Last week we gave you an overview of Google+'s features. You may be wondering what the new social media platform will mean for businesses though? Even though business pages won’t be available for a little while, Google+ is something businesses should start learning and familiarizing themselves with now. After all, it's hard to ignore a platform that garnered 10 million new users in its first week alone - who knows what will happen when it unleashes its business platform?!?
One of the top benefits of Google+ is that it impacts Google searches, which Facebook doesn't. In an article by Chris Brogan on Forbes.com titled, “10 Things CMOs Need To Know About Google+,” he writes, “Google has all the data from Google+. They can’t get any data from Facebook. Google controls search. Where would you cast your vote for search-improvement activities?” We think Mr. Brogan makes a great point. Higher search rankings is a pretty standout benefit!
There are of course many more benefits to using Google+ for small businesses so we encourage you to read Mr. Brogan's article as he nicely sums up “why” you should be paying attention to Google+ and using it too!
Have you tried it? What are your first impressions?
Google+ has created some major buzz in marketing and social media circles since launching a few weeks ago. Already at about 18 million users at time we wrote this post, it’s giving Facebook a run for its money. Even though we’re all using Facebook for personal and business reasons, Google+ is making us all very curious. In a time when it didn’t seem possible anyone would ever top Facebook, Google+ has put out a “product” that is worth a look from individuals and marketers alike.
I’ve been playing around with Google+ and all its features, as it can seem a bit complicated at first. However, when you break it down into the top functions, I think you’ll find it’s fairly simple and streamlined, interesting and relevant, and downright pretty amazing.
After reading many reviews, how-to articles and watching several video tutorials, the main three features that are worth pointing out are Circles, Sparks and Hangouts.
Circles – This feature allows you to group people into circles such as colleagues, best friends, relatives, running club, etc. When you do a status update, upload photos or videos, etc., you can choose which circles see which updates. You can also view your stream of updates from just one circle or all circles by using the stream options on the left side of the page. For instance, if you want to send your running club a nutrition tip for long runs, you can do a status update just to them. Same with photos. If you want to share photos with your girlfriends from your baby shower, you can stream those photos just to your “best friends” circle. The Circles function is for sharing different things with different people.
Sparks – This feature allows you to pick topics you are interested in and then receive news, videos, photos and information about those topics on your Google+ profile page. They can be broad (e.g. movies) or specific (e.g. California wines). On the left hand side of your profile lives your streams. You simply click on each topic to view the latest and most relevant news and updates.
Hangouts – This feature can be used via computer or via phone app (once it’s ready). You can invite people to join or invite an entire circle. Hangouts can be done by video (up to 10 people) or with a mass text message – almost like a mini chat room. Hangouts make it easy to finalize plans with a group or catch up with a group of friends that live in different cities. It’s a pretty cool feature.
This is of course just a brief overview. For more information and to watch some great one-minute videos on each feature, check out this article from Mashable. I thought it was incredibly useful.