Last week I attended a webinar hosted by Australian Business Network, as part of the Booked for Lunch series, where Chris Brogan spoke on Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything in advance of his upcoming book launch.
I attended this webinar as someone who was an early adopter of Google+. I saw straight away the potential opportunities for me and my business, but I must admit I have been somewhat quite on Google+ of late, largely due to the fact that few people from within my current networks are active in this space as yet and I am therefore focusing my efforts elsewhere (where they are).
I assume the lack of uptake from within my networks is most likely due to a level of “social media fatigue” (as Chris put it) that many people are experiencing at present due to the large number of social media platforms on offer these days. I am not alone in my view that there are not many people actively engaged in this network at present, as demonstrated in this infographic developed by Daryl Lang. However, Chris is quite adamant that people will move to Google+ in favour of Facebook and Twitter. Whilst many believe that Facebook will remain a dominant force with 800 million+ active users, Chris uses the examples of AOL, MySpace and other leading social network platforms of the past to quash the “no one’s going anywhere argument”, believing people will migrate once they see the benefits.
At the time of the Webinar under the terms of service you could not have a business page on Google+. Chris advised that this should not hold businesses back from utilising this platform, as individuals can still build relationships through their personal accounts and when business pages become available, businesses can take advantage of the new features business pages present, having already developed those relationships. Well five months after the launch of Google+ and after much anticipation, that day has finally come. Google+ Pages are now available for businesses and brands.
Benefits of Google+
So if you are new to Google+ and wondering what all the fuss is about, here are some of the reasons Chris believes Google+ is a game changer, particularly for businesses:
- Google+ indexes within the #1 search engine – Google. That means any post you submit to the “Public” sharing option becomes searchable in a Google search within a few hours.
- Google+ is integrated by the #2 search engine in the world – YouTube.
- Google+ profiles also rank high in Google search and allows you a lot more options to than other platforms for promotion. These include a colourful introduction of who you are, your employment information, the ability to map out where you have worked/lived and a section that provides the opportunity for you to promote your products and services in a visual manner by using photos and videos.
- Google does not index Facebook (although this looks like it is about to change, with Google now indexing Facebook comments) or Twitter at this point in time.
- Google+ has a very clean ecosystem, with the technology being a little more clean to use than Facebook.
- Google+ is more in-depth than twitter.
- Google+ is a very powerful business collaboration environment, enabling realtime. collaboration through the use of hangouts.
- Google+ Circles are a powerful way of grouping individuals and communicating specific outbound messages to target groups (e.g. a sales message to “potential leads” circle) or using a circle to collaborate within a group (e.g. sharing a discussion within a “business colleagues” circle).
- Google+ Hangouts (live multi-user video chats) enabling video collaboration. This can be used to work on a shared document, whiteboard or as a tool for tutoring or site visits.
- There are many big name visionaries (e.g. Sir Richard Branson) who are regularly “hanging out” on Google+, providing you an unprecedented genuine access to these individuals through hangouts (you can’t fake being you when the camera is on you, unlike when posting).
If you are looking to start up a profile on Google+, Chris has developed a handy guide for to help you get started on setting up your individual profile – Start Now on Google+. If you set up a profile initially but haven’t done much with it lately, it may be time to take another look at Google+ and at the very least update your profile to ensure it portrays the image you want to portray when people find you on this platform via a Google search.
Once you have your personal profile set up you can go about setting up a business page. Search Engine Land provides some tips on setting up a Google+ page in their post Google+ Pages Now Open For Businesses, Brands, Places & More. I have already set up a business page for Impactiv8 and will be sure to be adding more features soon.
In addition to espousing the benefits of Google+, Chris provided many great take-outs on how we should treat our relationships with our various social media platforms of choice and more importantly the people we interact with in each of these spaces. I have summarised those key messages in my post Your Website Is Your Home, Social Media Platforms Are Just Outposts.
As Chris stated, there are “plus and minuses to everything, no pun intended” and as a relatively new platform, Google+ you can be sure that Google+ will be adding more content over time, as has been the case already (Google+ Adds New Features: This Week in Social Media – Check out “What’s Hot”, “Google+ Ripples”, “Google+ Creative Kit” and “Google+ for Organizations”). Only you can determine which platform is best for your business at this stage.