Google Plus – Not Just Another Social NetworkBruce Shely
Have you created a business profile on Google Plus? Before you roll your eyes at the prospect of signing up to yet another social network, there are some compelling reasons to promoting your brand on Google Plus.
Like other social networks, Google Plus allows business to setup a business profile. But that’s where the similarities end. Google insists that Google+ is a “social layer”: not just a destination site, but something that Google has added as a layer across many of its properties. In addition:
- Google Plus has over 250 million registered users – a pool of potential customers too large to ignore.
- It’s Google – the number one search engine in the world. And as stated by Google CEO Larry Page, Google Plus gives business owners the upper-hand by allowing them to tap into the search engine traffic.
Unlike some other social network sites, learning Google Plus can be a little more involved. So what are some of the components that go into making Google Plus unique?
You can group people into different circles. The best part is that the people you add to a circle don’t need to be on your friends list. You can add anyone to any circle. You’ll then receive updates from anyone you’ve added to one of your circles as a news feed – similar to the ‘follow’ in Twitter that allows you to read the update of others.
Hangouts allow you to have a video conversation with people in your circles. You get to meet that want to meet. It’s one of the most unique (and according to Google) best features on Google+. Hangouts allow you to have multi-person video or group video chatting and stop paying Skype for group video conversations.
+Mobile allows you to take videos or photos of your mobile device and upload it immediately with geo-location. And you decide if your media should be private or public. Google location services provide a list of public location that you can choose from, similar to Foursquare.
Sparks allow you to start up a conversation about pretty much anything that interests you. Enter any of your interests into Google Plus and it will return article that you may want to read about your topics of interest. According to Google, you’ll no longer have any reason to use bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon once you have Sparks.
Huddled is group conversation feature that allows you to chat with groups of people. It’s similar to chat features on MSN, Skype, Blackberry Messenger, and others too numerous to name here.
+1 (Plus 1)
People can say they ‘Like’ something in Goggle Plus by +1′ing it. (Plus 1). +1′ing has been going on for a while now, but until recently your +1′s could only seen inside Google Plus. Now your +1’s can be seen outside of Google Plus in a place we all want to be seen: Google Search! That has tremendous marketing potential for any business. What marketer doesn’t want to get free Word-of-Mouth advertising?
So what is Google Plus, then? Think of it as a combination of several popular social media and/or web services in one box, such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest, Instagram, Digg, plus other popular services you’re probably already using on a daily basis. If you’re already using any of those services, the learning curve for Google Plus should be a short one.