I love to get questions from my audience. This gives me ideas for content and helps me better serve my online community. Sometimes we assume what our audience wants to know or what they need but that should all be dictated by our audience. This weekend I was the special guest on a conference call where I was asked to talk about Social Media Marketing. I shared with the audience some of the basic definitions and how they applied to this particular industry of the listeners on the call. At the end of the call, they opened the line for questions. One of the questions asked was, What is Google Plus? I was not at all surprised by this question because Google+ has been growing rapidly as of late, so as a result, there is much interest about this networking site.
Google Plus is one of many social network sites just as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are social networking sites. All are unique in their own way and have unique features.
Google+ describes itself as having the ability to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. It’s somewhat similar to Facebook which has a news feed based on status updates and shared content, etc.). But Google Plus is designed to make it easier to share content with specific sets of people called Circles. This is one of the features that I like the most about Google Plus.
Circles make it easy to share specific things with specific people much like you would want to do in real life. Cirlces makes it so that you can share some things with close friends, others with your family, and almost nothing with your boss. When you “circle” people on Google+, it allows you to categorize them, by naming a circle and adding people to those circles. You might have circles for friends, family, business associates, business prospects, industry peers, or by special interests. When you post something that you want to share with only one or more of your circles, you can select that when you are crafting your post.
It also has a feature called Communities. Communities allows you to create a group where you can discuss your interests with people who share those same interests. You can join public communities around shared interests, or create private communities.
Google+ also has a feature called Hangouts. Hangouts are video chat. Hangouts can be done in different ways: 1) chat one on one 2) host a virtual meeting where you can use powerful tools like screen sharing and Google Drive collaboration. 3) you can go live in front of a global audience. 3) Group chat with up to 9 people.
Google Plus also has Pages. These are for businesses and brands. For businesses, Google+ helps you attract new customers and build deepers relationships with your current customers. This is done by making it easier to connect to the billion+ people who are searching on Google every day. Clearly, by this being Google, there will be SEO benefits that are enhanced by Google+ activity. I explain a bit about that on my Social Solutions Collective post about how to grow your online community with Google+.
Are you currently using Google+? What is your experience like? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.