If you haven’t started your Google+ page yet, you’re not alone. Google+ is the social media platform still unfamiliar to many. But it will actually feel rather familiar once you get started. Like Facebook, you have connections (which are placed into Circles) – you post status updates, you follow people and you “like” (+1) and share posts. As a bonus, there are communities much like the groups on LinkedIn.
While Google+ hasn’t skyrocketed into social media dominance, neither can it be ignored. After all, it’s part of Google, and integrated into all that is Google – Search, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android mobile devices, Google Maps, Google Docs and more.
The search engine enhancement alone is reason enough to get started. With a strong Google+ page, a search on your keywords can include relevant posts, photos and videos from your Google+ page to the right of the returned results.
You’ll need to start with a personal profile since all Business Pages require a personal profile to act as the owner of the Page – but you’ll remain anonymous, and you can add other managers later.
Unlike Facebook, where everyone is your friend, Google allows you to create individual groups of connections. Adding someone to a circle means you follow them. Their posts will show up in your newsfeed, just as on Facebook. You can create circles for your friends, your business contacts, industry connections, and so on. As with Facebook, you can put people and Pages in your circles. When you post a status update, you decide which circles get to see it.
Hangouts are basically conversations with one-to-ten people. They can be text, voice or video. This free platform is a great way to host virtual face-to-face meetings and create more engagement around them.
Hangouts on Air
Hangouts on Air allows you to livestream your event to a hybrid event audience on Google+, your YouTube channel and your website. The stream is automatically captured and saved to your YouTube Channel for archive viewing.
Though Google+ boasts more than 50,000 Communities, there’s not nearly the level of activity you see in LinkedIn Groups (though there are certainly exceptions). Check the “meetings” communities, for instance, and you’ll find many with five members and one post. The good news is that you might be able to start your own community and dominate your field. Just be sure you’re prepared for the level of work required to build and maintain a thriving community. Public Communities on Google+ are indexed by Google search.
Learn more about this emerging social media channel by downloading the ACTIVE Network Social Media Playbook – and get more articles and checklists for using each of the major social media platforms.