Your mom taught you that it was important to share. Now it seems like Google has taken her advice. Google+, which recently opened its e-doors to the public,1 is the newest player in the growing social-media world and, just like with mom, it’s all about the sharing.
As a part of the Google suite of free productivity applications (including email, document creation and sharing, and everyone’s eponymous search engine of choice), Google+ seeks to cut into Facebook’s dominant market share. Much like Facebook in its early days, the Google+ project has launched the personal side of the application first, with the more business-appropriate features being rolled out slowly. Google told Ad Age2 that the business profiles and related applications will be launched later in 2011, but small-business owners don’t have to wait to start incorporating Google+ into their social-media marketing strategies.
Ford Motor Co. is one of the organizations that Google has chosen to test-drive Google+ for business.3
Watching Ford play in the Google+ environment can help business owners develop strategies for their companies’ Google+ profile rollouts, learning along the way to avoid the pitfalls that Ford and other test companies may encounter. If you ask nicely, Google does appear to be allowing some companies to test the Google+ business app environment, so that could be an option.
So, how could you, the small-business owner, benefit from using Google+? Well, the Circles feature allows you to set up well-differentiated groups with whom to interact and share your content. You can stay in contact with your suppliers and vendors in one circle, your existing customers in another circle, and your potential clients in yet another circle. Your messages can be distinctly different for each group, and Google+ allows that to happen simply and organically. In this area, Google+ has it all over the current Facebook business page functionality. Google+ also has “Hangouts” (think modern video chat rooms on steroids) that will ultimately allow you to conduct training sessions, give webinars, or even have meetings with attendees from all over the world, all very simply and for free.4
Another benefit that Google+ provides is that it can boost your website’s SEO rankings. Because Google holds all the cards in determining which sites come up best in its search engine, the fact that Google is giving a lot of weight to Google+ presence may ultimately be the best thing of all about this new social-media tool. (Although, we think the Google+ version of Angry Birds is pretty cool, too.)5
Before you share anything on Google+, be sure to check out the “Google Terms of Service,”6 because any content posted on Google+ is subject to aggregation by Google. The very act of posting your content, including photographs and artwork, gives Google the license to transmit or distribute it at will. It’s always a good idea to protect your company’s intellectual property online, but Google+ makes that even more important now.
Want to learn more about Google+ right now? Check out PCWorld’s “Ten Tips for Google+ Beginners.”7
For more information, visit:
1. “Google+ Social Network Opened to Public”
2. “Google+ Brand Pages Coming in 2 Weeks”
3. “Welcome to the Google+ Project”
4. “Google Plus for Business: Pages to Launch Later This Year”
5. “Google Wastes No Time Putting Games on Google+: Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Zynga on Board”
6. “Google Terms of Service” (See “Content License From You”)
7. “Ten Google+ Tips for Beginners”