In the midst of all the social media sites on the web today, yet another has joined the stage, Google+. Initially it is easy to ignore but then your email box starts to flood with invites from Google+ members wanting you to join the new and happening site, and you start taking notice. Is joining another site worth the extra time and attention?
Google+ is a social networking service that is owned and operated by Google Inc. Google considers Google+ to be a “social layer” that does not consist of a single site but instead a layer that covers many online properties. As of December 2012, Google+ has 500 million registered users in which 235 million are active users on a monthly basis. This site is supposed to help make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. Google has incorporated a few revised ideas to help this social media platform stand out from the others.
Google has coined the concept of “Circles”, in which a member can share with specific sets of people (Circles) instead of on a Wall that everyone can see. Circles consist of a group of people that are chosen by a member. This allows the member to share certain content with different circles. Currently the Google+ defaults for these circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following, and these can be renamed. This allows businesses to make custom circles depending on their client’s different needs. Circles are private, meaning no one knows which circle they have been placed in and cannot see whom else is in the same circle.
Hangouts in Google+ are simply a combination of video and instant messaging chats one can have with a group of up to ten people. This is much like Skype but has more of a social element. This element is beneficial for holding business meetings, which can be pre-scheduled through Google Calendar. Conveniently, YouTube videos can be watched by these multiple viewers in a Hangout.
Though many of the features of Google+ mirror the other social media services, there are still benefits for a business and their clients to incorporate Google+ into the marketing plan. SEO benefits are important to a business’ marketing plan because it helps reach their target audience. By sharing pages from a business’ website on to their Google+ page, will help a business rank higher in the Google Search Engine. Since Google+ is new, it is easier to take the time to learn how to use the new site. Plus, it is going to be easier to reach thought leaders because there is a smaller audience. The circle feature will make it easier and more efficient for a business to target content. The circles can be categorized to mimic email lists, which would allow a business to share content to a particular circle or all of their followers.
An impressive fact that can help motivate someone to consider Google+ is the fact that it hit 100 million followers substantially faster than Facebook or Twitter did. Google+ is worth a look by most businesses. There will always be a new social media service starting up that will attract the attention of followers. In the meantime, if you are posting blogs, sales specials and company news on Facebook and Twitter, than it is worth the extra moments to post on Google+ as well.
For more information on Google+ and how to use it, contact Across the Horizons at firstname.lastname@example.org.