How Google Plus Can Connect Equestrians

| July 29, 2011 | Reply
Mandee Widrick | July 29, 2011 |

google_plus_logoI’ll be the first to admit, I was a bit skeptical when G+ first came out. All of my social media friends were asking me if I was going to leave Facebook for G+, and my answer each time would be, “Not a chance.”

Though I’m a pretty big fan of other Google platforms like Gmail and Docs, I was pretty sure G+ would end up another failure, following in the footsteps of Wave and Buzz. Heck, I wasn’t even planning on signing up for G+ at all – that’s how certain I was that it would be another failed stab at putting Facebook or Twitter out of commission.

However, being a social media consultant, I began to realize that I couldn’t be a grumpy face about it so I had a friend hook me up with an invite.

While I still have no intention of leaving Facebook or Twitter for Google Plus, this is what I’ve learned so far:

G+ has made it incredibly easy to notify targeted people when I post something new. 

On G+, you don’t have friends (like Facebook) or followers (like Twitter) – you have circles. When you see someone that you’d like to connect with, you put them in a circle. These circles can be named anything you wish; for example, some of my circles are named Horses, Entrepreneurs and Social Media Marketers.

When I post something new that I feel would be interesting to the horse lovers in my Horses circle, I can notify them. This is an optional feature that I have already used many times. If I choose to notify a circle, they will get a little notification at the top of their profile stating that I have shared a new post with them, which will then direct them to the link I’ve just shared.

To notify a circle, enter your post/link in the update box, then click in the box below it and type in the name of your circle. Once you’ve added your desired circle to share with, hover your mouse over the circle name. A little box will pop up giving you the option to notify those people:

Seriously, I love this feature. I should also mention that if you want your feed to be public, you will need to add that to your visibility options as well (as shown above). Otherwise, your account may look empty and inactive to someone who is interested in connecting with you, because no one else outside of your specified circle can see that post.

Stay current on your favorite topics with Sparks.

On the left of your G+ homepage, you’ll see a link that says “Sparks”. Here, you can search for various keywords or topics, and have the results of your search constantly updating in your Sparks feed. This is great for anyone who is interested in staying current on news stories in your field of interest.

 

Once you type in your search query for Sparks, just click Add Interest to place it in your Sparks feed. I personally use it to find potential stories to share with the HF readers. Handy, huh??

If you enjoy video chatting with friends, try a G+ Hangout. 

This is where it gets REALLY fun, and this particular feature is one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post. As awareness increases about G+ and more equestrians continue to join, this is a great way to build relationships with people face to face (via a webcam, of course) in a group setting of 10 people or less. So, if you’re not camera shy and want to network, let’s hangout on Google and share our knowledge of the equine industry with one another!

Here is a tip from Sean Cowen (RAMM Fence) about Hangouts, if you decide to try them out for yourself:

I see people in my circles announcing in advance that they’re going to do a Hangout and asking who’d like an ‘invite.’ It’s really like this: when you hold a hangout, you can make them entirely public, or you can choose specific people to Hangout with. It’s all up to you. So for people who may be shy about trying it – you could hold a one-on-one Hangout to start (to get your feet wet) and then add more people in as you get more comfortable with them.

Fun fact: I first connected with +Sean Cowen on Google Plus via a mutual friend. We had not connected prior to using G+. He then introduced me to +Debbie Disbrow, president of RAMM Fence…so you see, there’s some great networking to be had among equestrians!

More tips >> Want to learn some additional cool G+ tips and tricks? Click here!

If you need an invite to G+, just leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to get you hooked up. (You will need a Gmail email address to receive an invitation.) Oh, and don’t forget to add me to your circle, too!

 

Category: Business & Marketing

About the Author ()

Cindy Corwin is the CEO/Owner of Horse Family Magazine and is specifically interested in giving back to equine communities and bringing families closer together in their love of horses.

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