Social media strategies often lead to traffic growth and increased opportunities your business and your personal brand. Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to mention a few, all have their own unique selling points; however, one sits above the rest for entrepreneurs that turns social media into Human Media – Google+.

How can entrepreneurs leverage the features of Google+? Keep reading and learn five Human Media tricks that every entrepreneur should know.

Humanize Your Brand

Originally, social media was thought to personalize a brand; however, while sharing valuable content and pictures are a great strategy, they only get likes and shares – the equivalent of a virtual high-five.

Moving forward to Google+ and the Hangouts feature, entrepreneurs can take consumer interaction to the next level. Instead of text-based interaction with an avatar, users can see the audience, their actions, eye movements and facial expressions. This is no longer social media, but Human Media.

Tactics include:

Easy Access to Networking

Through Google+ Circles, growing business connections and networking with industry professionals and mentors is a snap. Circles make it possible to only share information with specific groups, essentially making it easier to digest information and build expertise.

And, the best part is that building connections is easier than it has ever been. Take this three step plan for example:

  1. Identify Possible Connections: Categorize your Circles by their importance to brand or professional goals. This could mean creating an influencer Circle with the goal of starting a Hangout with one a week, or simply just categorizing users to glean important information.
  2. Circle Strategy ­– Just because you can Circle every influencer in your niche, doesn’t mean you should in a single afternoon. Work to make lasting connections and don’t play the Twitter game of follow me and I’ll follow you.
  3. Initiate Contact: As previously mentioned, Google+ is about Human Media and getting to know the user on the other end of the line, so be sure to get involved. If they host a Hangout, join in, get to know the person and make a lasting connection.

Becoming an Authority

To stand out from competitors, especially if competing in an already established niche, use your expertise to become an authority. The easiest way is to host a Hangout, or weekly Hangout, and invite other experts to attend and share their knowledge. This takes time, but can yield amazing results.

Take the Accounts Bookkeepers and Business Owners community for example. In this community, business owners and accounting professionals meet together and hold hangouts, answering questions from the community – services that normally cost hundreds of dollars, all for free. Although the Hangout is free, when a user needs complex accounting services, who do you think they will reach out to first?

Building authority through Google+ isn’t restricted to the social network, but offsite as well. For instance, through Authorship Markup, users can claim their works and link them back to their Google+ profile, which will display their Google+ profile picture in search results next to their work, as well as offering the possibility of earning extra rankings.

Better Customer Service

Mike Elgan, a Silicon Valley-based columnist, made the point that humans aren’t designed to communicate with someone they can’t see. While making his point, Mike shared an interesting study on eye contact and hostility. In the study, researchers found that when eyes were hidden, participants were twice as likely to be hostile.

Noam Lapidot-Lefler, author and behavior scientist, notes that seeing a partner’s eyes “helps you understand the other person’s feelings, the signals that the person is trying to send you,” which fosters empathy and communication.

Through Google+ and Hangouts, users are able to build a strong brand for themselves and for their business, all while returning to the face to face level of human interaction that has long been removed since the invention of call centers.