Google Plus (or Google +) is the new player on the social media scene. Backed by the power and technological skill of the search engine giant, the program has been out of beta mode since the beginning of the year and has been gearing up to take on the other social media stars: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Now in a huge step forward for businesses, particularly those on a tight budget, by introducing the long-awaited Pages for Google Plus,the social media portal has taken on the advantage for businesses held by Facebook by its highly successful Facebook Pages.
Creating a Google+ Page is easy, according to the search engine, all you need is an existing personal profile on G+. For a short video from Google promoting the recently released Pages for Google Plus, see clip here.
According to Google there are five categories that Brand Pages can be placed:
- Local Business or Place;
- Product or Brand;
- Company, Institution, or Organization;
- Arts, Entertainment, or Sports; and
For clear instructions on how to set up a Google Plus Page for your business, see this article from the Social Media Babe.
So does using G+ have any advantages over other social media as a communication tool for my business? The answer is yes. G+ has incorporated features which deliver a number of benefits for small businesses.
Developed to allow users to differentiate between (for example) Friends, Family and Business Contacts, Circles has a number of possible uses for businesses. Contacts can be sorted into different demographics for example, enabling the business owner to target different Circles depending on their relevance.
If you outsource work to independent contractors this facility will also help you keep track of projects and monitor freelancers input.
If you haven’t tried Hangouts then take it for test drive! Originally created to allow a video “get together” for ten people, the Hangouts facility can also be utilised for businesses in a number of areas. One of these would be providing a free (and high quality) video conferencing facility with staff who operate out of the office. Another would be to enable you to host mini webinar-style conferencing with potential or existing clients.
Again using the example of freelancers, Hangouts could be used to discuss projects with a group of contractors, enabling feedback and questions in real time.
SEO and ‘Direct Connect’
Google will be trying out its “Direct Connect” feature in its Pages for Google Plus, something which promises to have a big effect on your SEO. Using the +1 feature (similar to Facebook’s “like” button, the user can recommend your business. According to Google, the number of +1s a business page attracts will have an impact.
Fast and effective, Pages for Google Plus adds powerful communication tools for the small business. If you haven’t tried Google Plus or Pages for Google Plus, take it for a test drive, you may well be surprised at its versatility.
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