If you are like many small business owners, you may have just figured out how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to market your company - now you may need to add one more social media platform to your list. Google's new offering Google+pronounced “Google plus.”
Some of the tools available to businesses in Google+ and how the platform will interact with Google's other products is still a mystery. What we do know is that the main features of Google+ are similar to other social media sites, you can post updates, photos, videos and links to your connections. So what's different?
The Circles feature of Google+ allows you to choose who you share what information with. Circles are groups of people that you assign different labels to such as "Friends" or "Family." You can choose which Circle you share each update with. You also can view their incoming messages as a group. This allows you to segment your audience and better target your message to them. The circle is for your convenience only, putting multiple people into a circle does not connect them to one another. Circles are one of the main advantages of Google+ though Facebook recently enabled people to choose who receives their updates as well.
Hangouts are group video chats available in Google+ that can change the way businesses interact with their customers. You will be able to hang out with up to ten people in the Circles you choose, using real-time video. This seems like a useful online meeting tool for small business owners plus you can watch live streaming videos together on YouTube. Another feature of the Hangout tool is called Hangouts On Air which is a public broadcast you create. After you start a normal hangout, you can choose to broadcast and record your session for anyone to see.
There may also be business applications for the new Sparks feature as well. Sparks allows you to choose topics you are interested in and helps you strike up a conversation by showing you articles, blog posts and videos about the items that you can easily share.
In addition, Google has added a search function to Google+. Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google recently wrote, "...we’re bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web."
As Google+ continues to evolve, we will see if the new platform has any change on the way local small businesses market themselves online. If you would like additional information on Google+ please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Pepper Erdmann is a Marketing Manager at Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact her atwww.BuddinghAssociates.com/.