We’re honored to have Phyllis Khare join us as a guest blogger today. Phyllis is the author of Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies.

I work with older Boomers building their passion-fueled second (or third) career businesses. They are looking to social media to market their new products and services. Once they get over their deeply engrained old-school push-marketing and become comfortable with attraction-based marketing (this is never a complete transformation for Boomers by the way), they find their way into Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts.

If they are really gung-ho they get their YouTube Channel in order and eventually a company page on LinkedIn. Then they hear me say, “Google+ is a top priority for any size business” and hang their heads and say – enough! But if I can nudge them forward one more time, G+ can be a wonderful space to open more doors to more revenue, which is why they put up with all this social media stuff in the first place.

Here’s an easy Top 5 countdown of things solo-entrepreneurs and businesses new to G+ can do.

5. Be brave. Meet new people

Most of the people I work with are just now getting used to being on Facebook! Now I’m asking them to hop over to G+ and figure out a brand new community. I have found the people on Facebook and the ones on G+ are very different from each other. On Facebook you have the familiar face, the Friend or family member. On G+ you will need to be brave and meet new people. If you are naturally outgoing, this process will be easy for you, but if you are a bit introverted I have a couple of places you can view to start connecting with the people on G+.

  • YouTube Playlist: I have created a nice little playlist on YouTube. Just click this link and watch all the short tutorials. By the end of the playlist you’ll be much more at ease with this whole business of connecting on G+.
  • Search for your Tribe: The search function on G+ is light-years better than Facebook’s search function. Use it to find people in your niche. Make sure you start your search after you have logged into your account on G+. To open an account, first sign into your Gmail and look for the black bar across the top. Look to the far left and click the +You link. Make sure you watch the playlist listed above, so you understand how to open an account. HINT: Every Gmail email address has the potential to be its own G+ account. Make SURE you are signed into your main Gmail account before you open this new social account.

4. Decide if you are branding your personal account or a Company Page

It’s important to decide which account type you’d like to launch. Back on Facebook you might have figured this out already. You have either turned on your Subscribe button for your personal account or you have opened a business Page, or both! Back on G+ you have the same situation of personal accounts and Company Pages. Personally, unless you have a very large company with several people who are active on G+, I would stick to working with your personal account. I would, however, create the Company page as a bookmark for later SEO use.

3. Be strategic about your Circles

Circles are awesome (just keep repeating that until you feel it) and solve so many problems that Facebook and Twitter have with their connection functions.

Don’t do what I did, which is create a new Circle for just about everyone. I now need to go back and sort these out, and you do not want to have to do this task. It is worse than sorting colored pencils. No matter how easy it is to create a Circle, THINK before you create a new one. Remember, no one can see the name you have selected for a Circle, so you can feel free to have fun with the naming process. Be specific, but hey, lighten up and enjoy this space!

Think about the kinds of information you want to explore and name and populate your Circles accordingly. G+ starts you off with four circles: Friends, Acquaintances, Family and Following. I would certainly create one for your hometown, as that one is always interesting. From there you can create your own G+ world.

There are a great number of funny posts about what to name Circles, but you still need to think about it strategically. Here are a few examples of Circle names and how you could use them:

  • City, State: Create a Circle for each place you travel to, so you can target posts just to those people when in town. This would be handy to have for hangouts, too.
  • Solution Finders: Create a Circle for people who always have the answer. Put me in this Circle. And Jamie, too.
  • When someone Shares a Circle with you, consider adding it to an already existing Circle. The duplicates accounts will be removed and it cleans up the list.

2. Test Hangouts with friends first

Find a group of people who are also testing out G+. Set a time weekly, or monthly, to test out all the great features of a G+ Hangout. This is a great way to become relaxed around all the bells and whistles. And there are a few bells and whistles to figure out. The top five things to master are:

  1. How to invite people and/or Circles to a Hangout
  2. How to create a Hangout On Air so it ends up being a recorded video you can use.
  3. How to share your screen
  4. How to add apps, especially “Lower Thirds” so you can have your name at the bottom of your screen for everyone to see (just like the news on TV).
  5. How to kick people out of a hangout. Yes, you will need to know how to do that.

1. Spend time on G+

And this #1 task is the hardest thing for my clients. You have to spend time there. And it will feel odd at first. Your familiar friends are generally not there and the posts and comments are bigger, longer and more in-depth. Wade around in the water a bit and get used to how things work.

Find me, or Jamie or any number of other people on the leading edge of this new social site. Put us in a Circle and watch how we are using it. Use the Search bar to find amazing conversations. It will be eye-opening and hopefully you will see the value, the business value, on being on this up and coming social site.

About the Author: Phyllis Khare is the author of Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (affiliate links).  She’s been a writer for the magazines published by GSG World Media and she has a regular column in iPhone Life magazine.