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social media reviewsHave you heard about the changes to Google+?

Want to know how the redesign affects you?

To help marketers understand what to expect, we recently explored the new Google+ and asked notable experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the new design.

In this article you’ll discover whats changed with Google+.

Why Marketers Should Care About Google+

Before we dive into the specifics of the new Google+ updates, it’s important to address what these updates mean to social media marketers as a whole. Since news about the breakup of Google+ products began in early 2015, some marketers believed it was the beginning of the end of Google+. These thoughts were further supported when Google announced the separation of Google+ from it’s other products.

But now, we can see it’s not the end for Google+. “Google+’s new changes are a sure, and comforting sign Google+ is here to stay at least for the undetermined future,” predicted Jesse Stay, author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies. He added, “It shows Google is still putting money and resources into the website, and still sees it as a product worth spending money on.”

In terms of marketing, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+.

changes to google+

Discover what marketers need to know about the changes to Google+.

According to Martin Shervington, founder of Plus Your Business, “With the release of this latest version of Google+ we see a new incarnation for the platform aspect, with a focus on Collections and Communities. This is great for those who are unleashing their inner geek, freed from the historic social relationships and dynamics on other platforms. People are free to tell the world about their love Antique Motorbikes, and find the people who love them too.”

“It’s a smart evolution of the Google+ product,” said Trey Ratcliff, photographer at Stuck in Customs. “Photography and passions have always been some of G+’s greatest strengths and now with the emphasis on taking these into Communities and Collections, it’s even more exciting.”

Of course, the changes are not going to make everyone happy. As Ray Hiltz, Social Media Strategist notes, many users will be looking for “…lost features like: G+ Events (a particular sore point for HOA hosts), Polls, hover cards, Hangouts (not accessible inside G+)…” He believes that mobile users of Google+ will be able to transition to the new platform easier than those who have invested time on the main site since the beginning.

With those things in mind, it’s important to focus on what Google+ Ambassador Denis Labelle sees as the future. “The new Google+ is all about the interest graph, the open web but mostly, about people’s passions.” If your marketing is geared towards passionate people, you will find great ways to connect with them in the new Google+.

With these things in mind, here’s what marketers need to know about the new Google+.

#1: Find the Stuff That’s Missing

Before looking at what’s been redesigned, let’s look at the things that have disappeared or moved to their own subdomains. If you still have these things in the left sidebar menu, you’ll need to look for the button below or similar prompts to switch to the new Google+ experience.

new google+ button

Prompt to switch to the new Google+.

Noticeably missing from the new Google+ dashboard menu are the following:

Events

Events are currently available in the Google+ Android app and the classic view of Google+. If you want to create an event and are viewing the new Google+, find the link at the bottom left of your Google+ dashboard to switch back to Classic G+.

Hangouts

You can now find Hangouts on its own subdomain, hangouts.google.com. There you can connect with your Google contacts via video calls, phone calls or text chats. You can also use the menu to find Hangouts on Air.

new google hangouts

The new Hangouts.

Hangouts also has its own app for Android and iOS devices, separate from the main Google+ app.

Google My Business

Your Google+ brand and local business pages are now split between Google+ and Google My Business. You can still toggle between your profile and pages using the menu at the top right of your dashboard.

new google hangouts

How to switch from your profile to your page.

When you select one of your pages from that drop-down menu, you’ll be using Google+ as your page. This allows you to do most of the things you could do before, including view your stream, follow Google+ profiles and pages, join and create communities, follow and create collections and organize people you follow in circles (more on these options later).

The big difference is when you want to edit your page or view your page insights. To do this, you need to click on the My Business button when using Google+ as your page.

Or you can go to the Google My Business subdomain, business.google.com. There you’ll find options to edit your pages (discussed in detail later in the post), manage your locations (local business pages), view your page insights, create new brand or local business pages and restore previously deleted brand or local business pages.

new google my business menu

The new Google My Business.

Google My Business also has its own app for Android and iOS devices, separate from the main Google+ app.

