Google + : Workshop Wednesday’s

This week, we’re going to tackle Google plus (aka Google + or G+). My feeling is that G+ is one of the two most underused Social Media platforms out there. (Come by next week to see what I think is the other underused one.)

If you have a GMail account already, signing up for G+ is quite easy. Just be aware, that if you have more than one Gmail account, you need to remember which one you’re signed into when you get ready to sign up for G+. You could of course sign up with all of them if you wish.

So, go to Google + home page.  Near the top left of the page is a large read SIGN IN button. Look at the text to the right of it, and find the linked text “Create an account“. (Even more simple, click the link I just made that takes you right to where you want to be. Fill in each box. First Name: Your First Name. Last Name: Your Last Name. Username: Username you wish to use.  This is where you’ll enter the username of gmail to get an account. Now, create your password and verify it by typing it again. Now, fill in your Birthday, Month, Day, Year.  Next is your gender. G+ is one of the ones that gives an option besides Male/Female. If you are transgendered, you can choose other. If you don’t want to tell your gender, you can choose other.

Next is an optional area: Mobile Phone. (I did not use this. I don’t have a text capable cell phone.)  We now are up to filling in your CURRENT email account.  The step after that is fun. You get to prove you are not a robot and enter the CAPTCHA. (Sarcasm alert, I hate Captcha. I have trouble reading them) Now, let’s move on to Location. You choose from a Drop Down menu the country or territory you are from. The last required step is to put a tick in the box stating you agree to G+ Terms of Service. (Make sure you read them!) The optional step is to put a tick in the box that Google may use your account information to personalize +1’s  content and ads on non-Google site. Now, click Next Step.

Google Plus
Follow us on Google+.

I did a test account so I can tell you what is next. What happens when you click Next step is you are taken to a page that confirms your new gmail account. Mine is heavens.11.test.tut@gmail.com. Below the confirmation of your new accoutn is a large blue botton that directs you On to Google+. Click it.

Look at that page. It looks complicated, but it’s really not. Let’s start by creating our actual G+ Profile. Click the link “Add Your Photo.”  Remember, the photo must be at LEAST 250×250 pixels. This is pretty large, compared to many of the other SM sites.  Trim it as needed if you upload one larger than 250×250. Move on to the next step which is to make sure name/gender/birthdate are correct and click on  the blue button to the right bottom of where you’ve been working that says UPGRADE.  You need to use a real name, or one that appears to be a real name. My name is now Heavens angel rather than Test Account.

Now, it’s giving you people to follow from a variety of choices such as Featured on Google +, Causes, Entertainment, Food & Drink and more. You can click to follow one or all of these if you like…or wait for the customized follows I’ll be sharing with you in a moment.  Whether you follow someone from this page or not, click Continue. If you did not follow anyone, it’ll tell you you’re going to be lonely and offer the option to continue anyway or to go back. Choose continue anyway.

You’ve reached a page that shows you your avatar and has some more information you may want to fill out. If you fill it out, the image to the right shows you how it all will look. When you are satisfied with it, click the blue button at the bottom of the white box you’ve been working in, that says FINISH.

For me, it brought back up the ADD PEOPLE. Not sure what it wants you to do. Maybe you can tell me, if you added people during the earlier step. I clicked FINISH again, and recieved my Profile Box to do again if I wish. Click FINISH again and this time it takes you to your own personal G+ Home Page.

For me, the Home Page included posts from NBC, MASHABLE and a few others. You can add your own people you wish in the box that has 10 numbered boxes. How will you do that, when all you can click are links to follow people of interst, etc? By looking to the right of the post area and finding the CIRCLES and clicking on it.

Hey, cool. 5 circles already. One to name plus Friends, Follow, Family and Acquaintences.  Now you need to actually add people so you can add them to your circles. Look up above those circles you see on this page.  Click that + sign that says ADD NW PERSON. It will let you add them by name or email. I always choose email, because I’m more likely to get the exact person I want to add. I’ll add my real account so I can tell you what happens next.

Okay, I entered my real gmail account and it gave me the option of saving it to one of the prepared circles. I chose Acquaintences for today.  I had to redo it, as I forgot to click save. Now, I see a blue box that has angel Graham in it and I have one person in my Acquaintence Circle showing. Do this for each person you wish to add to circles. You can also add a person to the one that allows you to create a new circle and name it. I’m going to let you play with it.

You have now set up your Google+ profile. Congraulations. In a few weeks, I’ll be adding a workshop that deals with setting up a Google+ Page if you  are an Author, have a business, etc. I’ll also let you know some other ideas of how to use G+ to your advantage.

Make sure to read how to set up your Twitter Tab/Stream in HootSuite, and do the same thing for Google+.  One thing that is slightly different about G+ versus Twitter and Facebook is how you share your URL. Instead of having a name such as /angel_graham or HeavensGardenProductions, you have a number. My share URL is https://plus.google.com/113535273848741515795/ . You’ll find yours easiest by going to your Profile page and copying everything BEFORE /posts?hl=en-US .

Go ahead and wander around. Add a Cover Photo to your profile, or choose one of theirs. I left mine as the default for now. I’ll probably make a simple one for this account and use it for doing tutorials and such.

It’s all good everyone. In just a few weeks, you’ve learned how to use Facebook to promote and Market, how to add Twitter to your HootSuite Dashboard, and now how to set up your Google+ account. You’re doing GREAT. Pat yourself on the back!

