For those who have invested a great deal toward cultivating a strong following elsewhere, the arrival of Google’s social network left many wondering if this new platform would be able to differentiate itself enough to warrant adoption. While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have managed to carve very distinct roles for themselves, many G+ users still seem uncertain as to how they ought to properly leverage this new tool.
We have found that three features stand out above the rest in defining G+: Circles, Hangouts and SEO.
Simply put, Circles provide a better way to share. Instead of broadcasting everything you post to everyone you know, you can control who sees your content by categorizing followers into customizable groups.
Inspired by the way people naturally share information between different contacts, Circles allows page managers to target with exquisite precision the exact demographic they are interested in reaching. Using Circles, each post you make could be tailored to a precise group of customers based on their interests – instantly making your content more relevant and increasing turnover.
With the purchase of YouTube, Google now boasts ownership of the most trafficked search engines and online communications in place today.
Using these resources, Google can simplify the task of juggling webinars, tweetchats and videoconferences across various third-party applications through Hangouts – a powerful feature of Google+ that has the potential to revolutionize Web-hosted meeting spaces.
Hangouts are multi-user enabled video chats that combine the power and convenience of Skype with the connectivity of your social network. Up to nine users can Hangout at any time from anywhere in the world for free, a service used by C-suite executives, international teams and even the president to facilitate accessibility and organizational transparency from the top down. Using this feature could very literally give you the face time you’ve been looking for with the management of another company or even your own customers.
The third remarkable element of G+ is the extensive integration of services offered by the platform.
Because Google is now incorporating personal and business page updates into organic search results, the potential SEO to be earned for your brand by thoughtfully keywording posts is just staggering.
By maintaining a strong brand page and posting valuable content, your brand could even receive enough SEO benefit to negate the need for certain pay-per-click advertising efforts. The Google +1 button, similar in many respects to Facebook’s “Like” feature, also has a much larger impact on your brand’s SEO – a benefit that extends well beyond the limits of Google’s social network, unlike Facebook Likes and comparable social sharing features.
The ultimate purpose of social media in business is to bring people together through tangible connections and meaningful conversations. Google understood that what we need are more effective tools to share valuable content efficiently with very specific groups of people. G+ accomplishes this very task with a Spartan grace rarely seen in any newly released technology.
So, should your business participate in Google+? For many of the same reasons your business ought to join social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – to interact with customers and find creative ways to reach new audiences – the answer is yes, you should. But an even better reason for joining Google+ exists. Because each interaction is hosted, indexed, and shared through Google, the No. 1 trafficked site on the internet, becoming a key player in this new sphere is guaranteed to influence how your brand is found and perceived on the Web.
Caroline Veldman is the owner of Social Media Pilots in Fort Collins. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.