Photos

Photos is also under its own subdomain, photos.google.com. That is where you’ll find all of the photos you’ve uploaded to your Google+ profile.

new google photos

The new Google Photos.

Photos also has its own app for Android and iOS devices, separate from the main Google+ app.

#2: View the New Stream

Just like before, you can view the stream (news feed) using your Google+ profile or page. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. You’ll then be taken to your profile or page stream.

The new Google+ stream shows updates in one or two columns (depending on your screen resolution/size). Included in your stream are updates from the people, pages, communities and collections you follow.

At the bottom of each update, you’ll see icons that allow you to +1 (like) updates, comment and share to Google+ as well as Facebook and Twitter.

new google stream share options

Social sharing options from the stream.

To customize what you see in your Google+ stream, go to the People menu in the left sidebar and then click the Following tab at the top. You’ll see a list of the people and pages you have in your circles. Click the three dots to the right of your circles to find your Circle Settings.

new google plus circle settings access

Circle Settings to customize your stream.

There, you can choose whether you want to see more or less of a particular circle’s updates in your stream.

new google plus circle settings

Circle Settings to customize your stream.

The same goes for Communities. Posts in your stream from your communities will show the community name in green or blue, depending on whether you follow the person who posted to the community.

If you don’t want to see that community’s post in your stream, click on the community name, and then click on the three dots at the top of the community cover photo to find the Community Settings. Similar to Circle Settings, you can choose whether you want to see more or fewer updates from the community in your stream.

new google plus community settings

Community Settings to customize your stream.

If you don’t want to see updates from collections you’re following in your stream, you have to go to the collection and unfollow it.

Utilizing these options will allow you to fine-tune the updates you want to see from your Google+ community.

#3: Post Updates

Just like before, you can post updates to your Google+ profile or page from the stream. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. You can then post updates from the stream using the update box at the top or the pencil icon at the bottom right.

new google plus post options

The update box and pencil icon from the stream.

When you click on one of these, the update box appears.

new google plus update box

The update box.

If you click on the link next to your name, you can set the visibility for your update. To get additional selections beyond Public and select Communities or Collections, click the See More link.

new google plus privacy visibility

Visibility settings for your Google+ update.

This allows you to post to one or more collections (visible to everyone following selected collections), to one or more communities (visible to everyone in selected communities), to one or more circles (visible to everyone in selected circles) or to one or more individuals (visible to the selected individuals).

new google plus visibility settings

More visibility settings for your Google+ update.

If you belong to a lot of collections and communities, you’ll have to scroll past them to find your circles. To select individuals, you’ll have to scroll past your communities and circles.

Once you’ve selected with whom you want to share your updates, enter the text for your update and click on the icons at the bottom to share a photo, link or your current location.

new google plus update box

The update box.

Click on the three dots at the top right of the update box if you want to disable comments or shares of your posts.

new google plus update comment and share options

Options to disable comments and shares.

#4: Discover and Create Collections

Just like before, you can follow and create collections using your Google+ profile or page. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use. Then click on the Collections menu in the left sidebar.

On the following page, you’ll see a search box for Collections and three tabs at the top: Featured, Followed and Yours.

new google plus featured collections

Featured collections.

Use the search box or Featured tab to find collections to follow. Click the Followed tab to see the collections you’re following. And use the Yours tab to see collections you’ve created or to create a new one.

If you’re the creator of a collection, you’ll want to visit your collection to see the latest changes. To edit your collection, click the three dots at the top right of the collection cover photo and choose Edit Collection.

new google plus featured collections editing features

Editing collections as the owner.

Now, you can update your collection’s cover photo, tagline, theme color and following preferences.

new google plus featured collections editing options

Editing your collection’s cover photo, tagline and theme color and following preferences.

You can post updates to your collection from here using the pencil icon at the bottom right of the screen, or from the update box on your stream by selecting your collection as the destination for your update.

#5: Join and Create Communities

Just like before, you can join and create communities using your Google+ profile or page. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the Communities menu in the left sidebar.

