As a new person or business to Google+, it may seem a little daunting and overwhelming. Don't worry Google+ is new too, as are most of the people using this social networking site.
There are new terms to learn and new buttons to use but there are many similarities to Facebook, which I'm sure you're already familiar with and it's not too difficult to learn.
Here are six things you need to know to get started on Google+. If you want to find out how Google+ will benefit you, check out this article: How Your Business Will Benefit From Google+
1. Google+ Circles
It's like the social circles you're a part of in real life; family, friends, sports team, coworkers, etc.
For small business owners, you can create Circles that include customers, prospective clients, networking businesses, and so on.
This is a great way to organize your Google+ network. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, which shares anything you post on your newsfeed and is available to anyone who follows you, Google+ allows you to share information or posts with who you choose to share it with. If you post a picture to your family circle, your business associates won't see it on their homepage.
You can drag and drop people into Circles, add more than one by highlighting the people first. Create new Circles by moving your mouse over or dropping a person into the area that says “drop here to create a new circle.” You will get a notification when someone else adds you to their circles.
Don't worry, no one will see which circle you have them in.
2. Google+ Communities
You and other members can share post to the community as well as participate in great discussions on a forum.
There are four types of communities which determines who can be a part of them. Public communities are for everyone while public with approval communities require moderators to accept you into the group.
There are also two types of private communities. One that you have to be invited to join as it's not in the search results and one that you have to apply and register for.
Google + communities are great because they are indexed in Google's search engine. They allow you to promote your events, become an authority on a topic and “brand” yourself. Through these topic-based communities you have ample opportunity to connect with people around the world who are interested in your topic.
3. Google+ Hangouts
In addition to posting public or private messages, with Google+ Hangouts you can have instant messaging and video chats with the people in your Circles. This feature is similar to Skype or Google Talk.
When you're in a Hangout, others see that you're available to chat but you don't always have to be available for a video call. You can use Hangouts to talk to one person at a time or up to ten people.
This is great for running an online workshop or seminar. Using the events section, you can schedule your Hangout ahead of time. You can have hangouts with people in your own circles or people who are part of your communities.
4. Google Groups
Using their extensive search feature you can find groups by language, date, author, or group name.
These groups are similar to the ones found on Yahoo Groups or Microsoft except that the groups contain past discussions that date back twenty years in their Usenet archive.
Create public, restricted (private) or announcement-only groups. Then you can invite anyone online including non Gmail users. Once you've created a group, your targeted audience will find you. This is a great way to build trust and gain followers, creating the perfect space to promote yourself or your business.
5. Google Blog
6. Sharing on Google+