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Google Plus shared circles are exactly what they say on the tin – a Google+ feature that allows users to publicly share their circles.

So is this actually a marvelous miracle, or just a malicious mirage? As usual, there are reasons and arguments for both sides of the coin…

The Pros

Sharing circles presents a quick and simple method of building audiences and increasing your Google Plus networking scope. You are able to showcase and promote certain “circles” of your following, which can strengthen both your own and your circle’s network. If you are an established figure on Google Plus and have a large following, then this can significantly impact the people who are chosen for your Google Plus shared circle.

The Cons

On the other hand, following unknown circles can add a lot of irrelevant content to your streams. Building random followings that are not targeted at your content or industry are usually just meaningless numbers who are never likely to be of much benefit.

The Value

So the real take-away from this argument is the value of the Google Plus shared circle itself. And each person will attribute different levels of value to any single Google Plus shared circle.

If you are an accountant from London, then finding location-based shared circles around business owners is a huge win. Adding people from a random circle shared by a graphic designer from Germany will only add more noise to your account.

The Tactics

Using a little strategy when sharing Google Plus circles is wise. Remember to put the time and effort into constructing circles of related people. You should make this standard practice when following people going forwards.

When sharing Google Plus circles, explain clearly how you formed the circle, what the general interest of the users is and how the circle will benefit others.

I have hand-picked and added my top 100 influencers, those who I have been in recent contact with or whose content I found of high value, to the Google Plus shared circle below. Typically, this group is based around internet figures – people who spend a lot of time online engaging.

Google Plus Shared Circles: How-To

Here is a quick guide from Google support on how to share a Google Plus circle:

  1. Open Google Plus. Place your cursor in the top left corner for the Google+ main menu. Click People.
  2. Click Your circles.
  3. Select the circle that you’d like to share.
  4. Click Actions > Share this circle
  5. (Optional) Enter a comment and choose who you want to share with.
  6. Click Share.

To share or not to share, that is the question…

Basically, if you don’t fall foul into the spammy circle sharing practices, then it can be valuable to share Google Plus circles.

Like with all robust audience building campaigns, it takes time and strategic thinking to make it a success. But when it’s done well, you can quickly realise the value of using Google Plus for marketing and networking purposes.

Have a read of this post below by John Skeats. It gives a good overview of Google Plus shared circles and provides further reading into whether or not this feature is a miracle or mirage for your Google Plus presence.

Over to You

Armed with this knowledge and insight, you should be able to determine for yourself whether sharing and joining Google Plus circles will be of benefit to you or not. It will be interesting to hear your comments.

How do you see Google Plus shared circles? Do you think they are a miracle, or mirage?