On the following page, you’ll see a search box for Communities and three tabs at the top: Recommended, Member and Yours.

new google plus communities

Recommended communities.

You can use the search box or the Recommended tab to find communities to join and participate in. Click the Member tab to see the communities you’ve already joined. And use the Yours tab to see communities you’ve created or to create a new one.

If you’re the owner of a community, you’ll want to visit your community to see the latest changes. In particular, the community info is now accessible with the info icon (the “i” in the circle). To edit the community, click the three dots at the top right of the community cover photo and choose Edit Community.

new google plus community settings

Community settings for owners.

Now, you can edit the community cover photo, name, tagline, privacy, description, posting categories and links.

new google plus community edit settings

Editing your community.

Use the Manage Members menu if you want to promote members to moderator or remove them from the community. You can also modify your personal community settings to show more or fewer posts from the community in your stream or to turn notifications on or off.

You can post updates to your community from here using the pencil icon at the bottom right of the screen, or from the update box on your stream by selecting your community as the destination for your update.

#6: Edit Your Profile

You can edit your Google+ profile using a couple of methods. Click your profile picture at the top right and click the Google+ Profile link. Or click the Profile link in the left sidebar menu.

new google plus profile access

Google+ profile links.

The new Google+ profile design has changed in several ways. First, there are no tabs for your About information, photos, videos, etc. Instead, you’ll see your cover photo and basic information, followed by your collections and communities and then your updates.

new google plus profile design

The new Google+ profile design.

To edit the visibility of the collections you follow and communities you’re a member of, click the Edit Profile button. This brings up options to select (or deselect) the collections and communities you want shown on your profile.

You can deselect all of them if you want people to see your updates immediately, or you can select featured collections or communities that you own to showcase them on your profile.

new google plus profile edit options

Edit Profile options.

Note that you can’t remove collections you’ve created from your profile. If you don’t want a collection shown on your profile, you have to delete it completely.

You can also update your cover photo, profile photo and tagline from this view.

To update what was formerly your Google+ About tab, click on the info icon (the “i” in the circle) in this view or next to your Edit Profile button. This takes you to your new About Me page, which is on its own subdomain at aboutme.google.com.

new google about me profile

The new About Me profile.

This page contains the information formerly on your Google+ About tab, with the exception of the Introduction. To edit a section, click on the pencil icon at the top right of the section. The information here is shown to anyone who clicks on your profile from other Google services.

You can click on the Public link beneath each section to change the visibility of that section to Private, people in your circles (Your Circles) or people in your circles and people connected to those in your circles (Extended Circles).

new google about me profile editing

Editing section visibility on the new About Me profile.

#7: Edit Your Page

You can edit your Google+ brand or local business page a couple of ways. To use the menu at the top right of your dashboard, click on your profile photo to select your page and click on the My Business button. Or go to business.google.com and select your page.

On the following screen, you should see a red Edit button on the page you’ve selected.

new google plus local business page

Edit button on a local business page.

This allows you to update your page info.

new google plus local business page edit options

Editing local business page info.

For some brand pages, you may also be directed back to the Classic G+ and can edit your page from there. If you click on the prompt to go to the new Google+, you’ll lose the ability to edit your page.

#8: Organize Your Circles

Just like before, you can follow profiles or pages by adding them to your Google+ profile or page circles. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the People menu in the left sidebar.

On the following page, you’ll see a search box for People and three tabs at the top: Find People, Following and Followers.

new google plus local people to connect with

Suggested people to connect with.

To find people and pages to follow, use the search box or Find People tab. Click on the Follow link to add them to specific circles.

On the Following tab, you’ll see the circles you’ve created and can create new ones from there. If you want to edit your circle settings, click on the three dots next to each circle.

new google plus circle settings

Your circles and circle settings.

The circle settings allow you to configure how many updates you want to see in your stream from people and pages in the circle. You can also specify whether you want to receive notifications from those people and pages in the circle.

