People are social, businesses are social, the whole world is social. These are the facts. Society today is all about sharing experiences and knowledge that can add value. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites exist and thrive today based off these fundamentals. The type of information shared and with whom they are shared across these platforms differ, and the amount of social media channels are growing. As digital marketers, we understand the powerful capabilities that can come with strong social media outlets. Which is why this issue of “Lists you shouldn’t miss”, we dedicated entirely to Google+, the newest of the giant social media platforms provided by the online giant, Google.
The common reaction to this news of another “must-have” social media channel is, another one!? Though we don’t condone peer pressure, we have to encourage you to at least consider the wonderful opportunities that lie with Google+. The remainder of this post will highlight key features of Google+ briefly. Check out Part 2 for outstanding resources to check out (as is tradition), and a few examples of great Google+ Brand pages.
What is Google+?
Google Plus is a social network designed to perform “real-life sharing, rethought for the web”. For businesses, this means a way to connect and engage with customers and fans on a more intimate level (if desired). This is accomplished through the following features:
- Circles: A way to easily split up your connections into different “communication groups”. Put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.
- Hangouts: Up to 10 people can have a live video chat here, all together. Bumping into friends while you’re out is one of the best parts of going out and about. With Hangouts, spontaneity hits the web.
- +1 and comment sharing: Similar to Facebook “Likes” and posting comments, this is the Google+ version of interacting with content.
- Easy picture and video sharing: Integration with Android powered phones, YouTube, and Picasa makes uploading photos and videos easier to Google+.
- “Sparks”: Industry conversations and knowledge sharing forum-like dashboard. Similar to Twitter “trending topics”, this brings news and hot conversations into the Google+ realm.
- Search: Now, Google+ is integrated with Google Search so that any connections with your Google+ will pop up in your search queries. Search brings you updates from your circles, news from around the web and public Google+ posts, giving you instant access to the topics you care about and the people who care about them along with you.
So why use Google+?
- Improve your Google Search ranking and SEO; as Google is implementing +1’s and Google+ sharing into its search algorithm
- Social is the new norm, even Google is adding a social component to all its products/services
- Google+ now has 60+ million users
- Early adopters gain a bigger following
- Social CRM is improved with circles by allowing direct messaging based off how you form your different communication groups
- You can have a nifty widget such as the one below on your website! Just be careful if you hide the amount of people in your circles on Google+, it will show as “In 0 people’s circles” in the widget (we have more friends than that!)
As you probably know, social media isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Google+. As the search giant strives more and more to control the web and provide products that improve people’s lives, they are pushing more towards social. Social is not only powerful for visitor engagement but can increase web traffic and give a different look to what visitors like on your site with specific web analytics reports. Google+ is the baby child in their list of products, and they will surely spoil and pour all their energy into helping it grow up and mature. Again, make sure to check out “Lists you shouldn’t miss: Google+ Part 2” for a full list of resources, blogs and examples of great Google+ pages.
As always, we’d love hearing your thoughts! If you have questions or you just want to chat, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.