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Using Google+ for Business

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By: Kyle E. Glass

You’ve probably heard so much about Google+ lately that I couldn’t help but write on the topic. If you’re unfamiliar, Google+ is the hot new social media platform released by Google nearly two months ago. Initially, registration was limited, perhaps to work out kinks or to create demand. Either way, Google has allowed more and more to sign up, and in a short time, the Facebook and Twitter competitor has had millions of early adopters swarm to check out what’s being offered.

Google+ is a collection of other social networks. It’s got a newsfeed, much like you’ll see with Twitter and Facebook, but Google+ allows you to organize your contacts into groups. This means I can send certain messages to editors, or dealers, or distributors, clients, or however I want to set them up.

Although Google+ isn’t officially set up for businesses yet – it doesn’t have ‘fan pages’ like Facebook – it’s probably coming soon (see this test from Ford), and even without accounts for businesses there are plenty of ways businesses can engage and build relationships without business pages.

In my opinion, being able to send messages targeted to different audiences already makes it a superior platform for business use, since you can more effectively target your messages. Public relations people can group editors for certain pitches, publications can group their readers sending the most relevant topics to readers, etc.

To that same point, consumer electronics companies, or any business for that matter, can group contacts as dealers, reps, consumers, and even internal communication groups. If it’s sensitive information, you can even limit the viewers from reposting your communication.

Google+’s “Hang Out” feature allows users to meet via webcam. This could be very useful for staff or project meetings, sharing news, product announcements, classes/trainings, or even webinars. It works well, it’s very easy to start a hangout, and brings a simplified version of videoconferencing to the masses. Here’s one example of how it could be used.

It’s also important to note that Google+ is being integrated into Google’s search feature and YouTube. This means that you’ll be able to see Google+ notifications within these applications. And, by generating and sharing, Google uses these Google+ updates to better understand which pieces of information are important to users. One way their doing this is through Google+ Sparks. Many of you may have seen the Google +1 beside a search item. Basically, this tells Google which pieces of info were helpful, and the more Sparks, the more people are likely to read it.

Google+ is growing quickly. If you’re not at least familiarizing yourself with this technology, it’s probably best that you start. Get an invite from a friend, or send me your email.  As Wood Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.”