#9: Check Your Settings

Last but not least, be sure to check your settings for your profile or page. To start, click on your profile picture in the top right and select the profile or page you want to use from the menu. Then click on the Settings menu in the left sidebar.

Here you’ll find the settings for your selected profile or page. These allow you to specify who can comment on your posts, how photos and videos are shared, what’s shown on your profile, how your stream is laid out, email and phone notifications, apps and activities, location sharing and other advanced settings. These options may vary based on your selected profile or page.

new google plus profile settings

Google+ profile settings.

At the bottom of your settings, you’ll also find the option to delete your Google+ profile or page.

What do you think about the latest changes to Google+? Do you think these changes will keep Google+ afloat in the long run? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

what marketers need to know about changes to google+

Discover what marketers need to know about the changes to Google+.

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  • Nice article Kristi!

    I’ve always been fond of Goolge+ as it was the first social platform that I was able to find strong community and many like minded individuals.

    It also gave me an opportunity to build a business from scratch by using all the varies tools and features.

    I found my target audience > found a way to become a voice for that audience > connected with that audience through Hangouts, Communities & Circles.

    Like anything worth anything, it took work, but G+ definitely made it possible!

  • Great post Kristi! I am loving all the changes that are being implemented for Google +

  • It was a little confusing at first, but I think its smart for Google Plus to focus on the interest graph.

  • CircleCount .

    Great article Kristi!
    Just shared it on Google+. Thanks a lot!

    Just one small correction for #3:
    “This allows you to post to one or more collections…, to one or more communities…”

    I don’t think there is a way to post one post to more than one collection or community.

  • Thank you for highlighting the aspect of manually changing your post to public vs. a group. SEJ’s Brent Csutoras already kicked me out of his G+ group for making that mistake.

  • Thanks Shawn! 🙂

  • Thanks Lincoln! 🙂

  • Agreed. As with most changes, it takes a bit of getting used to. 🙂

  • Ah, good point. Thanks for the update! 🙂

  • You’re welcome! Let Brent know it was an accident – I’m sure he’ll let you back in. 🙂

  • Thanks for the heads up about the changes to Google+!

    I have a Google Plus page (personal and professional) but haven’t used it in a while. With many social networks to choose from, it can be overwhelming. For me Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn (could use more) and Facebook (trying to grow) are easy to use. Not that Google+ isn’t. But it has a different feel to it than those social networks. Plus, I’m spread too thin as it is.

  • Well done. I’m all over Google+, but nice to see it neatly stated here.

  • Heather ‘Carter’ McCulloch

    I am still learning about Google+. Do you all think that it is better to post just under your organization or direct people to the specific collections?
    How have you found ways to grow your google+ base? It seems so different to me than the other platforms and not very much interaction…

  • Carlos Rodriguez

    Same happens to me. I’m so into Instagram lately. I just realized Twitter is not for me anymore. On top of that, I’ve been checking lots of Twitter pages and the engagement is almost zero. What happened to Tw?

  • I’ve always thought of G+ as a set of tools rather than a social platform. Lot of great stuff. I just wish they’d stop moving them every few months

  • Excellent post Kristi. Now I have to evaluate again how many resources for me and my clients to invest in Google+. In the words of that great philosopher, “Oh bother.”

  • Thanks for the extra info and the contribution Denis! 🙂

  • You’re welcome Amandah! Good luck managing the multiple networks. 🙂

  • Twitter is too easily automated, so people are moving to networks where they know their friends are actually online. 🙂

  • Thanks Adrienne! 🙂

  • Collections are good for people / pages that are going to be posting a lot of different things that different people will be interested in. For example…

    A photographer who does landscapes, buildings, weddings, etc. might want to create collections so fans of their work can follow the specific work they like.

    A news site that posts dozens of articles a day might want to create collections so that readers can follow the topics they like.

    A business that offers different types of software for different types of customers might want to create collections so fans of particular software can follow news on that software.

