Google+ Circles: What You Need To Know About How To Manage Them

Last Updated on: July 15th, 2017

What are Google+ circles?

What is the best way to manage them?

This article shares my strategy (which you can adopt) and some vital information about Google+.

If you have questions about Google+, please take a moment at the end of this article to read Google+ Circles: The Unanswered Questions, Answered!

And if you want to learn how to use Google+ for business, read the post called A Mini-Guide To Use Google Plus For Business.

circles2

Google+ is a rapidly growing social network. It is not quite like any of the hundreds of other social networks in existence, although it is most similar to Facebook.

One of the main differences between Facebook and Google+ is that Google+ helps you to meet new people and grow your existing network of people and share content with them, while Facebook allows you to share content with your existing friends.

Definition: Circles

Google+ lets you categorize the people you meet and know by letting you put them into circles. Circles are like lists, or categories. Circles also enable you to share content with specific people  and help you find and follow content that people you find interesting have shared.

To put things into perspective, let me tell you about my circles.

My Circles:

When I first began using Google+ (also called G+), I created a circle called “Bunch of Awesome People”, and put the many people that Google suggested for me into this circle. Once I spent some time on G+, I created more circles and named them appropriately. This allowed me to categorize my new connections.

Currently, I have 26 different circles. Some of my circles are labelled as follows:

Friends

Family

Bloggers

Fellow Bloggers

Writing

Editing

Publishing

Social Media/Marketing

Poetry

LinkedIn Connections

Finance

Videographers

Freelancers

Agents

You can put people into more than one circle, too, since people, such as myself, often fall into more than one category. If I were adding someone such as myself to my circles, I would end up in the circles labelled Bloggers, Writers, Editors, Teachers, Freelancers, and Poetry. Oh, and let’s not forget “Awesome People”!

My Strategy for Using Circles:

As aforementioned, I began with one called “Bunch of Awesome People”, which encompasses everyone, including those whom I don’t yet know. When I am “added back”, which is how Google+ tells me that someone added me to his/her circle, I put those who have added me back into a circle called “People who added me”, and then I take a look at their profiles to learn more about them. Usually, I read their About page and then put them into the appropriate circle or circles. Sometimes, I come across profiles that are somewhat incomplete, and in these instances, I take a look at their Posts page, and try to determine how to classify them by what they have posted. Since most people share their own content, it is easy to see that they are bloggers, and so they are put into my Bloggers circle. What I learn about them depends on how I classify them.

circles

Growing Your Network

Depending on your notifications settings, you will be notified  by email whenever someone “adds you back”, which means whenever someone adds you to their circles.

In these email notifications, Google+ will recommend three people (more if you click “see all”) and tell you how many people you have in common with one another.

When I am notified that someone has added me, I then, in turn, add these suggested people to my circle “Bunch of Awesome People”, and when/if they add me back, then they go in my circle called “People who added me”, and I view their profiles to see how to further classify them.

When I share content with others (which I know I need to do more of!), G+ gives me options of whom I can share my content with. For example, if I am sharing a poetry post, I will share it with those in my Poetry circle and not with those in my Finance circle!

Managing circles is pretty easy, too, once you get the hang of it.

How To Add People To Circles:

On each person’s profile, there is a red “Add Me” rectangular button. When you hover over it, a drop-down list of your circles appears, with boxes next to them. All you have to do is go down the list and check the appropriate box, or boxes. You can also easily add a new circle by choosing the “create new” option. That way, you custom-add your own labels for additional circles you create. Once someone has been added to your circle(s), the red button becomes green, and indicates which, or how many, circles that person is in. This is helpful since it reminds you of who that person is when you encounter them in the future!

What prompted me to write about circles is the fact that Google+ will soon be as big as Facebook (yes, really, in the next 2-3 years) and many of us still need to educate ourselves and learn to use the features of Google+ properly. Managing circles is just one thing we need to know!

Since multiple articles have been written about how to use and understand Google+, you can learn more by doing a simple search or by reading the articles I have linked to in this post. I hope that you now have a better understanding of Google+ circles and how to manage them!

FYI, if you want to learn how to make Google+ circles work for you, read this post. It may answer a few more questions you may have. 😉

For some definitions of Google+ terms, read 20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know.

Patricia Weber’s You Put Me Into Your Google Circles, I’ll Add You to Mine – Not So Quick gave me the idea for this post. In it, she links to Google Plus Circle Management 101, which, in turn has many great links that Google itself provides as part of its “help” feature.

I love Google for these articles; I generally find them super-helpful because they are easy to understand; they are written in simple terms for non-techies (like me!) and usually include step-by-step instructions or directions.

So, are you on Google+? If so, let me know in the comment section, and I will add you to my circles!

And don’t forget to get your free ebook! 

