Last week was a big week for Google+. Google’s social network has undergone a big revamp, with improvements to its photo service, the layout and a brand new app for the Hangouts function.
It might be easy to overlook Google+ in your social media, but a lot has changed in the last year – and I think it’s worth another look. The ‘social layer’ is designed to offer businesses a lot of free tools to communicate better with customers and clients. And as it’s a Google service, using it will give you an SEO boost.
Additionally, you can use Google+ on Hootsuite, so if you use this social media tool, you’ll be able to share the content you’re sharing to Twitter and Facebook over to Google+ too – meaning it shouldn’t take up much more time.
Puzzled about Google+? Here are the main functions and how you can use them for your business:
When you join Google+ you’ll be asked to create ‘circles’ of your friends and contacts, which work like lists. For example, I have circles for family, Twitter friends, real-life friends, clients, brands and many more. These circles are great, because you can choose who you want to share your content with, or if you’re happy to share to everyone.
For example, if you’re a clothing company, you could have circles for ‘men’, ‘women’, ‘parents’ etc, so you’re able to target the product to the person. The greatest benefit of Google+ is that you can tailor exactly who sees your content.
Hangouts are video calls you can make to one person or several people at once. These hangouts are great for when you want to hold a business meeting remotely as you can share files, documents and even watch YouTube videos together (which is handy for presentations).
Hangouts can also be streamed live and saved to YouTube – so you can hold interesting interviews or discussions, or answer questions from customers and clients, then share the YouTube link on Facebook, Twitter, newsletters and your website.
For example, if you have a new product, you could offer a Q&A on it. If you’re service-based, why not offer regular hangouts with your clients to follow up on any questions and offer added value? This works particularly well for consultation businesses.
Google+ definitely has the edge over Facebook and Twitter for photos. You can edit images, add lots of special effects, enhance them and even create animated images by uploading several similar images at once. If your product or service is a very visual one, it’s definitely worth uploading and showcasing your images here.
For example, if you run a restaurant, why not take a series of photos of an enticing dinner being eaten or created. Once you upload them, Google+ will link them all together to create an animated gif.
Pages on Google+ are very similar to Facebook Pages – you can use Google+ as your page and share information about your company. If you’re going to do one thing on Google+, it’s worth starting a page and linking it to your website. Being a Google product, it’s not surprising that this can have a great impact on your SEO. A lot of the content you share on Facebook will work well on Google+ – especially the image-based content.
Communities are similar to LinkedIn groups, in that they’re created for specific groups and interests. Join a community and you can interact with people who share similar interests or are in the same industry. This is a great way to keep updated on the latest industry news too.
Google Places is integrated into Google+, so users can view and rate your business. It’s a lot more visual than Facebook for this, so why not use your newsletters, promo materials or business cards to ask your customers to rate your service on Google Places?
Do you use Google+? What do you think of it?
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Don’t forget you can connect with Intuit UK on Google+ too! Connect now