  • Hopefully this will be the last big change. 🙂

  • Thanks John! A lot depends on your niche or industry – some are hot on G+, others are not. 🙂

  • John Keim

    They probably should… but… I have two advertising & marketing related communities one with 19k memebers and the other one with 14k members. My Google analytics says I get only 2-3 views from those pages a day. That’s it. And I have the link to my site pinned to the top! I don’t see how anyone gets anything from advertising on my pages. Plus, half of the posts get marked as spam by G+. And no, I am not going to un-spam anything. Why marking them as spam in the first place? The bottom line is G+ doesn’t live up to the hype. At least their community pages. I don’t even know what the community pages there are for. Chatting with other members? Wow, like that’s going to help my bottom line. I was really excited about G+ when it first showed up on the scene. Now, not so much.

  • Google+ communities got hit hard with spam. Chances are, people getting marked as spam in your communities have been reported as spammers by other community moderators.

  • Great post. Does anyone know what role hashtags play in the new platform. Is there a point to keep using them? Also, will public posts on G+ keep showing in the personalised SERP?

  • You can still use them. Most people seem to use them at the very end of the posts so they are there, but don’t encourage people to click to the hashtag instead of the main link in the post.

    Currently, I only see Google+ posts in Google search results from people I’m connected with. If I switch to non-personalized results, I still get Google+ public posts, but not on the first page of search results.

  • “Currently, I only see Google+ posts in Google search results from people I’m connected with.”

    Good to know but hasn’t that always been the case? That was (and looks like still is!) the main incentive to grow your following on G+.

    The fact your posts show up in your connections’ personalised SERP is very powerful!

  • Brent Csutoras

    I will unban you if it was just a mistake. Doing now.

  • Jenn Comegys

    Thanks for the info Kristi! I am curious though as to whether I should ( as an online marketer) recommend Google + as a main service? I’ve been saying that Google My Business set up should definitely be done, but when it comes to posting regularly? I focus on small business, many of them B2B. What are your thoughts?

  • Digisha

    Great post! very useful information about Google+

  • Vinay Chaitanya Dornadula

    It’s a nice article Kristi!

    I love to use G+…

    New interface is pretty cool, but missing G+ Polls…

  • Anna Blume

    Great article. Question: When I post in a community, how can I move my post into one of my collections WITHOUT showing 2 times in my stream?

  • I can still see some public Google+ posts when using a browse that is logged out of Google (and thus, not getting any personalized results).

  • I always think of the order of priorities should be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for most businesses.

  • Thanks! 🙂

  • Thanks Vinay! 🙂

  • Unfortunately, it looks like they took away the ability to post the same update in two places. So if someone is in the group and following your collection, they might see it twice. But only if they are connected to both.

  • Heather ‘Carter’ McCulloch

    Thank you this is very helpful! I am kind of new to the social media marketing.. so am trying to absorb everything I can! I really like this newsletter- very helpful!!

  • What I don’t understand about what Google did is this part: “lost features like: G+ Events (a particular sore point for HOA hosts), Polls, hover cards, Hangouts (not accessible inside G+)”.

    The one area they were really strong in was being able to invite your followers into HOAs. BLAB was already taking market share from them, and if we can’t promote an HOA to our followers anymore why would we use them instead of BLAB? (I haven’t tried – I have just heard that you can’t under the redesign.)

  • I never did fully understand circles, but the people who did are very unhappy they were taken away in this redesign.

  • Is this app for desktop or only mobile devices?

  • We still love Twitter, but they just took share counts away. If plugins find a way to restore them, some of us will stick with them – but, if we can’t fix that then Twitter just committed suicide.

  • I agree with this order for social media, but an SEO would put G+ first and some brands have made big splashes on Instagram so it really depends on the business.

  • Excellent post Kristi with solid recommendations! G+ Communities are our favorite. We started one on Internet marketing when they launched and are now just shy of 16,000 members and of course, shared this post there this morning 🙂 Thanks & Rock on!

  • Hangouts still exist – they are just separated from Google+ now. 🙂

  • That sounds like an awesome community! 🙂

  • Hey Kristi,

    Great article and quick reference guide to the new Google+. I started using Google+ via my mobile this year and it has been a great convenience for me. I just noticed the changes this week on my mobile and it looks a bit more focused as a social media site than it was before. I stI’ll have to navigate this new setup but I’m liking it so far.

