Google+ combines the networking features of Facebook and Linkedin allowing users and brands to be put into circles. With Google+ you can do a number of things like +1 a page and/or story, share content, hang out with users in one or more of your circles, join and form circles, and of course, comment on posts. Brands can create multiple pages and individuals can create one profile.
Google+ Direct Connect – G+ Direct Connect links Google+ pages with Google’s search engine. Go to Google and type ‘+a’. As you are typing, Google suggests brand pages. Visit one of them and you will be asked to add the page to your circles. You also have the option to share or follow the page. Direct Connect availability is limited for the time being and utilizes an algorithm that factors in the page’s relevancy and popularity. It also looks for a link between your Google+ page and your website, either through a badge, an actual web link on your G+ page, or with a piece of code.
+1 – Recommend a story or page by clicking the +1 button. Prominently display +1 buttons on your website, blog, and other online resources. Having more people recommend or +1 a page helps to determine its Direct Connect popularity.
Sharing – Shared content becomes visible in the user’s stream to their circles. Acceptable content includes photos, videos, and links. You can also italicize, bold, strikethough, and add other users to the conversation. This feature is similar to other social networking sites.
Hang outs – Start live, face-to-face conversations. Have a Q&A, teleconference, or webinar with a circle of your choice. You can invite circles of specific individuals to join a hangout, but they can freely invite others without your approval. However, when an unknown person joins the hangout, you will get the option to leave or stay. You can only hang out with up to 10 people at once and if you block someone from a hangout they will also be removed from your circles.
Circles – Create circles and customize your messages to the audience. Individual users must add a page to their circles before that page can add the person. Pages cannot add individual users to their circles at will. Your posts will appear in a user’s stream once they add you, even if you don’t reciprocate. On your home page, go to ‘Spread the word’ to encourage others to add you to their circles.
Comments – Commenting is similar to Facebook. Individual users can comment on a business’ posts even if they have not added the business page to their circles. Brands cannot freely post to a person’s page, but can share, +1, and comment on the posts of users in the brand to circles. The only way to limit interactions with individual users is by blocking them.
Althouh it is still in its infancy stage, Google+ is a great addition to your social media strategy. As with any other network, engage your audience and continue to adapt as more features are rolled out. Add me to your Google+ circle and leave a comment telling us how you use Google+ for marketing. Share your comments below.
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