Complete Guide to Google+ Collections

Complete Guide to Google+ Collections

 

Google Plus has always been special for the quality of the community and conversation. Now they are taking it to a whole new level, by releasing a feature that Google Plus diehards like myself have been waiting for since its launch.

Finally, a way of building a truly targeted audience without resorting to forced notifications or emails. A more relevant, natural stream of the things that are truly important to each user.

What are Google+ Collections?

Google Plus Collections are themed channels for your content, like a Google+ blog on a specific subject, event, organization, or website. You will be able to create, manage, and view your Collections when you use the Google+ on mobile and on the web.

Google Plus + Pinterest Boards = Google CollectionsClick To Tweet

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Benefits of Google+ Collections

    • Fine tune your Google+ streams to better match your own interests and browsing habits.
    • Follow content you want to see, ignore the stuff you could care less about.
    • Reach and connect with new people, by cleaning up your stream.
    • Higher quality content as people not only think about the posts, but how the posts work together into an overall narrative.
    • Multilingual? Stop confusing your followers by finally splitting your streams between your various preferred languages.
    • Promote the best content you have in special themed collections. Use one for your favorite posts on a topic from your own influencers, or perhaps build a running list of services in a great visual form – allowing customers to not only see what you do – but how you do it!
    • Build a collection around your Hangout on Air series! Show off episodes, additional links and content, and wrapups all in one place.
    • Photographers: use collections to curate and showcase your favorite styles and themes.
    • Businesses: use collections to target specific demographics and user interests.

 

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My Favorite Collections

Maybe you don’t need a primer. Do you understand concepts quickly by simply trying them out yourself? Well then – get out of here – go get to playing! Until I get to peruse more collections created by others, I thought I’d share the ones I look forward to sharing the most – you can head over and have a look. If you don’t have the time to play and test a new feature – read on and I’ll teach you what I’ve learned so far about this new feature of Google+.

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Accessing Google+ Collections

If you do not yet have access, something is wrong! Be sure to comment on this thread and let them know – as Collections should be fully rolled out as of 5:00pm EST.

The collections are visible from the top left drop down menu on desktop, or from the main top drop down under search for the Google+ App. Once Collections are available to you on your own profile, they will also be available for any of your Google Plus pages. Note: you can’t yet hide the Collections tab just like any of the other tabs like Videos or Reviews – you can do this in the Google+ settings for your profile.

From the main page, you are immediately invited to start creating collections (scroll down for more information on creating Collections), but you can also scroll down the page to view the Collections you are already following, as well as other Collections from your Circles.

You can access the list of Collections that someone has created by clicking to that tab in their profile. Here you will see all of their Collections whose privacy settings allow it. As you can see below, I’ve been quite busy – though some of the Collections stand as placeholders, awaiting the content I plan on sending their way.

By clicking on the name of the collection in a post, you will be sent to the collection where the post resides. On individual Collection pages, you can see the creator/curator name, the number of followers and privacy setting on the left side of the main information bar, while the right side includes a Follow button, a share button, and settings gear.

google-plus-collections-view-bar

From there you can follow the collection to see it in stream, or even turn on notifications using the settings gear on the right side of the header (seen above). If you do not follow the Collection, the only option available in settings is to Report the Collection for content that is in violation of the Terms of Service of Google Plus.

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Following Google+ Collections

You are automatically following all the collections for users you are already following. Head to the Collections main page in the app or on your browser to view the boards you are currently following, allowing you to stop following boards you find irrelevant. To get your stream as relevant as possible, be sure to go through this list at least once every few weeks, removing streams you have no interest in.

Collections you follow will be displayed on your profile to people who can see the collection.

There is a limit to how many collections you can follow, but this is not yet known – if you get the warning that you are following too many, let me know! Once you follow the Collection, refresh the page or app screen and the settings will also include an option to turn on notifications for the collection, ensuring you get notified in your notifications bar whenever something new heads to that collection. By default, all notifications are off for collections – be sure to take time and set up your notifications for people’s Collections you just don’t want to miss.

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Creating A Google+ Collection

Create a new collection

To create a new collection:

On your computer

  1. Go to Google+ and click Home .
  2. Select Collections .
  3. Click Create a collection.
  4. Enter a name for your collection and choose who it’s visible to.

In the Android app

  1. Open the Google+ app Google+ icon.
  2. Touch Home, then touch Collections .
  3. Touch Create collection.
  4. Enter a name for your collection and choose who it’s visible to.

Note: You can’t change your collection’s visibility setting after you create it. But if your collection is visible to a Circle, you can change the membership of the circle to control who can see the collection.

Create Google Plus Collections around your passions, around the important things in your life.

Collections, unlike communities, are solely linked to the creator’s account, only allowing the person who created the collection to post to it. Think of it as a “channel” of the overall Cable Plan that is your life. Break your life up into the interests and people you interact with, creating distinct sections people can follow without getting everything you post all the time. Help your followers craft a more relevant stream!

