Google Plus – The Next Wave in Social Networking

A Guide to Google+, Today’s Hottest New Social Network

Google Plus and social mediaThe official slogan for Google+ is “real-life sharing—rethought for the web”. Google+, is a social network operated by Google Inc, with integration across a number of Google products, including Google Local and Google Profiles. (Notice that it is called social network not social media – the difference is critical) Started in June 2011 as a test version, its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. Google+ notices are posted inside users’ Gmail inbox, so it’s 100% real-time Gmail deliverability.

When you write about a subject on Google+ and your circle friends ‘Google’ that subject, your comments and links are displayed automatically on page one of Google. For example, if I write a Google+ post about Online Reputation and my friend Sal Googles “Online Reputation” she will see my G+ post as one of her organic results.  No back-linking, no on-site optimization, just free traffic. All these factors make it a social media platform that is likely to stay on the scene and gain increased favor.

What’s So Special About Google Plus?

One key element of Google+ is a focus on targeted sharing within subsets of your network or social group (or what Google calls ‘Circles’).

Also within Google+ is a section specifically for multimedia. Google+ includes an image editor, privacy options and sharing features.

‘Hangouts’ are Google’s new group chat feature. These can be used one on one or multiple attendees.  It is really a misnomer to compare it to group chat but to ‘chat’ directly click ‘start a hangout’ and you are instantly in a video chat-room alone. At the same time, a message goes out to the selected social circles, letting them know that their friend is ‘hanging out’ and that they are invited to join.

Get ready to integrate Google+ into your Internet marketing strategy.

Building your Google+ Presence

google-plus-circlesBusinesses are beginning to see the value of Google+ with the new Pages feature. The new Google+ brand Pages look similar to Google+ Profiles, except for the little square icon that indicates that it’s a Page rather than a Profile. Users can add brands to their circles, check out their information, and browse their photos. When users add a brand to their circles, it helps increase that brand’s follower count.

Create a Page for your business and take advantage of Google +:

Before you can create a Google+ Page for your business, you need a Google+ Profile and to create a Google + profile you need a gmail address. The ‘You+’ link on your Gmail dashboard will allow you to the Profile creation page.

  • Choose a category to begin. Local businesses is good for smaller, less well-known businesses. Product or brand would work for companies and larger known businesses. Company, institution, or organization is mainly for businesses that don’t directly sell something, mostly not-for-profits.
  • Personalize your page with a photo/logo and tagline. Add a keyword rich introduction, information, and contact information, and finish with a photo strip of five different images that are significant to you or your business.
  • It’s time to start engaging with the Google+ community. For your business Page, you can create circles (networks), start posting information and news through your feed. You can also add your Google+ Page details to your existing website and share it via other networks.

Leveraging the + Power of Social Media

If you have your own website or online business, an efficient social profile Page using  Google+ will let you discover a whole new world of social media marketing.

Google+ posts sent to “public” rank fairly well in Google search results. Merging Google properties into Google+ and integrating it with the search engines has a significant effect on where your company appears in search engine results pages (SERPs).

You can manage circles—segmenting clients into specific categories and share different posts, news or deals with different circles accordingly. This is a fabulous way to connect with fans and share information with clients.

Google Hangout

“Hangouts” is another new way to engage your customers and colleagues. It’s a high quality video chat that allows you to interact with your fans face to face. This interaction will allow you to get to know them, answer questions as well as get live product/service feedback. Businesses can also use “Hangouts” for video conferencing, to push live events and seminars to customers.  Imagine the use of a hangout for customer service or medical evaluation or treatments.  And unlike other tools, it is FREE and waiting for you to use it.

The  Google+ badge can promote your site and your Google+ page. Google+ badge links your website with your Google+ page and lets others know you’re here. When a visitor likes your site and clicks the icon they will be taken directly to your Google+ page and will be able to share and follow your posts.

Google+ Direct allows people to simply enter a ‘+’ before your company name when searching on Google and get directly to your Google+ page.
The +1 button on Google+ is an ideal way to have customers spread the word about your business and its presence on Google+.  You can also connect your +1’s from your website to your +1’s on your Google+ page. People tend to trust recommendations from people they already know.
“Ripples” is a Google+ tool that allows you to watch your posts and information as they travel across social networks.  You can easily determine who is sharing your content and who is paying attention to it.
With “analytics”, you can get information about your page’s followers, visitors, and the general traffic and social activity around your business.
Google+ for business is unique in that it has altered the distinction between personal social networks such as Facebook, and business networks like LinkedIn. Contact us to help you invigorate you web presence with the social media game changer—Google+.

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