Now that you’ve congratulated yourself, come comment and share your G+ URL so I can add you to my circle! See you in the CIRCLES!

All A Twitter: Workshop Wednesday

So, today we’re going to discuss Twitter. This is a social media platform that allows you to write status’ of only 140 characters. Not words, characters. One learns quickly to be succinct in their writing with Twitter.

There are SO many places out there to direct you on step by step directions for signing up for Twitter, so I’ll leave that to them. I’m going to talk with you about how to use HootSuite to automate as much of your Twitter as possible. I’ll be dealing more with how to read the feeds you want more than how to auto-schedule tweets, though I’ll cover a small part of that.

If you’ve followed Workshop Wednesday, you’ve already downloaded and begun using HootSuite during our Facebook Workshops.   If not, now is a great time to get it downloaded and set up. Hold on to this, we’ll be using it soon. First, let’s get started with Twitter Lists.

Twitter Lists are lists that you make on Twitter and can place your followers into. The reason you want to do this is to make it easier for yourself to be able to follow and interact with them. Some of the lists I have are “Social Media Contacts”, where people such as Kim Garst, a Social Media Consultant is placed, or Diva’s, where Kristin Painter, one of the Admins of Romance Diva’s  has been placed. This allows me to set up a stream in HootSuite for that specific lists, and to follow and respond to just those who are in the lists. (Remember, I’ll tell you more on how to set this up in HootSuite shortly)

You may also want to take a look at Tweriod, which helps you to find out when your followers are online the most. Or perhaps you’d like to try Social Bro, which does this and much more.

For instance, with Tweriod, it tells me that my best time to tweet to followers is between 11 am.-noon and from 3-5 pm on Weekends.  On Sunday, the times are 9 am and 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm,  3 pm and 4 pm. On Monday, it changes to 9 am and 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm., and for the most part on weekdays, it is 10 am and 11 am, 12 pm and 1 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Your times will likely be quite different, as your followers may mostly be active at night.

Social Bro offers a bit more, including being able to browse users to follow or unfollow, to customize who you are looking for in followers, such as if they have a custom avatar or are an “egghead” (Someone who still has the original avatar of an egg that twitter starts all accounts with.)

Now, let’s move on to HootSuite and those lists you created a bit ago. I’m assuming you still have the Hootsuite Dashboard open. Also, my instructions are for those who are using Pro, as I do not have the free HS any longer. For $10.00/month, it was well worth it to me to go Pro. This is the only program I can remember ever going pro on, and I’ve tried a few. To me, a few dollars a month to make it so much easier to follow your social media, connect with them, schedule posts/tweets, is worth it.

Okay, you want to be in the dashboard and we’re going to ADD Tabs first. The one you want to do now is Twitter (Label it your way, mine is Twitter  for main feed, with all followers. I then have mine broke down into tabs for lists.) Once you have set up the tab and labeled it as you like, you want to ADD Stream.  Look just below the tabs and you should see a small +sign that says +Add Stream

Twitter Tut 1
Step 1 in Twitter Tutorial

After you have selected Add Stream, you will see something that looks like this pic:

Twitter Tutorial Pic 2
Step 2: Includes several steps to do in order, as shown on pic.

Follow each step carefully. Be sure to end with clicking Create Stream, so it will do this for you.

Now you’ll see something that looks like this:

Twitter Tutorial Pic 3
Final step in Twitter tutorial

With the paid version you can add pretty much an unlimited number of tabs and streams. Go ahead and follow the instructions above to create a second stream that is for one of you specific lists, such as for me, Social Contacts.

There are other programs similar to HootSuite, such as TweetDeck, Social Ommph and more, that I have tried and just did not like. You may prefer those, so go ahead and use them. I’m using HS as my Tutorial because it’s what I actually use. Your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

Now that you have the tabs/streams set up, you can start to “listen in” on the twitter feeds. When you see something you want to reply to, hover over the tweet until you see a left facing arrow come up. Click on that to reply, and put your reply in the comment box above the tabs. When you have finished, click schedule. You can send it out now, or auto schedule. Play with HS to see how to do these things.

Perhaps you want to retweet something you see while in the HS dashboard, hover over the tweet again and look at the double arrow directly after the reply button. Click this and then post in the comment box, hit schedule and do the same as above.

Perhaps you want to DM the person. This means Direct Message. It to can be only 140 characters, so be brief. Again, hover over the tweet of the person you want to DM. It’s the last icon, which to me appears to be an envelope. Click it, enter message in comment box, then schedule as above.

For fun, and for business, you can create a Twitter Business Card at twtBizCard. twtbzcard

It has the basic social media sites you can add your link to, and hopefully, we’ll see more, such as Deviant Art and Behance among others. This can be a good way to link all your social networks into one easy place, and give out only URL instead of 3,9, 15 or more. It looks good and is quite simple to set up. Try it, you might like it.

I’ll do a post about Hoot Suite itself  in the next few weeks and give you more ideas on how to use it. For now, go forth and Twitter. By the way, don’t forget to set up your Facebook  and G+ accounts in the same way. Then, you’ll be one step ahead of us in the game.
Are you All A Twitter? That is, do you twitter? If so, do you want to share your @handle? Mine is @angel_graham. Feel free to follow me. If you leave a comment telling me you’ve followed, and your @Twitterhandle, I’ll follow you back for sure.
Come comment and join the twittering and tweeting. There’s plenty of room.