Once you sign-up for Google+, the first order of business should be to build your profile. As with any social networking site, your profile is your home base. It’s where you tell people what you’d like them to know about you. This is where you showcase the information you want to be publicly available when someone searches, or googles, you online. It is also the information others will use to decide whether or not to connect with you on Google+.
Before you begin, you must find your way to the right page in your Google+ Profile. If you previously had set up a Google Profile, it has now become your Google+ Profile. See the red arrows above to direct you to the correct page.
- Get Started: Click on the ‘Edit Profile’ button to begin. You will then see that it is easy to click on any section you wish to edit.
- Profile Photo: Select a photo to upload. You may want to review 8 Tips for Selecting the Right Profile Photo to help with your selection.
- Name and Headline: Be sure your name is correct. This must be your own name, not the name of a business. Make sure to include a headline. It can be a mix of serious and fun, but use the space wisely.
- Text Sections: The Introduction is important. What is the story you’d like to tell about yourself? As you write your introduction, you may want to include keywords which would enable you to be found most easily. While it remains to be seen how searchable Google+ profiles will be, we do know that Google will be giving some visibility to public content on Google+. I’d say that the Bragging Rights section is optional, but I’d suggest that professionals complete all or most of the other sections.
- Employment: This tiny section is extremely powerful, though its power isn’t obvious at first glance. The information you add here will provide a window into what you’re all about to anyone who wants to make a quick decision about whether or not they’d like to connect with you or view your profile to learn more about you. Here’s how it works… If you see, for example, an insightful or witty comment I added to one of your friend’s posts and you wanted to find out more about me, you would hover your cursor (see red arrow in image below) over my name. By hovering here, you will see my hovercard (see inset box in image below). From this hovercard, you can instantly follow my public posts by adding me to your circles. All too often, I find that people have left this field blank. When their name appears in a discussion or I see that they’ve added me to their circles, I wonder, “Who the heck is this person?” and peek at their hovercard to find out. If I find no information on their hovercard, it is much less likely that I will circle them back. Make sure you put something meaningful in this section; not just your employer or name of your business, but also something about what you do there. If you are seeking employment, this would be a great place to highlight your skills or accomplishments.
- Links: Any good online reputation or digital footprint is seamlessly connected. Make it easy for me to see where else I can find you online. Add links to your social accounts, blog, website, presentations, publications, videos, photos – anything you feel helps tell your story online.
- Search Visibility: Now this is key. Do you want your Google+ Profile to show up in search engine results? For me, the answer is 1,000,000% yes because I know what a huge branding and visibility opportunity it is. If you are worried that this will mean that everything you share on Google+ will also be publicly viewable, don’t. You have complete control over each individual post and can easily share each item publicly, privately, or somewhere in-between. (More on sharing in an upcoming blog post. Be sure to subscribe at the end of this post if you don’t want to miss it.)
- Formatting Text: In each text section, you have the ability to add links and format the text as best suits your needs. It isn’t mandatory that you do this and it is certainly something you can always revisit at another time, if you’d prefer.
- Private vs. Public: Google has learned a lot about users’s desire for complete control over who can see their content and they’ve gone a long way toward allowing you to manage your profile privacy at a granular level. For each section, you will be able to determine who will be able to see your information. For example, if you added your telephone number in the appropriate section, but didn’t want everyone to be able to see it, you would select the Custom option and then might make it visible to only your Family and Best Friends circles.
- Done!: Bravo, you’ve finished! Just click Done Editing and admire your work. See something you’d like to change? No problem, just click the Edit Profile button again and tweak away. You always have the ability to jump back in and make adjustments.
I’d love to see your Google+ Profile. Post the link in the comments below and I’ll add you to my Almost Savvy circle. I would be delighted if you added me to one of your circles to see what I’m sharing on Google+. Also, please share your tips you’ve come across about creating Google+ Profiles.
Thanks to S Sriram for capturing the screenshot of my hovercard for me.
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