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10 Things Every Designer Should Do with Google+

Google+ is the fastest growing social network in history. It offers unique advantages to creatives that other networks cannot, namely content exposure, open communication, collaboration and powerful image sharing. You may still find Facebook useful for keeping a tight-knit circle of relatives and friends or promoting yourself with a brand page, but Google+ is a definitive leader when it comes to industry exposure and connecting with peers and prospects.

Here are 10 things you should be doing with Google+ to help get more jobs, contacts, recognition and inspiration.

1. Get creative with your profile pic

If you upload multiple pictures to your Profile Pic Gallery, visitors to your profile can click your profile image to view them all like a flipbook. Including several photos with different facial expressions or using photos as key frames to create a mini stop-motion movie are entertaining ways designers are using this feature.

2. Create a Portfolio with your Scrapbook

The “Scrapbook” is a Picasa photo album tied to your profile page, which can display up to five thumbnail images. Use this feature to show off your best work, or create a clever header to communicate your brand.

Enter Edit Profile mode, click the header area to manage images directly, or use Picasa to upload them to the Scrapbook album. The order in which they appear is controlled by clicking “Organize” from the album view in Picasa.

Here are a few examples of how other designers are using it for inspiration:

3. Setup Your Google Card

Your Google Card is the little profile preview people get when hovering over your name anywhere in Google+. By adding some detail about what you do, you increase the chance of being added to circles. The sub-text that appears below your name on the Google Card is pulled in from fields on your profile, each having a higher importance than the others do. The current order is Employment, Location, Occupation.

If you only want a short bit of text to show, make sure you do not have a current location set, and use your Occupation field. If you want to include a lot of detail, add an Employment section, enter the detail you want to show, and set it as “Current.”

Without some detail on your Google Card, it will be hard for others to get an idea of who you are and why you are following them, making this an important step for gaining the best exposure.

4. Build your link list

Make it easy for prospective clients and employers to get in touch with you or learn more about what you do by building a link list on your About page. Add direct links to your service page, quote form or contact page to your “Other Profiles” section for highest visibility.

5. Circle your peers and those that inspire you

Create a circle specifically for reading posts from other creatives that inspire you. Think of this circle as an RSS feed – a way to keep up on what leaders in your niche are doing. Use a separate circle for managing followers who are simply into design-related topics. This tactic helps keep your stream organized while maintaining a way to post targeted content to interested followers.

Start with checking out these lists of recommended users to build your circles:

As you find more designers to circle, check out their profile pages and see whom they have circled to build your network even more and discover new and interesting people.

6. Post with Passion

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+ has a much broader publishing reach. As a result, your content is more visible and should be tailored to appeal to who you are targeting. If you plan to use Google+ to help build your personal brand and get more recognition for your work, post the majority of your content to the Public. Create special circles for posting private stuff, controversial opinions or “off-topic” content and subscribe followers to these circles based on their posting habits or interests. This makes your stream appear more focused and professional and gives you a way to deliver targeted content to specific groups of people who may enjoy pictures of your cat, but not debates over politics.

Here are a few tips for producing content others love to follow:

  • Post inspiring, informational, motivating and relevant content.
  • Avoid advertising.
  • If you blog, syndicate your content with a Plus1 share button.
  • Post sneak peeks of stuff you are working on the same way you would if you had a Dribbble account. Comment on other’s posts.
  • Use images to help get your posts noticed in the stream.
  • Check your “incoming” stream regularly to discover new people worth adding to your “to read” circles.

7. Clean up your Picasa Albums

Google+ is becoming a hotspot for photographers, agencies and visual artists. It is worth your time to create a few albums showcasing your photography or design in specific concentrations. If you have photo albums containing family pictures or other content you don’t necessarily want published to Google+, take some time to go through any existing Picasa albums and set the privacy and notification options you want. You may also want to rearrange your albums to display in a certain order on your Google+ Photos page, which you can do by changing the date. Albums with a more recent date are shown first.

Privacy options can be set directly from your Google+ Photos page, or you can open the album in Picasa and click on “Actions > Album Properties.”

8. Get Your Add On

 A ton of Google+ add-ons are available for Firefox and Google Chrome that will enhance your Google+ experience. Check out designer Graham Smith’s Google+ Apps collection for a head start. A few recommendations include the SGPlus or Publish Sync extension for Chrome, which allows you share Google+ posts directly to Twitter or Facebook.

Don’t forget to add a Google+ widget to your own website. There are a handful of plugins for Drupal and WordPress already, or you can grab a syndication +1 button or Google Card badge here.

9. Collaborate with Hangouts

If you don’t know what a Hangout is, it is a feature in Google+ that allows you to start a live web or voice chat room and invite others from your circles. Designers have been using Hangouts as away to collaborate on projects, brainstorm new ones, or simply get to know one another and exchange ideas. If you are shy about getting on a cam with other desgners, just remember that most of us are introverts too.

10. Get Your Vanity URL

Now that you’ve gotten the hang of Google+, are generating content and gaining a decent following, you probably want to start promoting your profile. The default profile URL is long and ugly, and while any URL shortener will do, gplus.to and plusya.com offer Google+ specific vanity URL services that may be a better choice. Plusya provides the added benefit of analytics to give you a detailed view of how your link is used.

See you there!
Vail from DesignArticleWriters.com is a designer and tech blogger who enjoys writing everything and anything about design and tech. She love to recommend people who provide awesome stock photos to design community around the globe.

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

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