This week I presented Google+ to a lunch and learn session for the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce. Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus or G+) is Google’s social media network. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for the presentation as I have only been using Google + for the last 3 months or so and I was curious about what level of interest there was going to be. Based on the lively group with many questions, comments, and feedback from my presentation, it is apparent that people are definitely starting to focus on Google’s social media network.
Introduction to Google Business Apps
To actually use Google + you must have a Google e-mail Account (a Google Business Apps Account or a Gmail Account). We have a Google Business Apps account set up for Bear Web Design so that is where my Google + Page is tied. This was an attractive feature of Google + to me – Google Business Apps has so many products that I use – e-Mail , Calendar, Drive, Chat, Video Chat (aka Hangout) and then our webmaster tools such as Analytics, Website submission, Google Plus Local Pages and Google Places, to name a few. And then when you add Youtube, Picasa (Photo Album), and Blogge, you start to see what Google + Social Media is going to be sharing (EVERYTHING!!!! – AND IT’S LOCATED IN ONE PLACE!).
Introduction to Google+
To get to Google+ from any Google e-mail account go to your Profile and you will see your Google + Page. Many people actually have Google + Pages that are active (but don’t have updated profile information). To see how people will see your Google + Page (search for Your Name and Google +) in Google’s Search Engine and you will most likely find your Google + Page. I have set up a personal photo cover on my Google + page to actually reflect the fact my page is Social. (In reality it is also for business networking!).
Get to Know Google Plus Circles
One of the issues I have with my personal Facebook page is that I have many different relationships tied to my account. Since we are web developers, we have a lot of Facebook Apps we have set up for clients (which means we are administrators of their Facebook corporate pages) then we have business friends and family here in Tennessee and then we have friends and family back in Australia. I find it difficult to manage this and worse I get so many posts that are simply irrelevant to me.
Communicate Effectively (and Efficiently)
Google + comes with a categorization structure, called Circles, which allows you to manage your relationships and easily add more Circles. You can quite easily set up business acquaintances, friends, family, sports clubs or whatever you wish. And then when you post, you send the information to the appropriate Circle. This makes absolute sense to me. From a family point of view I don’t want to share my family conversations with anyone but my family (for privacy and also not to waste other people’s time). Same with every circle I have. One of the biggest areas people ignore in Social Media is how valuable people’s time is. Circles help me respect everyone’s most valuable asset - their time!
Other Great Features Include Google Hangout!
If you use Skype, which has been the standard voice and video communication online, then you should try Google Hangout. Again, what I like most about this is that it is tied to my Google e-Mail Account and I can video chat with anyone within my Circles (or invite additional people) just like a I can with Skype. It works great on your mobile as well, and is so easy to access from my email account. Since my mobile device has my Google account set up, I can easily get to Google + and then have a hangout (on the phone).
But even more exciting – Introducing Google+ Local Pages
So Google+ looks like the bomb (as my Grand Daughter Addison would say) – BUT – as a business owner my time and resources are limited… so, Is this going to help me with Search Engine rankings and deliver me more prospects?
The short answer is that Google + ultimately leads you to Google+ Local (Google’s Business Listing that ties Social Media to your Search Engine Listing). And that is exciting to me!
When you go to the Google search engine and type in a standard search phrase – “Lebanon TN Lawyers” – you will see:
You can see here that Google gives a good amount of results for companies that have Google + Pages set up (and it shows you where these businesses are located, which can be a key in a prospect’s decision making parameter). Also, look how cleanly the listing stands out compared to the rest of the page – you can click on the listing to go directly to a website, to the actual Goolge + Local Page or the OLD FASHIONED PHONE.
I hopefully now have gotten your attention -- and more to the point, Google+ is something as a business you are now looking at a little closer. My next blog (next week) will be about Google+ Local Pages specifically, how to set one up, the Circle structure, and how they are tied to all your business app tools!
Hope everyone have a Happy Easter and a sunshine-filled week!