Google + is Google’s social network, although appears to provide a more ‘serious’ business related platform than other social media sites.
It is thought that around 23% of Internet users utilise the Google+ service, which was made available to everyone after a short test period in 2011.
So, how effective IS Google Plus?
With more than 2.5 billion registered users, the answer should be ‘very’. However, every Gmail address corresponds with its own Google+ account, meaning that many of these have never even been looked at, which is a shame, because Google+ boasts some pretty awesome features:
- Circles is used to organise the people you follow and your followers. When you add a contact to your account, you can assign them to one or more circles of your choice – a great way to categorise. Circles are private, meaning that no-one can see how you have organised them.
- Messages and links can be shared with everyone or just with those in certain circles – you can choose. A notifications section keeps you informed of responses to our comments / shared content; importantly there is an option to ‘mute’ updates.
- Organising networks into circles allows users to reach people they deem most likely to be interested in their content, and to avoid jamming up the newsfeeds of those that aren’t.
- Hangouts are basically a video group chat. Ideal for conferences, you can talk via video with up to ten people. There is an option not to be seen or heard, and you are able to share YouTube videos to share with others in your hangout.
- Real-time Stream means that the stream flows as and when new updates are posted; these are shown at the top of your stream once you’ve logged in.
- Sharing is caring. Clicking the ‘Share’ link below the post you want to share enables all those in your chosen circles to view it.
- Your Google+ profile is easy to edit and is the place to go to determine privacy settings, change profile settings and choose which tabs show to which of your circles.
- Photos can be uploaded and organised using Google Photos, and easily shared straight to Google+. Any photos set as ‘public’ will be visible to all your Google+ circles.
- It is possible to view authorship stats in Google Webmaster Tools. This will enable you to check how many impressions your marked up content is receiving. When an author is producing lower-quality content, authorship won’t be displayed.
- Webmaster Tools can also be utilised to see how many clicks your Google+ profile page has received.
Google+ is interest motivated. Finding others with similar interests efficiently allows you to connect quickly, and build relationships effectively. Formatting posts to your chosen audiences allows you to target appropriate followers with updates relevant to them. Every Google+ post is indexed by Google and available to appear in Search. This means that as people start to add you into circles, your network will evolve, making your content available to a wider field.
Despite the controversy, Google+ is an excellent form of social SEO. With dedicated communities and engaged audiences, it promises to be a successful social media platform for any business.