It says something about the size, value, and prestige of Google when people started saying “just Google it” in reference to performing a general internet search. The company has created countless online tools that millions of people happily use everyday. However, the creation of Google + has brought about mixed feelings, especially for business owners.
It must be great, it’s a Google product, but isn’t it just another social network? Why would my business want to join? Even if I wanted to become a member, how would I even use it?
Perhaps, you have found yourself asking these very questions. No worries, so are most other people. Take a look at some of these great tools and tips to get your business on board with the next generation of Google.
The Next Generation of Google
Google has created several, almost indispensable, tools like YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Chrome, Drive, and Google Play among many, many more. While Google Plus is indeed a social destination, it also adds a “social layer” to all other Google tools creating a link between the different platforms. Ultimately, it is becoming the backbone for the future of all things Google. Thus, it should be considered more like a general function of Google rather than just another social network. Learning how to use Google Plus is becoming more important as its influence in things like SEO grows with time. Plus, some of the features it offers are just plain cool.
Google+ Circles – Segment and conquer!
Google Circles, a major feature of Google Plus, provides a way to segment your connections within Google allowing you to tailor your messaging and monitor selected groups. There are an infinite number of ways to group your followers; however, you may choose to make groups based on those who are potential customers, current customers, competitors, colleagues, staff members, or perhaps other professionals within your field. You have the option to send a public message or have a message sent only to those of a specific group. Along the same lines, you can view the activity of a single group without having to see what all of your followers are doing.
Hangouts – Phone calls, meetings, and video
Google Hangouts is a free video conferencing tool within Google Plus. It allows up to 10 people on a call, and can interface with computers, tablets, and smart phones. You can have planned meetings, or video conferences on the fly. You can even place phone calls from Hangouts for free to any land line or mobile device anywhere in the United States and Canada. If you use Hangouts from a Google Apps for Business (a paid feature), you can have up to 15 people on your calls.
Another aspect of Hangouts is its integration with YouTube. You can stream your meeting live, and have it recorded to YouTube as a video on your channel. For example, you might use this is for doing interviews with professionals within your field that would be useful content for your viewers. You also have the power to share certain videos privately with people in certain Circles, or publicly.
+1 and Google Authorship- SEO ranking
Anything to help SEO ranking is a good thing for any business. When someone +1’s a post or your page they are essentially giving Google information about where to rank your business or post based on popularity. They see that more popular posts may have more valuable information. Make sure to have a +1 button on your content allowing your viewers to help you with your SEO, and increase your lead generation.
Similarly, adding Google Authorship to the content your publishing helps to validate what you are producing, and gives Google yet another way to rank you. Those who have added Google Authorship to their content tend to have a higher ranking than those who do not. The content you produce will also be searchable, and identifiable by those who have you in their circles garnering your content more trust and rapport.
Google Places and Google+ Local – Listing, reviews, and community
Google Places and Google Plus Local are two separate tools within Google, and the distinction is worth understanding. Google Places, similar to the yellow pages, is a place to list your business, and give searchable information regarding location, hours, contact information, and description. It will appear in a search, and on Google Maps. Google Plus Local, although it looks like Google Places, adds a social aspect to your business listing allowing for people to post reviews, have discussions about your business, and follow your Google + Business page. You get the most out of search when you use both tools together.
Ultimately, the way that Google Plus will be integrated with other Google tools will only grow as new systems and new tools are created. Learning how to use Google Plus now will only make it easier for your business as time passes, and will give your business the benefit of staying current.
What are some of the ways your business is already using Google Plus, and how is it working out so far? Leave a comment! We would love to hear about your experiences, and concerns.