Google Plus Circles : When to Share to Circles and When To Post Public

New to Google Plus Circles? Maybe you’ve been around awhile. Either way these circle things can be confusing. Just what is the point of them and when should you share to circles or do you just post public?

What are Google Plus Circles?

Back when I started on Google plus back in July 8, 2011 I made this post – What are Google Plus Circles

“Public is twitter – ie Anyone who has put you in a circle (just like follows you on twitter) can view what you said.. this is what twitter is like for everyone. If you would post what you are writing to Twitter.. Use public.

Circles are your life split up into sections. Personally I have A Family, Friends, Business connections, Hangout connections, and Random People circles. (and a few more interest specific cross referenced)

When I post a business blog post that my family doesn’t care about? I select… BUSINESS CIRCLE.
When I post photos of my family bbq. FAMILY CIRCLE.
Drinking photos with my pals? FRIENDS CIRCLE.
Something I just tweeted? PUBLIC.

Gone are the days of your boss seeing your friend night out photos.. or your mom seeing your work comments and saying how lovely you are at your job. Thank you Google+.

Cleared up? Good. :)

Real Life friends and Boss in my Google Plus Circles? Not Round Here!

But… this isn’t really the way that Google+ has gone. My boss, co-workers and heck even “real life friends” are not daily on G+ making posts. So what’s the point of circles then?

There is lots of point if you think of creative out of the box ways of using them.

The Difference Between Sharing To a Circle and Notifying a Circle

notifyFirst things first… Lets get the terms right. Sharing to a Circle and Notifying a Circle. Big big difference here. You can share to a circle and what you post will appear in their stream or if they come to your profile they will be able to see the post but this is the important part – They will not be notified. That means your post will show up with the hundreds of other posts from all the people they circle in their main stream and if they happen to be looking when you send it, they will see it. In most circumstances where you will be sharing to a circle, you will want to notify that circle so they get a red notification in the top right of G+, but this is where things get.. tricky. Have a look at the image to the left for where you Notify a circle –  but basically notify is when you check the box for “Also send email to CircleName”.

The last thing you want to do is start mass notifying your circles with stuff they don’t care about. When you notify, you basically are sending an email to this person. If they have not asked for it, and they don’t know you or the post is just you pushing your company message….. You are spamming. Be very careful with this box. That being said there are creative ways to use this effectively.

The following is my Personal Preference on circle management and what I Personally have done on G+ with great success for almost 3 years and getting me to an audience of 4 million people.

Interest Based Circles On Google Plus

circle2work in real estate, People i’ve done a hangout with, bloggers, people in Toronto, people who have read song of ice and fire the book AND watch game of thrones(so I can post spoilers)…. among many many others.

Most of these circles have less than 100 to 150 people in them.

I try and make these “Opt-in” circles… Where I make a public post saying I’m making a circle on X topic.. if you want to be included and notified about my posts on topic X comment here on this post. I do this several times till the circle gets a few people in it. Communities can help with this too. Circle some active people in the community.  Then occasionally (like once a month – if that), I’ll share a specific targeted post to that circle and notify. For Example, when I have an interest based question like “Whats the best way to give my cat a bath?”.. or “How do i know if wine has gone bad” I share a target post with a notify to the cat or wine circle. I get a response pretty quickly usually. I also use this if I find an interesting news story or image that i think the circle would like. I usually share this circle out to others too, so we all get more followers. Its that give give give with the odd take that makes the notify ok and keeps your followers happy.

Other people use circles and rank by engagement they get on G+. For example – When you comment you get in one circle, many comments you move up a circle and so on until you are in my core fans circle. I’ve never used this method as it seems like a fair amount of work, but many users have stated they had good success with it.

Because you are mostly dealing with strangers my personal opinion on sharing/notifying to circles is, request it or don’t do it – Because basically you are spamming and notifying someone who didn’t ask for it.

When should you notify a post to a circle when a person has not opted to be in it?

Once.. Maybe Twice… My recommendation it to create a private post saying you’ve made a circle and you want to notify like I mentioned above. Anyone who doesn’t answer, remove them. I always include a line that says something to the effect of “you’ve been notified but if you don’t want to be anymore please let me know, no worries”.

Other situations where you would share to a circle – The Stuff mentioned above. Share personal bar hopping photos with friends to your friends circle only. Share family photos with the Family circle. Or if you want to have a private conversation with a few people but you don’t really care if all the people see it, just have access to it. Kind of like permissions. Sometimes I create small targeted circles of friends I’ve made on the platform, when i want to highlight them to a post and will notify then. I use this about the same way I would send an email to my friends – to let them know about something important in my life, something I am proud of, something i think they might enjoy.

You can also check out the “Official g+ help page on circles

95% of my post on G+ are public. I use my targeted circles in ADDITION to public most of the time in the mentions mentioned above. I have a very public G+ life though. Many people on G+ take the time to create private little communities that they can have discussions with about sensitive topics, like religion, work, politics, friendships and using circles is a great way to share content with ‘slivers’ of your life.

Try some things out… Whats your method for circle management? When do you share public? Share your tips with others here.

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