    Thanks for the tutorial Kristi! Have a good one!

  • Lean a few tips I didn’t know yet. Thanks! Great Post!

  • For some circles were used as a way to rapidly grow your following on G+ without having to use valuable content as a tactic. In fact, outside of early adopters, influencers and evangelists of G+, doing circle sharing was a quick way to grow your following… In the end, value always wins out!

  • I can’t imagine that happening LOL

  • Thanks Sherman! 🙂

  • Thanks Sherry! 🙂

  • Best I can find right now is searching for your business, clicking on it in search results (the one that shows the number of reviews you have), then copying the link when you see the listing with the Write a Review button like this. https://www.google.com/search?espv=2&q=air+conditioning+repair&npsic=0&rflfq=1&rlha=0&tbm=lcl&ved=0ahUKEwjy34_rnNzJAhUT4mMKHXqGC8wQvS4IOzAA&rlfi=hd:;si:163040638488203795#rlfi=hd:;si:10343711476810195331

  • Circles are still there. You have to go to the People menu then click on the Following tab to find them.

  • Jonathan Flynn

    Hi Kristi,

    Really helpful article thanks for the advice! I’m not overly familiar with google+ and want to set a page up for my dads small architecture business. How can i reach target audience members ?(im not overly familiar with connections and circles) does google+ incorporate a # analogy of searching or do i need to post into collections to get his work out there?

  • If you don’t have an audience / following, the best way to reach your target audience is by using the keywords they would search in your posts, joining Communities where your target audience is actively engaging (not spamming), and commenting on public posts by people and pages where your target audience also engages.

  • True, but by separating them many assume that now you can’t easily invite circles or others connected to you. Are they correct?

  • Thanks for the info Kristi!

    I need help understanding Google+. When should I use my page vs. when should I use my profile. I post new blog posts to both my profile and page. I guess I just don’t know enough about Google+. Many of my fellow blog friends say Google+ is a good traffic source for them so I would love to better understand it.

  • Thank you kristi ….
    Great aricle about google+

  • Lisa

    Could you tell me what niche/industries are hot on Google+? I’m having a tough time deciding if it’s worth much of my time managing social media for my company. Thank you!

  • Marketing and photography are definitely hot. The best way to be for sure is to see whether your competitors are on Google+ and, if so, are they getting any engagement. 🙂

  • I rebooted my Google+ page to capitalize on the Collection feature which I like for my niche content strategy.

  • I love Google. I joined 10 communities related to my services and i always get over 10,000 viewers within one week or less. The other day i posted photo under Snowzilla Creations and i could not believe when the numbers went over 40,000 with 3 days .Check it here under #Snowzillacreations

  • Marketing DS

    Interesting article. At the moment, I am trying to edit the URL in a post I shared a few weeks ago. I can see how to edit the message but not the URL I shared. Can anyone assist?

  • Moluba Supuwood

    I cant see the view count on the profile page anymore. Therfore im trying hard right now to bring back the previous google plus. Give people a chance to say yes or no….the update sucks.

  • Scott Davidson

    Really enjoyed the article Kristi. Google+ is truly a sleeping giant.

    Soon enough businesses will harness its power.

    Although I am still trying to wrap my mind around communities and circles. It still seems like a bit of a mystery to me. One that I am determined to get to the bottom of 🙂

  • Communities are like Facebook Groups. A place for groups of people to go to talk about specific topics everyone is interested in.

    Circles are just ways to organize the people you follow. Organize them based on how you want to see updates (i.e. you may want to see updates from one circle of people at a time separate from another circle) and organize them based on who you want to share updates with (i.e., you may want to share certain updates with family only and you may want to share certain updates with business contacts only).

  • Dennis, ListsUK

    I think that order of priority will always be dependent upon the type of business/customers involved; as with any kind of marketing or advertising, you want to be where your customers are…