Google Plus Circles: How to get the most out of sharing

This post is dedicated to anyone who has indicated that they don’t see enough involvement in Google Plus or that they don’t know how to set up their circles, or if you are broadcasting everything to everyone you follow (Stop it)

I initially created a circle for every group of friends that I belonged to. Then I started making circles for my interest groups. I kept my interests pretty limited. At first it was only “library” but recently I have expanded to a new interest “homebrew”

When I would post items in Google Plus I would create the post and then decide who my audience was and go through selecting different relevant circles that might want to see the post. This only worked for me for a few months until I realized that I was posting essentially the same content across the same circles. I needed a simpler way to do this.

To that effect I created new macro circles. In the Selective circle I included all of my friends and in the General circle I included people I didn’t know in my interest circles.

This works pretty well for simple posts without a targeted audience. I did experiment by creating an “active” circle that included everyone who had commented on a post since before the creation of the circle. The purpose of this was to include them in all postings and encourage more engagement. It was an experiment that didn’t end up bearing much fruit because people only want to engage with you on topics that they share an interest for.

The takeaway being: Post to the groups who will be interested in what you are saying. Don’t try to force participation.

The biggest change that has occurred since I set up this strategy was the creation of a new circle for homebrewers. This circle was growing very slowly until Google introduced the ability to share circles. All of a sudden users were sharing their circles of users filtered by interest. I added one of these homebrew circles all at once and there was a sudden explosion of new followers and new posts that directly pertained to my interest.

There was a problem however. The circle that had been shared and named “homebrew” actually contained quite a number of people who were not homebrewers. Many only had an interest in beer, and others had no discernible link to beer at all. I’ve tried to go through and filter out the users who should not be in the circle, but this is a time consuming process.

The next time I cam across a shared circle I was more selective about the process and went through the users in the circle first and examined potential people to follow from the list individually.

While grabbing that initial circle might have seemed like a big mistake, actually it led to a very large interest circle that is active and very knowledgeable about a topic that I am interested in.

I have filtered out many of the ‘love beer but don’t homebrew’ people and created a new circle simply called “beer” My next step is to move the entire homebrew circle into the beer circle. That way when I post a specific ‘how to’ question about beer production I will post to the “homebrew” circle and when I create a “I just made a batch of this kind of beer, or I bought this beer and loved it” post I will share it to the “beer” circle.

One parting word of wisdom. If you add people to Google Plus make sure that you are adding them to a specific circle where they will see information that will make it clear why you have added them. Also make sure that your profile clearly indicates interests you have so that the person you have added can use this information as a guide when adding you to a circle of their own (or at all)

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