Monday, August 11, 2014

Social Media Monday—Google Plus for Writers Part Three—Set Up Your Profile

by +EdieMelson @EdieMelson

Even though this may seem out of order, I purposely waited to post details about the nuts and bolts of setting up a successful Google+ profile. I wanted all of us to be on the same page as to the purpose and opportunities this social media platform offers. Your profile on Google Plus—and on any platform—needs to be customized to the strengths of that specific platform.

If you missed the first two posts in this series, here are the direct links:

Set up Your Google+ Profile

If you haven’t set up a Google account, I’ll cover that at the end with a screencast. But I believe most of you already have an account, you’ll just need to tweak it to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.

First, choose your profile picture. A few things you need to know about social media profile pics.
  • The image needs to be a recognizable picture of you. No cartoon characters, baby pics or even pics of grandchildren. I’m glad you love your grandkids, but I’m following you because of you, not because the grandbabies are cute.
  • The image needs to be your face, preferably smiling.
  • The image needs to either be the same as your other social media network profile photos, or at least close enough so I can recognize it’s you by your picture. A lot of people have similar names, so name isn’t always the most reliable way to find someone on social media.

Next, choose your cover photo. This is the large, rectangular photo that goes behind your profile pic. Because it’s a wide space, you’ll need to make sure you choose and crop a photo that fits. Google+ has some generic cover photos you can use, but I don’t recommend it. The idea of this cover photo is to illustrate who you are and the things you’ll be sharing on this network. Below is a screenshot of my profile pic and cover photo.

Now you want to work on the ABOUT section of your profile. To do this, click on PROFILE on dropdown menu on the left side of your screen. Then click on ABOUT, under your profile pic (see screenshot below).

NOTE: To edit each section, scroll to the bottom of the section and click on EDIT in the bottom left corner. After you’ve made your changes, be sure to click SAVE in the bottom right corner.

We’ll begin with STORY. You’ll want to come up with a short tagline that describes who you are. I use the same one on all my networks, to help people find me (see screenshot below).

After that is your introduction. This is where your bio goes. You can also include live links in this section. I composed my bio in word and hyperlinked appropriate words. (Here’s a post on How to Use Hyperlinks  if you’re unsure how to do this.)

After this you’ll find the WORK info. This is important because this is what appears under your name and profile pic on your main Google+ page.

As you scroll down, the next few sections are self-explanatory, so I’m sure you can figure them out.

The last one I want to address is the LINKS section. This is important because it ties directly into Google Authorship (I explained that in Part One of Google Plus for Writers).
  • Other Profiles is where you add your blog(s) and other social media accounts.
  • Contributor To is where you add the sites where you contribute content, like my Guideposts blog or Novel Rocket.
  • Links is where you can add other links.

Update Your Settings for Privacy and Notifications
To get to your SETTINGS, click on the drop-down menu on the left of your screen, scroll down and choose SETTINGS (see screenshot below).

NOTE: These are the settings I use to maximize my exposure without risking too much. It’s a balance and you should choose the combination of settings that you’re most comfortable with.

Who can interact with you and your posts—I chose Anyone for both scenarios.

Who can Hangout with you—I chose Hangout with you for all my circles except Everyone Else. For that I chose Invite only .

Receive Notification—I have all notifications go to my email account. You have almost infinite options for personalization here. I recommend you experiment to find the settings you like best.

Location Settings is the only other one you should be concerned about . I strongly urge you to keep your location settings turned OFF. Strangers and acquaintances do not need to know where you. If you want to share about your location, post about it. But don’t open yourself up to stalking of any kind.

These are the basics of how to set up your profile and settings for maximum visibility. Be sure to leave any questions or comments in the section below.

And don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. Edie, Great article, but while telling us "Links" is important, you didn't tell us what to do there or how to do it.

    1. Ron, I include step-by-step instructions for how to include a link in a document in the article I linked to above ( I'm not sure what instructions you're looking for. Leave me another comment and let me know what you're confused about and I'm happy to help. Blessings, E

  2. I love these article, Edie! Thank you for doing this!!

  3. This is helpful, Edie. I adjusted some of my settings, and changed my bio. Hopefully, it sounds better and more professional. :)

    I'm thinking about my cover photo. I like to change it from time to time. First, is that okay to do? Secondly, should I put my tagline in the cover photos I use?

    This has been a great series. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Jeanne, it's fine to change your cover photo from time to time, just make sure it reflects who you are. And yes, putting your tagline in the cover photo would be great. Just make sure it isn't covered up by your profile pic. I'm glad this has been helpful! Blessings, E

  4. This was amazingly helpful! Thank you SO MUCH!