Remember, as with any posting or interaction on Google+, you must abide by the Terms of Service within your Collections. If your collections gets suspended for violating the TOS, it will only be visible to the owner – Google+ will delete the content after two months – owners of the Collection can apply to have it restored if they edit or delete the offending material.

CollectionsGIF-CreationFlow_annotated_800x600v4

As soon as you select your privacy options and Collection name (see below for more on that) on the mobile interface, you are taken to the Customize screen, where you can select an image and theme color for your Collection. If using your desktop, be sure to choose the “Customize” option to set this up (more on this below).

You can also create a new Collection from the brand new reshare menu addition visible on the bottom left corner of posts (next to the share button, duh!). By clicking this, users can bring up a menu allowing them to choose a traditional reshare, or directly posting to your preferred collection. Read more about this feature in the Posting section below.

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Google+ Collection Privacy

Pick who can see your collection. Give followers a place where they can get just the right stuff. Set a collection for Public, select a specific circle or several circles, or choose only yourself.

Set up a complete public collection. Public Collections similar to Pinterest boards, or more simply, a Google+ stream you can curate for a specific topic. Now your followers can choose to follow my posts about Science and Space, but don’t have to sit through my rants about the marketing industry or personal photos and humor posts.

Set up collections visible to specific circles. Great for coworkers, friends and family – make sure your family can keep up with you on your latest trip to Ibiza from a feed specially created for them by you. Or, use it to share recipes with your sister in Duluth, Michigan while using another collection for #ThrowbackThursday photo posts from grade school to your closest group of friends growing up.

Set up collections with total privacy. By choosing “Only You” in the privacy settings where you can share a post if you want to read it later, giving you a great stream of content to review later, on whatever topics you want. You could also use private collections to gather materials for projects or blog posts, or for ideas and inspiration when planning your wedding or a birthday party.

Anyone following you is following your shared collections by default, as long as they have permission to see them. But you can change the settings for your collections so that your followers choose the collections they want to follow.

On your computer

  1. Go to Google+.
  2. Open the collection you want to edit.
  3. Click the gear icon .
  4. Click Edit collection.
  5. Choose the auto-follow settings for your collection, then click Save collection.

In the Android app

  1. Open the Google+ app Google+ icon.
  2. Open the collection you want to edit.
  3. Touch the menu icon .
  4. Touch Edit collection.
  5. Choose the auto-follow settings for your collection, then touch Save.
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Naming your Google+ Collection

Be creative with your collections, e.g. Guacamole across the country,  Staying Healthy, Underwater Basketweaving, or any subject matter related to your profession or personal interests.

The title can be up to 50 characters in length. You can’t name a collection using only numbers, you must include letters in the name. (i.e. “123456789” is an invalid Collection name, but “A123456789” or “123456789A” work just fine. You can name a Collection with as little as one letter (i.e. “A”).  You must choose a unique name for each collection, and any number of users can have the same Collection name. Be direct and to the point, or be more creative and open – it really depends on your collection and your intentions with sharing to it. Please note, you CAN change the name of your Collection after it’s been created. There does not yet seem to be a limit on how often you can change the name.

Try not to use a name that is too long, otherwise it will be cut off in the share image.

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The Collection Cover Photo/Image

Cover photos for the collections look best with a width of 1200 or more pixels and aspect ratio of 16×9.

Be sure to keep the most important information within the middle area – as the full image is hidden by default when viewing a Collection – you don’t want things to get cut off – the top and bottom 20% remain hidden until a user clicks on the view more button to reveal the entire image. You can use a cover that is more descriptive, a logo, or just simple background and text – be creative and use the space to your advantage.

google-plus-collections-template
google-plus-collection-science
google-plus-collection-social-media-strategy

Download a template you can use to create your own Google Plus collection cover images!

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Updating A Google+ Collection

This is the main information bar for your Collection. On the left you can see the Collection name, as well as the follower count and privacy setting.

google-plus-collections-bar

On the right, you have three options: Customize, Share, and Edit.

CUSTOMIZE: Within the Customize screen, you can add a background image of your own, or use one of the stock backgrounds that Google+ has included for you – and select a theme color as well.

SHARE: You can share your Collection with your followers – including a great preview image when you share using the button. I assume that after the official launch (being that I write this during the Beta), you will also be able to copy and paste the URL for the Collection into a new post to get that same preview image and share.

EDIT: The third option, edit, allows you to change the name of your collection and choose whether your followers automatically follow your Collection. The only option you cannot change is the privacy. Once you set the privacy for the collection, it will stay that way forever.

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Deleting a Google+ Collection

Make a mistake? Decide you want to clean house? You can delete any Collections you create, but note that when you delete a Google Plus Collection, you are deleting all of the posts within it as well, they will not go to your Public stream by default. There is no undoing this… so be SURE you are fine with deleting all of that content.

google-plus-delete-collection
 

You can delete a collection any time, but you can’t undo a deletion. When you delete a collection, all of the posts in that collection are deleted.

