top of the page to save it all and lets get to the party.

Lets start you off with posting something. Just like I tell you for Facebook, post a PHOTO!

On your Home page-click the little house on the upper left if you’re not there, add a photo. Use the camera Icon then upload, from your computer, something eye catching to share. 

Don’t you just want to eat those rolls off the screen? 
Boring Link? Yup. Grab their attention with a PHOTO. 

Say something about your photo and put your link. But wait! Google allows for searchable hashtags, just like Twitter. Choose 3-5 key words and use hashtags. When you start typing in the hashtag, popular choices will come up, click on the one you want or create a new one. Gareth Mark was using his blog name as a hasahtag and I found out, it’s a great and easy way to track your posts so now I do it too.
Before you hit the Share button, check who you are sharing to.

If you are using Google + to promote your blog/business, you want to be sharing to PUBLIC.

Notice how Public shows up Green and all the rest are blue? You only want to share to a specific circle if you want to limit the audience that will see the post. Family photos are a good example of that. Only share those with family. If you are sharing to Public, there is no need to share to the rest of your circles, they will all be able to see your post.

So you’ve posted something. Time to go make some new friends. If you don’t have anyone in your circles yet or if you want to find new people to add, do a search.

Just type in one of those hashtag keywords and hit enter.

That Chocolate Cake caught my attention and here are 2 people that think that cake is awesome too. Click on the names, check them out. They may be people you want to add to your circles, they may not. You know what? I left a comment on the post though. Who knows, even if I don’t want to follow them, they obviously like chocolate cake, maybe they’ll want to follow me.

This is Social Media. If you want to gain followers, you have to be interactive with others. That means +1 posts, leave good comments and share other’s posts. When you share someones post, make a nice comment and then + their name in the comment.

Do you see +Kelly Miller in the comments? This will notify her that I mentioned her on Google Plus. Most who are active on Google Plus will check their notifications to get a quick glance to see whose been interacting with them.

Ever notice the red number box in the upper right corner of Google Plus. Those are notifications about you. Who commented on your post, on a post you also commented on, +1’d your post or comment, shared your post. Just click on it, a fast and easy way to keep up with what you’ve been active on.

One more thing I want to mention. You’ll occasionally see posts with people sharing circles, advertising great Plussers or whatever.

A word of free advice, don’t add them. Unless you know who is offering up the circle, you just end up cluttering your news feed and having to sort through them all later. Google Plus takes time to develop relationships and a following. Clicking on a magic circle won’t do it. You are much better off finding people through searches, from comments left on posts you both like and getting involved in communities. But we’ll talk about communities another time.

For now I’m going to leave you with a few of my friends to go find on Google Plus. These are people that are using G+ and helping others to use it. They provide informative information as well as great posts. They comment, they +1, they share, they are Good Plussers.

Me!!! +Joan Hayes Foodie and wanna be Good Plusser
+Chef Dennis Littley Foodie and great source for G+ Information
+Gareth Mark Foodie and G+ guru
+Jenny Melrose Foodie, Crafter, G+ go to girl for fast answers
+Christie Daruwalla Foodie, excellent Plusser, she loves to share
+Rachel Willis Foodie and Crafter
+Holly Waterfall Food and Wellness
+Trish Rosenquist Foodie and Crafter
+Mark Traphagen G+ techie, he knows his stuff
+Carrie Farias Foodie, great sharer
+Kim Kelly Food, Photography and Travel
+David Leite Food and great G+ Info guy
+Brooks Walker Foodie and good Plusser

When you get on to G+ and get settled, let me know, I’d love to add you to my circles.

I’m sharing at some of these great parties.

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About Joan Hayes

Mom to 3 teens, sweets and travel are her passions. Joan really does love her chocolate. She has a secret stash she hides from the kids and she has at least one bite of something chocolatey every day. She creates easy recipes any skill level can achieve to satisfy the sweet tooth in everyone!


  1. Great post Joan!!

  2. Joan…thanks so much. This was extremely helpful! Though I still feel a little bit lost, I think G+ is what Foodbuzz used to be only a thousand times better. Most definitely a feeling of community there! : )

  3. Joan, you are my blogging guru

  4. Thanks for the excellent info, graphics, and links, Joan!

  5. Yay…someone shining a little light into the Google + world. I’ve been on there for quite a while but only very recently started actually using it. Back then I started a personal profile ( but I also have a page for my blog ( Back then I thought that was the way to do it (just like FB) but now I realize hardly anyone else has a page. Can anyone maybe shed a little more light on Google + Pages?

    • Hi Regina, hopefully I won’t confuse the issue more but Google wants people to be people and businesses to be businesses. As a person on G+, you have more interaction with others, you can circle other people, making it easier to keep up with them. Google provides Authorship (we’ll get into that in another post) for individuals to give you authority with your blog/web page. The huge part of this is when you do a google search, google will link you-the person- with your posts. Google will rank you higher in searches when people you interact with on G+ do a google search.
      As for being on G+ as a page-there are advantages for being a brand but they are more long, long term and meant for the really big companies. I also have a page for my blog but I only use it to post a link to my latest post. I’ve found using G+ as a person much more rewarding.

