One of my favorite scenes from “Meet the Parents” is when Jack Byrns has a talk with Greg Focker about “the Byrnes family circle of trust” and warns him that “once you’re out, you’re out. There’s no coming back.”
And in the world of Google+, getting uncircled can often mean just that: once you’re out, you’re out.
Now, getting uncircled doesn’t mean you’ve done something spammy or offensive. People get uncircled for dozens of reasons; for example: (1) it could be accidental (e.g. someone deleted an entire circle and you were removed unknowingly); (2) you were deleted when someone was using an Uncircling plugin improperly; (3) you were removed because you weren’t active enough, etc.
Often times, getting uncircled for the above reasons means that those people probably weren’t reading your posts anyway so don’t worry about getting uncircled by them. You didn’t do anything wrong.
This article is concerned with helping you avoid getting uncircled intentionally, and I’ll share some tips to help you stay inside a follower’s “circle of trust.”
1. Post Engaging Content to the Appropriate Circles
Not every post you make needs to be public — and you can annoy people if you’re sharing a lot of content that is irrelevant to them. For example, I write a blog dedicated to education, and I enjoy reading journal articles that I know will bore most people — so I only share them to my circle of educators and librarians. I also post some content to my circle of close friends that I think they might appreciate. There’s certainly nothing wrong with posting everything public, but some content might be best shared within certain circles.
2. Mention People in Posts and Comments Appropriately
If you’re going to mention someone in a post by referencing them (using +NameOfPerson) to get their attention, make sure it’s relevant to them. Don’t mention people just to get more attention or draw attention to your profile, website, or product — you could damage your reputation with that person and get uncircled by others.
3. Be Careful About Posting Self-Promotional Content
If you’re just posting content to promote your products, brand, website, or whatever else benefits you, then you’re at risk for getting uncircled. Google+ is not a place to be a selling yourself constantly. Sure, this is a place to network, meet people, get feedback, but be careful about advertising yourself or business. Add value to the community and promote others instead of yourself.
4. Don’t Post Only Pictures, Videos and Animated .Gifs
If you’re a photographer, it’s expected that you’ll be posting a lot of pictures. That’s completely fine. But some people just post animated .gifs and pics all day to try to win more +1s, shares and followers. Pictures and videos can be fun — and breaks up the stream of content — but make sure to write thoughtful posts, too. If you’re just posting pics all the time, you’ll lose some of your audience. You might be okay with that, but just be aware of why you’ve lost them.
5. Don’t Only Post Content Others Are Sharing
It’s okay on Twitter to tweet news stories all the time, but Google+ shouldn’t just be a place where you’re only posting news articles. Many popular news articles get shared thousands of times — and we’ve all seen the article in our streams multiple times. So if you’re going to share a popular news story, try to write something thoughtful about it above the post. And diversify your stream of content so that you’re not just posting news stories.
6. Don’t Be Offensive
It surprises me how many people post offensive content without even knowing it. Think about what your writing or sharing especially if you’re posting content publicly. Anyone can be reading or looking at the media you’ve added.
7. Just Be Cool Like Fonzi (The Guy, not the Bear)
If you want to get into more circles, then play nice and be cool like Fonzi. Fonzi could never get uncircled in Google+.
Special thanks to the following people in my circles for their contributions to this post: Shen Hart, Jessica Ralston, Bill Reynolds, Ron Sheets, and Jessica Yang. If you’d like to be included in my “focus group” circle for future articles, please email me and let me know.
And feel free to add other reasons why you uncircle people here.