Google + (or Google Plus) is the search engine leader’s latest attempt to build a social network to rival Facebook, and is now estimated to have more than 100 million users.
It remains to be seen whether Google + takes off in the way that Facebook and Twitter has – it’s operating in a very crowded market. However, the benefits and its range of features give it the potential to be a useful social media marketing tool for every type of business.
Google + and organic search
Google + pages are closely integrated into the company’s search results, through the launch of Google + Your World.
This means that photographs, open posts and recommendations from Google + pages will be presented in search results to users who are logged into a Google account, improving organic search results.
On a Google + page, contacts can be separated into ‘Circles’ according to interests and relevance, allowing businesses to segment communications accordingly. This can enable an exceptional degree of precision in targeting groups of customers.
Video chat – called Hangouts – is incorporated into the Google + interface, enabling businesses to talk face-to-face to individuals or groups.
The page also integrates with Google’s Picasa image organiser.
Google + integration
Google + is fully integrated with Google’s other ‘cloud’ products such as Docs and Calendar, which makes the interface very easy to use. Google have said that additional features and integration will be incorporated in the future.
Setting up a Google + page is pretty straightforward, providing it’s properly planned.
It’s important to understand the range of functions available so they can be fully utilised from the start – in particular categorising contacts so they can be included in relevant Circles.