I’m entering this article in a linky party, and so have included the following code below to do so. Also, don’t forget to learn some answers by reading Google+ Circles: The Unanswered Questions, Answered!

50 thoughts on “Google+ Circles: What You Need To Know About How To Manage Them

  1. says

    can i add all friends circles to my circles at a time

    Because their are nearly 1600 friends in my friends circle, so i cant add all friends individually. So please can i have any solution from you madam……:)

    Please reply me fast

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Honestly, I don’t know. I know you can add them individually, but I’m not sure about importing/exporting them via a list. Sorry!

  2. Crazybaby says

    What I don’t understand is – if I add someone to my circles and they don’t add me back, can they see my posts to that circle?

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      No, they can’t. I know this because I just checked the posts of one particular person who I didn’t add back, even though I am in her circle, and I couldn’t see her post. In this situation, I am me and you are that person (even though you really aren’t).

      Kudos to you for nearly stumping me with this question! I didn’t know the answer to it off the top of my head, and so I had to do some investigating. Nice work – on both of our parts, don’tcha think? 😉

      • Hehehe yep, good detective work, you’re doing a good job, thanks.

        I’ve had G+ since conception, same as FB, and as one of your other posters said, the time in maintaining them becomes excessive, so i ditched one so I could focus.

        Like you I have organised my circles to be useful, much like an address book, but you know, I am still a bit puzzled over who actually can see what in my posts.

        What I read you as saying here and my understanding is that if someone ADDS me to THEIR circle, they can see what ever I share to to that circle group, but I can’t see what THEY post unless I add them. This makes sense as it would mean by adding them I am giving permission to come in.
        Like you I “monitor” what they post, sometimes their content is not relevant to my site so I send them a welcome and thank you but don’t add back, of course if they want to see my content then I am very flattered so I don’t delete them either :>).

        BUT, hmmmm, sometimes I get posts where the person seems not to be in my circle, so I am still hazy on this.
        I have tried searching for keywords such as “WHO CAN SEE MY G+POSTS” but nothing definitive comes up, not even from G+ help.

        • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

          That’s Google for ya!

          Sorry I cannot shed more light on this issue. I’d advise reading through the comments left on this post as I seem to recall addressing this question already.

          As far as I’m concerned, your understanding is correct.

  3. I needed to see this Lorraine – thanks for the great tips! I had everyone lumped into “Following” and it was becoming TMI under one roof. Question: When I’m categorizing followers into circles, should I still keep them in the Following Circle?

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      You can categorize people into as many circles as you want. For example, my friend Jeri is a writer, an editor, a blogger, and someone who also added me back. So she is in four of my circles.

      Having people in multiple circles is just fine. In fact, it is recommended. For example, if I am sharing an article about blogging, people in my Legal circle won’t be interested, so I would only share it with my Bloggers circle. And vice versa. Understand? You tailor the posts you share to the personal interests of your “friends”.

      Does this help clarify things for you, Marie?

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Jenny, I’m glad you found this to be of use. The only drawback to having people in your circles is when you are busy checking email and someone tries talking to you via instant chat. Some people are so desperate for attention that they become stalker-ish. When this happens to me, I simply go to their G+ profile page and remove them from my circles so they cannot bug me anymore. However, some people view this as mean, especially since G+ is a SOCIAL medium and the whole point of social media is to connect with others. How you deal with this issue is up to you. I find I am “hit on” by men from the middle east a lot. As if I can go on a date with any of them – I live in Canada! LOL

      I hope I have answered your question. Got any more?

      • For some people Social is just a numbers game, somehow in their sad little lonely world they feel the more likes, pluses or contacts they have makes them popular. Linked in is a great example of this where people have 500+ contacts. Now I thought about this, how can you really get to know 500+ people and keep a “relationship” even if it is business.

        And its not just lonely people, many brands big brands are guilty of this, they have a SOCIAL account for their product but fill it full of “ADVERTISING” and the only RELATIONSHIP is either to answer a question or post a thank you….. sometimes.
        They monitor and focus on comments and likes, not the actual human being, it is just a number to report to the CMO or shareholders.
        It is not really SOCIAL.

        As Lorraine says, motives also vary, I noticed that Linked in has a lot of other cultures females, young and single with 500+, mostly males.
        Again, to echo Lorraine, the number you have is really purely a personal thing and depends on what you want to achieve.

        So, [as i see it] from a practical viewpoint, the more you add, the greater number of inbound posts you will receive and even if each of your circle members makes one post a day, if you have 2, 3, or 500 in your circles that is the same number of posts you will see in your main page. Have you got time to even scan 500 a day, let alone read, comment, share?

