There are a lot of separate parts to Google+ as a whole, which can be daunting for a new user. This series of articles will clear up the confusion in small bite sized chunks.
At it’s most basic, a Google+ profile is a place where people can go to read about you. Yes, it is all about you. Except for this one, which is all about me!
However, there are also brand pages which come with different profiles. A brand page could be a Google+ page profile, a Google+ Local profile or a Google+ Local page profile.
What?! That is absurd!
On the face of it yes, but not when you understand the reasons. Which is what this article is partly about…
Understanding brand pages
When Google+ first arrived, there were no brand pages. Businesses were prevented from creating personal profiles and had to wait for the eventual release of Google+ brand pages late in 2011.
Google+ brand pages allowed businesses (and anything else that fancied a page) a foothold, with all the bells and whistles you would expect from Google+.
Later on came the replacement of Google Places with Google+ Local. So, traditional Places pages were converted to Google+ Local pages. These didn’t have all of the social aspects of Google+ pages.
With Google+ Local arriving on the scene, new Local pages that were created did have all the social aspects enabled. Older Places pages can now also be ‘merged’, to enable the same level of functions.
So there we have it. Three types of brand page, although in the future I would imagine the reality will be just two.
How can you tell a brand page from a personal profile? The easiest way is to look for the +1 button, next to the usual Follow button.
Now we come back to you.
Personal profiles are your chance to shine in front of the eyes of others. You can find out how to supercharge your Google+ profile, by reading my previous blog on the subject.
What appears on my profile?
Everything on the About page can be configured to be visible to Public, your Extended Circles or any way you like using your circles. Control over your profiles is yours to do with as you wish.
The Posts page is a little different. For normal posts, it is determined by the use of Public or circles. However, if you post to a community, then posts will only be visible on your profile if the community is public, or if the visitor is also a member of the same community.
You can also change the visibility of community posts on your profile completely, by going to Settings under the main menu, then scrolling down to Profile.
This section is also where you can control what profile tabs are displayed and who can send you messages.
Linking to a profile
Each Google+ profile has a unique URL to connect to it. Until recently URLs for profiles looked like this.
Recently, Google released vanity URLs to the public. A vanity URL is shorter and much easier to read, making it easier to include on things like business cards.
Here is mine. plus.google.com/+AlanStainer
Here is our brand page. plus.google.com/+AlansITSolutions
Profiles (whether they are personal or for a brand) are a window of opportunity. There are some fantastic profiles out there and I am looking forward to discovering them.
If you have any questions about Google+ profiles, ask in the comments below.