On your computer

  1. Go to Google+.
  2. Open the collection you want to delete.
  3. Click the gear icon .
  4. Click Delete collection.

In the Android app

  1. Open the Google+ app Google+ icon.
  2. Open the collection you want to edit.
  3. Touch the menu icon .
  4. Touch Delete collection.
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Filling your Google+ Collections

Posting Directly to Collections

The easiest way for you to share into your own Collections is to go to the collection page and use the post box found at the top, in the same way you’d go to your profile to make a traditional post, or a community to make a post in there.

Another, even easier way to post to your Collection is to do nearly the same thing you’ve been doing this entire time on Google+: craft your post in the browser or app, either from the main stream or your profile, but instead of selecting “Public” or a specific circle – share the post with a collection. Made a mistake? It’s okay – you can remove posts from Collections too – they just become a regular public or private post – depending on it’s original settings.

It’es really easy. After crafting your post, just type the name of your collection in the To: field, just like you would do if you were posting to circles or communities. The collection should pop into the little drop down list – and you can simply click on that to select. Notice the collection icon to the left side of the Collection name (logo-collections) – that’s how you can tell it apart from Circles and Communities – which have their own icons (logo-circles and logo-communities, respectively).

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Adding Posts to Collections

Add old Google Plus posts to your collections too! You can send your past public posts to a collection of your choice. I know I have to go back and add a lot of posts to the proper collections, but I’ll be very happy when I’m done.

You can move your public posts into a collection that is visible to Public.

Moving Posts into Google+ Collections

You cannot currently move posts from one collection to another. You can, however, remove the post from one Collection, then move it into another.

On your computer

  1. Go to Google+.
  2. Open the post you want to move and click the drop-down arrow .
  3. Click Move post to collection and choose the collection you want to move it to.

In the Android app

  1. Open the Google+ app Google+ icon.
  2. Open the post you want to move.
  3. Touch the menu icon .
  4. Touch Move to collection.

Remove a post from a collection

You can remove a post from a collection by following the steps above and choosing Remove from collection in the menu. Removing a post from a collection is not the same as deleting a post.

If you use this method on your own post, it will be added to the Collection you choose. If you do it on someone else’s post, it will reshare the post (with no additional text input) to your Collection. If you want to add something to that sure, be sure to go back to the Collection you added it to and edit it manually. Or, you could use the reshare button, and select a Collection from the To: field, just like you do when making a new post (see above).

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: One of the biggest benefits of Google+ is the lightning-fast indexing of posts, are Google+ collection posts going to be indexed as well?

A: Yes! Google will be indexing not only the public collection posts, but also the collections themselves.

Q: We already have topic based posting – that’s what Google+ communities are for. And we can create a page to post on a specific topic… so how is this any different?

A: As mentioned above, the content creator is the sole person who can post in a collection. Pages still have a major benefit for the team and local SEO aspects, since you can have up to 50 page managers, and Google My Business is priceless for anyone with a physical location. Not only can people use collections – but brands can too! Segment your business into collections featuring your most prominent services, and share content related to that subject into the collection.

Q: How many Collections can I create?

A: You can only have a maximum of 50 Collections!

Q: What is the difference between hashtags, communities and collections?

A: With hashtags you have no control who posts, with your own communities you have some control who posts, with collections you are the only one who posts.

Q: Why is Google+ releasing new features? Aren’t they a GHOST TOWN?

A: I hate you.

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Andrij Harasewych

Although I ended up graduating from Villanova University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, a side passion of mine for the past decade has been business and marketing. After three years of working full time as a mechanical engineer, and part time as a freelancer, success in my freelance work motivated me to alter my path and focus fully on marketing.

Latest posts by Andrij Harasewych (see all)

4 Comments

  • Hi Andrij,

    Earlier today I tried Collections but then deleted what I had done for two reasons. First only five of the seven old posts I put into my collectin stayed there. Second it made navigating my posts even more tedious. I don’t want all my Collections posts to stay in my Home as well. Too big, too clumsy. Shame really.

    Having said all that I want to compliment you on your excellent introduction.

    Bests … Andrew

    Reply
    • Thanks Andrew – embarrassed I am several months late with this reply. I agree that there were definite missteps with Collections, if you still have issues – be sure to submit feedback to Google. They really do listen to the feedback, and unless someone tells them, they won’t realize it may be a problem! 🙂

      Reply
  • Hello,

    Do you know how to MOVE picture from one collection to another including original comments?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • A little late replying to comments on this post, been quite busy the last year, haven’t been herer to even keep the blog going! So sorry about that. As far as moving a picture from one collection to another – I assume you mean the post of the image – use the menu available on your post and select “delete from collection” – have no fear – your post is not deleted – it merely moves it from your collections back to public state. At that point, refresh the post and you can now move it to a new collection.

      Reply

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