Make Your Google+ Persona and Brand Rock (open to READERS)

Google+ made some significant changes to its interface and controls recently. I’ve collected some of the best tips for optimizing Google + for search, visibility, privacy and more. And if you want to be published at, step right up. Send in your ideas for optimizing Google + here.

Google recently made some major changes to its Google+ user interface. A lot of our community — our readers, writers and editors lean heavily on Google+ as a sharing and collaboration platform — weighed in on what they thought about its cleaner look and on what some considered to be  excessive white space.

Well, now that we’re all used to it for better or worse, I’m collecting some tips and tricks to help you optimize your Google+ profile or the one for your business. I’m also collecting general tips and tricks on Google+ influence-building, sharing features, Hangouts and Circles. Got a tip?

Share it with me on Google+ or in the comment field below and I’ll add you to the story.

The best way to set up your profile: .

It sounds simple, but the No. 1 thing you should do in your Google+ profile is add pictures. That will increase your visibility in Google search and help your brand, even if it’s your own personal brand, grow exponentially. It is all about influence.

Think of yourself as a brandividual. Remember that pictures are searchable. Choose wisely.

And definitely put a name on your pictures — by that, I mean your real name — and also words and precise descriptors for the topic or subject in the images. This will improve search results for you.

Another tip. Fill out your profile. Your whole profile. You don’t have to share your entire profile — you don’t want to. It is easy to control who has access to your profile and just use the “view as” function to see what you look like through the eyes of others.

Here’s a decent video from the Google+ team with more on optimizing your profile. Check it out.

Video credit: Google.

I found some more advice on profile settings here.

Do better planning around your Circles:

The way you deal with Circles hasn’t changed a whole lot in the new UI, but it is always a good time to review how you’ve set up your circles and plan better for who goes where. Google+ Circles lets you precisely control control who views your content — and it lets you control your reach in terms of pushing content.

It is totally worth it to take some time and plan out your circles to engage people by topic, groups with shared interests and, especially, by what you want to keep private and just among your closest friends and family.

This video tutorial does a nice job of getting you into the right frame of mind for setting up — or re-setting up — your Circles.

Optimize sharing:

Like most social media communities sharing information is how the community comes together.  Google+ provides several avenues for sharing various content, rich media and otherwise. With the new UI, dragging and dropping files for sharing is easy. Just remember the three cardinal rules of sharing on social networks for optimum reward. One, always use common terms. Two, include rich media like photos, video and audio whenever possible. And three, name your media files so they match your personal or business brand to optimize search.

The bottom line — share and share often. The more, the merrier — provided your privacy setting are in order. And don’t share while intoxicated. And if you do, at least be funny about it.

Check out the below tuturial for more on sharing. It’s a good one.

Get into deeper detail here.

It’s not all about you. And even if it is all about you, act like it isn’t.

You’ll get the best response from an engaged Google+ community if you comment and share postings from others. The more you share, comment and +1 posts, the more your influence will grow and expand on Google+. That is just how Google designed it. Love it or leave it.

More on Hangouts and Hangout Apps

A Hangout lets you do video chats with several folks at a time live and on camera. Or use Hangouts to share your screen, watch YouTube videos with friends, you name it. With its open API, new third-party Google+ apps turn up every day that enhance Hangouts. Keep an eye out for new apps — they’re on the App tab — and give them a try.

Check out the latest advice and details on Hangouts here.

Want to add to this story or write your own? I’ll share this piece on Google+. Just comment on Google+ or, even easier for me, copy and paste your advice and ideas on ways to best optimize Google+ for businesses, brands, brandividuals and the reverse-brandividual — people for whom a low-profile is paramount.

What with the redesign, tips and tricks are always welcome. And it never hurts to be a published writer.

I’m +Christopher Poirier and this is