Google Plus is a funny conundrum. Most of us are familiar with using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but what makes Google Plus appear off kilter is that it seemed to come as an afterthought to all of these – a user grab by Google.
Because of its similarities to other social sites, it ends up leaving people with the same thought they might have experienced if they had rebuilt their first motor and still had a part leftover, “Huh, what’s that for?”
These Google Plus features carry some great utility. Because of the way Google has set it up, it’s definitely a serious platform for marketers, but it’s still more than that – here’s why.
1. Google Circles
Google has made it really easy to keep track of your different connections and to reach out to them with Google circles. Want to only reach out to your family? No problem, just pick that circle. Want to reach out to your college friends? Just pick that circle. Want to put a post out that everyone can see? All you have to do is throw all your circles in your post.
It’s an easy way to organize the “circles” or groups that you are connected to online and in real life!
2. Google Communities
This is one of my favorite aspects of Google Plus. It allows users to connect with friends, family, professionals, customers, other businesses or industries (whatever you can think of) and dig into meaningful discussion and interaction. Not all communities are public. You also have the option of creating or joining one that is private.
Have a passion about a topic and want to connect with others about it? A great way to start is by organizing a community around it.
It also works well for connecting with your customer base as a business. This is a great way to get customer feedback and really develop your business’s community. Your customers will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to listen and show that you value their input.
3. Hashtags On Google Plus
This is a more well known function of Twitter, but Google Plus actually incorporates these, too. Only this time, they’ll even automatically add a hashtag to your post.
Hashtags are great because they allow others to find your posts easier when they want to search within a certain topic. You don’t have to use the hashtag that Google assigns to your post. All you have to do is hover your mouse over the hashtag and delete it. After that, just add the hashtag symbol to your post with the topic you want (#googleplus) and Google will show that as your post’s topic.
4. Google Plus Hangouts
This is a free video chat service from Google. It’s great for face to face interaction within a group setting – as well as 1 on 1. You can use it on a number of mobile devices and also share documents, videos, images, and other resources.
Hangouts also offers a “Hangouts on Air” feature that allows you to broadcast live video conversations which are accessible for anyone with a web browser to watch.
5. Google Plus Events
This is a great tool that makes scheduling, sharing, and finding events much easier. What are the advantages?
- Full Google Calendar Integration
- Event analytics – so you can see how things went
- Real Time Event photo streaming – this allows everyone to contribute their photos to one big collection
- Hangout Integration so others can join via electronic device (laptop or smartphone – limit 10)
- Automated Email Reminders – guests are sent friendly reminders on time
- Events on Air – this allows the event to be public and easy to find online
By personal experience, I’ve found Google Plus to be a great social platform. I still spend a little bit of time on Facebook, but Google Plus continues to get more of my attention as time has gone on.
What social platform do you use the most?