    • Thank you very much for this detailed reply Joan. I found myself using both accounts kinda like you, interacting and adding people on one, and only posting links to most recent posts on the other. I guess I should change the link on my site then to my personal account as well.
      Thank you again!

  6. You’ve done a great job explaining Google+, I’ve been wondering about it..what it is, how it works, why go there, etc. You’ve answered my questions, thank you. Now, I’ll decide if I want to join in the fun.

    Nadine Osborne

  7. Wonderful advice Joan, as usual! Thank you!

  8. thank you so much for this post Joan. I have been using google+ for a while now, but still trying to get used to it.

    Natasha @

  9. This has been very helpful. I blog as and have friends who use Google+. But so many of them do not have their blog connected to their Google+ account and it makes it nearly impossible to find their blogs. It seems very confusing. This post is a great first step, but I have a nice little group of [readership] friends and followers, and don’t want to suddenly become invisible to them. I find Google+ intimidating and not user-friendly.

    • It is hard to find people over on G+ but hopefully if your friends are using G+, they have a G+ follow me button somewhere on their blog. One thing I like about G+ is I’ve met a whole new group of friends there. I still use my Facebook so I’m not losing anyone over there, Just expanding into new territory with G+.
      Just take baby steps when you’re ready. The first step is always the hardest.

  10. Excellent post, Joan! I love G+!

  11. Great post! I never thought about using my blog name as a hashtag. I will start doing that from now on! Thank you for the useful information.

  12. Great post, Joan. I’m starting to use Google+ more and more, and am finding it a great way to share and interact with others.

  13. Fantastic post Joan! It made me realize the one thing I never filled out was my tag line! I did it before I even finished reading this. Now to share on G+ 🙂

  14. Love you Joan and all your hand holding!

  15. Yay! I’m so glad you are posting Saturday tutorials again. I loved the ones you did a while back – a refresher would be fun! I use Google+ but not all the time because it gets overwhelming sometimes. I’m trying to learn all this in some kind of crash course, and while I’m not a stupid woman, focusing is not a forte’ for me! Thank you for breaking it down because I went from 5 followers to 300 and something in a short period of time and I don’t want them to start falling off because I’m not up to speed on it all! 🙂 xoxoxoxo

  16. Some great tips – thank you

  17. Thanks for the post, Joan! I just started with G+ and have been exhausted trying to figure it out – this takes a lot of the guesswork out of that!

  18. Great post, Joan! Thanks to your encouragement I’ve been using G+ for a few weeks now 🙂

  19. Great post Joan! Thank you for the tips and insight. I have started using it more recently and I’m enjoying it!

  20. Helpful and informative post. Thanks for sharing! I’m here via Sassy Little Lady’s link party.

  21. Joan thank you so much for this great information! I am scared, but I think I will jump in next week 🙂

  22. Anonymous says:

    I have a question, I have a Smart Phone and every photo or video I take ends up going on to my Google +, there is one very personal one that I want to delete, but am unable to! Can you tell me how to delete? Meanwhile, I’ve made everything only available to me . . . so that it doesn’t get out there!

    • I’m not very smart when it comes to “smart phones” but if you can get to your photo albums on G+, click on the photo you want to remove. Once there, in the upper left are some editing tools, the 4th one is a trash can and this will delete and completely remove the photo from Google. Hope this helps.

  23. Great post and thanks for sharing. Still a bit unsure about navigating my way around Gplus but will keep trying.

  24. Thanks so much for this post. I have G+, but don’t get it, so this is really great information for me to have. I’m pinning it for reference! 🙂

  25. This is a great post. I was planning to do a G+ for beginners in a few weeks (because I definitely am one!) and have started using it a lot more. These tips are great for getting started!

  26. So helpful. I have been a little lost of G+. Can’t wait to start figuring it out.

  27. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful G+ info! I’m still trying to find my way around and I appreciate all of the tips to make it a little easier!

  28. Thanks Joan! I’m trying to get it all going today, and this was helpful 🙂

  29. Great post! I have been stumbling my way through google + and you just answered some questions for me. Thanks!
    ali @ Forty before 40

  30. I have a G+ account for my blog and it just SITS there because I really have had no time to figure it out & have no clue how to use it! So glad to have found this! Thank you!

  31. Thanks Joan for sharing this great post, very informative! I’m following you on G+ !

  32. Thanks for the great tips Joan. I am slowly finding that I do like google+ more….so much I still need to learn though!

  33. Saving this because I need all the help on Google + that I can get! TY, Joan 🙂

  34. Wow….so much to learn! Thank you so much for your informative How-to posts. I am working my way thru all of them:) I signed up!

  35. Hi, Great post! Thanks for the great tips on posting. I especially like the +theirname tip! I will start using that soon. =)

  36. Thanks so much. I see a bunch of people have said the same thing, but I started my blog about 6 weeks ago and new I should start with google + but was a little intimidated by it. After I saw your post, I decided to do it, and now I’m not sure what I was worried about. Oh, mine’s a work in progress, but I’ll figure it out, now that I’ve had this jump start.

    Thanks so much!

  37. I just came across this post while searching for Google+ tutorials! Oh my goodness, this information is so helpful. I had no clue how to use Google+ or where to even start with it! I have this bookmarked for reference. Thanks so much!

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