Like in real life where people tend to have various circles of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, Google’s social network, Google+, allows you to group people into online ‘circles’.
But is grouping your online contacts into circles worth it and what’s the point? I talk a little more about them and their uses here:
How they work
When you add someone to a circle, you will see their stream of updates in your ‘Home’ tab, by default.
As with on Facebook, there is a main stream containing the updates from everyone, but you can also specify here what streams you want to see from certain circles by highlighting/clicking the circles you want to see streams from on the left under your Home page.
For example, you may decide to only want to see updates from ‘Family’ and not ‘Friends’ in one instance, which you can activate by clicking ‘Family’.
Relationships on G+ are more similar to Twitter than they are on Facebook. You can follow people without them following you and see their updates, provided they are intended for you (their post is intended for ‘public’ or you are in one of their circles). This is an excellent gateway to being able to engage with the updates of people you might not otherwise be able to connect with on Facebook.
Bear in mind that you can only share content on other people’s streams who have actually added you to one of their circles. Many other G+ sources are saying otherwise, which is not true.
Uses for circles
Ok, so circles sound interesting, but what use can they be for you as a freelancer?
One use for circles is for freelancers looking to connect with certain prospects. An illustrator, for example, could create a circle entitled ‘Art Directors’ and add these people to this circle (as well as other circles if you choose to do so). This allows you to share certain content with only them, as long as they follow you.
This also allows you to be able to see only their content in your ‘Home’ tab stream, which you can then read and engage with, drawing in their attention.
As well as being able to use circles to simply categorize groups of contacts, they can be used creatively for keeping track of things by combining the use of a circle with G+’s sharing options. For example, you can create a ‘Things to Read’ circle. When you see an interesting post but don’t have time to read it, you can share the post itself to your ‘Things to Read’ circle. Later you can refer back to this circle in your main stream and read through collected posts.
Another great use of circles for creative freelancers is to have a circle that you only share work to that you want people to critique, before sharing it to the wider public.
To buy the eCourse on using Google+ to win more clients, as a freelancer, head over here to read more details.
I’d love to hear your experiences or questions you have with using Google+ circles as creative freelancers, by adding a note to our comments section below.