        When people add me, one of the things I look at at other than relevancy, is the numbers they have in their circles, if I am one of several hundred or thousand I assume the chances of them even having time to see my post is based on really lucky logistics. If i just happen to be the last post shortly afore they log on, my odds are good, but if they have just logged off, then I am likely to be 1000 or more down the page. So I don’t add big hitters UNLESS THE CONTENT THEY SHARE IS REALLY RELEVANT TO ME. [Such as G-Analytics]

        I understand your feeling of “being mean” Lorraine, but if one goes to a dance or any function, one isn’t obliged to shake hands wiht EVERYONE in the room. And G+ is designed so we can be selective. So, again, it comes down to personal reasons and preferences, if you have the time and determination to manage a big list go for it, only you know the answer to that.

        Well, that is my direct and blunt feeling anyway.

        • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

          Wow. What a comment. I completely agree with you where LinkedIn is concerned. I have no idea why people would want over 500 contacts except to say that sometimes you need one contact to get to another. ie: you need to be introduced to person Z, and X knows Z, so you (Y) have to connect with X if you want to connect with Z. In this respect, multiple connections are needed and so that may be one reason why people end up connecting with so many people.

          As far as G+ is concerned, I like how you can be selective in who you connect with. Just like on Facebook or Twitter.

          I think there are too many social media outlets, if you ask me! It’s impossible to keep up with everything and everyone. Yet people place importance on numbers. Sigh. There’s just no winning! It’s almost like: “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”

  4. KidazzleInk says

    Another great post of yours Lorraine. I’m fairly new to social media. I don’t even use Facebook much at all. I never have. I was just wondering what your favourite social media tools are at the moment. I know these things can change quickly and I’m thinking about exploring further. Many thanks if you can give me a quick overview of what you find works for you.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      I’m actually planning on doing a whole post about the different social media platforms I am on, for I’m on quite a few, and I have only had my laptop since January 2013!

      I like them all, actually, but find they are time-consuming. 🙁 However, good relationships take time to build, don’t they?

      • KidazzleInk says

        Yes that’s the problem when time is short. I’d like to learn more but it really does take a lot of time.
        I was just thinking how great it would be to start using a couple of new social media sites. I’ll look forward to your blog. Thanks for your help today.

        • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

          If I were you, I’d get a Twitter Account and connect it to your blog. That way, when you publish a new post, it will be pubished to Twitter. If you are trying to gain more readers, do this.

          It really depends on what your goals are for your blog. Tell me them…if you know!

          Oh, and you’re welcome. I’m a pretty helpful person, you know. 😉

          • KidazzleInk says

            Why Twitter? I actually thought Goggle circle sounded great. I’d like to learn about the social networks. At the moment it’s great just learning about WordPress. But thank you muchly for your help today.

            • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

              Google+ is similar to Facebook, so if you don’t like FB, you won’t like G+.

              If you ask me, you should be all over! It’s hard, though, to do that. I’d start with one profile and then keep adding them, one at a time. It will take you a while to do, days, weeks even, to get the hang of things.

              When you have your profiles set up, use your About.me widget (you know what a widget is, right?) on your blog.

              See mine to try and figure out what I mean. The benefit is that you’ll get sharing buttons for your blog. They are called apps on your About.me profile. You have to add them, syncing them up. It’s easy once the profiles are made.

              Give yourself time; I’m here if you need me! 🙂 Remember, Rome was not built in one day…

              • KidazzleInk says

                That’s a bit of a challenge. I’d love to be able to explore it a bit more but I think life is just too busy. Thanks for getting back to me though.
                And thanks for setting up such an informative blog.

                • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

                  Like I said earlier, it depends on what your end goals are. Since mine is ultimately selling books, I want to get my name “out there” as much as possible.

                  If you are joining purely for fun, it’s okay to take your time and go at a slow pace. Join whatever social media site you want!

                    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

                      Google and Facebook are similar in many ways. If you are on social media simply to have a good time, I’d recommend trying each out and sticking to the one you are most comfortable with. 🙂

  5. Henri says

    Google+ is an abomination in terms of usability — how long will it take the average person to figure out what “xxx added you back on Google+” means, and more importantly, what steps they should take afterwards?

    FB doesn’t have to worry for the time being.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Thanks for your comment, Henri. It’s nice to meet you.

      I agree with you about FB!

      Learning new things is tough for anyone, for sure.

  6. I echo the others. Very helpful. I haven’t been able to make heads or tails of G+, too busy blogging and mothering. Thanks for the like on my poem — know?. If it interests any, I have been writing on the challenges women face in their pursuit of passions. Blessings.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Google+ is similar to Facebook, really. People share stuff, and the +1 is equated to a “like”. The arrow means you “share” the post.

      As far as circles go, they are like having groups of “friends”.

  7. This is so helpful! Someone added me to their circle and I had no clue how to manage. How on earth does one find time to keep up with this in addition to a blog though!!

