You know you’re supposed to be on Google+ — everybody says it’s good for SEO, networking, marketing and more, with new reports coming in constantly about user growth.
So you have a profile. You’re using it. But even when you’re actively engaging on Google+, there are still many features you’re missing, if only because there are so many features to try.
With that in mind and in order to help you take greater advantage of the network, here are five specific Google+ features to check out!
1. Helper Extension for Chrome
If you’re already using Chrome as your Web browser, you’re one quick download away from a free extension that makes using Google+ a little easier. With the Helper for Google+ extension, you gain access to the following benefits:
- One-click tool to share Google+ content on Twitter and Facebook
- Desktop notifications on new posts
- Bookmarking tool for reading Google+ posts later
To download the extension: Go to Chrome’s Web store, download the extension, follow the setup instructions, and you have a one-click tool to extend your reach.
2. Built-In Formatting Codes
Google+ allows you to change the style of text you post with various short codes you might not know about. Here, for example, are a few ways you may customize your text:
- Bold: Add an asterisk at the beginning and end of the words you want to make bold (i.e., *post header*)
- Italics: Add an underscore before and a plus sign after the words you want to set in italics (i.e., _post header+)
- Strikethrough: Place a dash before and after the words you wish to have a line run through (i.e., -post header-)
3. Google+ Ripples
When you want to see the responses to a Google+ post in a clear, visually focused way, try Google+ Ripples. Go to the top right-hand corner of your post, click the downward-facing arrow, and click the option to “View Ripples.”
From there, Google+ will take you to a chart that shows how your content has spread, including what users have shared it, who’s liked it, etc.
4. Google Brand Page Audit
When you want some clear information about how well your Google+ page is performing, go to Steady Demand. With this free Google+ tool, you enter your brand page’s URL and receive a free report on what you’re doing right and wrong. Steady Demand checks to make sure you’re linking to your website from your profile, for example, as well as how well your posts are performing. After looking at the resulting metrics, you have a clear guide for improving your page.
5. Turned-Off Google+ Emails
Google+ recently launched a new feature that, by default, allows anyone connected to you on Google+ to be able to email you through Gmail. Some users see this as a new convenience; others see it as a huge privacy breach. If you want to disable others from being able to auto-email you, there’s good news —you can. Here is how:
From within your Gmail account, click the wheel at the top right-hand corner of your screen, above your inbox.
Click the “settings” button. From within your settings dashboard, scroll down to the section marked “Email via Google+” and change the dropdown settings from “Anyone on Google+” to your preferred option, either “extended circles,” “circles,” or “no one.”
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Save changes,” and you’re all set.
Have you already been utilizing these Google+ tools and features, or were some of them new to you? What other features have you found to be helpful or useful for you?