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      It can take a lot of time, depending on how you categorize everyone. If you want, you can just have one or two circles, to make things easier. I like being extremely organized; I’m a bit OCD that way! 🙂

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Hi Arleen! I just added you to 5 of my circles: bloggers, fellow bloggers, social media/marketing, LinkedIn connections, and BHB group! You’ll make it into a 6th, People who have added me back, when you put me in a circle! (LOL)

      It’s kind of like Facebook, really, given all the new changes Google has made. You have a stream/news feed, and can interact with others. It’s just another social media network, but it’s gaining popularity.

      There are many ways to interact with one another in this day and age.

  8. Great information Lorraine. I’m really enjoying Google+, in fact sometimes I’ll miss an article from someone I follow, but catch it in Google+. It also can’t hurt your search rankings to be active there.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Hi, Debra! I’m glad you liked this article. It’s pretty hard to keep up with everything that everyone is doing. In fact, I am now compiling a list of blogs to regularly visit and comment on, and am bookmarking them in my browser so that I can open them up once a week and check them out! 🙂

      I didn’t consider my search rankings. I don’t know a lot about them, so I usually don’t think of things like that!

  9. Glynis Jolly says

    Wow! You got detailed there. I’m not as detailed as you are. I have 6 circles. It may be because I’m not as outgoing as you are.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      🙂 Everyone has different circles, depending on their interests. No one says you have to have a certain amount. I just like to be able to target certain people depending on their interests, and try not to spam them with posts they are not interested in. Granted, it takes time to do this, but I think respecting others is worth it.

  10. First Lorraine, thanks for the mention of that blog post on my blog.

    You have some valuable, even fun, tips here. I like how you add people in circles and basically advance them so you can further the conversation if you want to.

    My hope is that Google overtakes Facebook for no other reason than, Facebook isn’t helpful for me for what I do. My time on Google+ is proving to have more ROI.

    I can always pick up the telephone to connect with family. Thanks for this post!

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Hi Patricia! Nice to see you here, and on LI, too.
      I credited you because I’m that kind of a person! 🙂
      Thanks for liking my article! 😀

      The ROI, or return on investment, is higher on G+ because others are there for the same reason, which is to connect with others and share relevant with one another. As long as G+ doesn’t become too much like Facebook, I think everyone will be happy with it, once they get to really know it!

  11. Good information Lorraine – I wasn’t aware that I could make customized circles. I enjoy using Google+ for networking. Facebook is a jumbled mess anymore, and I don’t have time for discovering all the nooks and crannies where important messages hide.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Circles are useful to know about since Google is rapidly growing. It will likely become more popular than Facebook, in about two years. It definitely has its advantages!

  12. says

    Good content post. I am in Google+ Circles and I really don’t know how to get the most out of it. I will re-read your post and go back and re-organize my circles. Thanks!

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Thanks, Jo Ann, for the compliment.
      It’s definitely easier to find people when they are in their own “circle”!
      I am glad that you found this article helpful. 🙂

  13. Deevra Norling says

    Mmmmm… I am on Google+ and either it is not as popular and widely used or maybe I am just not investing time and effort into making it more useful. I find that out of all the social media platforms, that Google+ is the most useless. It’s there and I share things from time to time but my circles are still minute and well… I don’t know. I guess I’m not sure it’s worth my time. And just takes up more time as it is yet another social media outlet to keep in touch with, and I am already overwhelmed by trying to keep up with all the other social media, email, blogs, etc!

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      I have to agree with you that it does take time to interact with others, but building a social network is important for an author/writer such as myself. (Or so I’m told, for future marketing purposes!) Someone’s going to have to buy my books, right? (LOL) What better people to buy my books than those I already know?

      I think you are missing the point, too, Deevra. Social networks are for socializing. If they are that much of a hassle to use, then don’t use them! 🙁

      • Deevra Norling says

        Maybe I’m just suffering from information overload or time management issues! *help!* Because for instance, I can get lost in Twitter and if I allowed myself spend hours on it catching up on news and clicking through to articles and blog posts I find interesting. Yes I know that it is for socialising, but my point was simply that it can suck time. I like how you’ve organised your Circles though. I want to do that on Twitter with the Lists function. Then I can start being more targeted with messaging to specific Lists.

        • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

          Aah. Twitter lists… this is, so far, something I have to do! Maybe I should write a post about that? LOL

          I think all social media can end up being a “time-suck”, if you let it. What is important to remember is that
          1. you should enjoy it,
          2. you should only spend a certain amount of time on it each day,
          3. don’t let it distract you from your work, and
          4. use it for different reasons at different times. (ie, marketing vs. sharing vs. having fun looking around)
          If you can do this, you’ll have an easier time spending your time! 🙂

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