By Adriano Di Palma – Junior SEO at MooMu Media
Google’s first attempt at entering into the social networking arena occurred in June of 2011 when it released the highly anticipated Google+.
Google+ (G+ for short) was touted by many as ‘Google’s answer to Facebook’ and was seen early on as a serious competitor to Facebook.
While it is yet to topple Facebook, Google+ still currently boasts over 250 million users and is steadily improving, as it carves out its own niche in the online social space.
Google Plus ‘versus’ Facebook
Google describes their product as a ‘social layer’ rather than just a social network.
Google makes this distinction because they are steadily integrating G+ across a multitude of Google owned products and adding a ‘social layer’ to them. The possibilities of such tight integration are very exciting.
If you’re still yet to wet your feet with Google+, what better way than with an official promo video from Google themselves; entitled “Google+: There’s more to explore”.
What are circles?
One of the main selling points of Google+ is a much more prominent usage of friend-grouping, through what are referred to as ‘circles’.
Circles act much like real life friendship circles, allowing users to group their friends by their particular association:
- Close friends
The beauty of circles is that they foster more relevant content creation; allowing users to cater content for specific groups of connections.
Once users have sorted their connections into circles, they’ll start seeing news and activity feeding through onto their stream – highly akin to Facebook’s ‘news feed’
Hangouts are another great feature of Google+, allowing users to start a high quality video chat with friends in their circles.
Hangouts include a host of great features–video effects, text chat, and screen sharing—and they’ve proven to be one of the more popular features.
Google+ for businesses
Google+ offers an exciting opportunity for business to promote their brand and connect with customers, allowing them to create a custom business page and “Sharing, Promoting, and Measuring”.
Circles are just as useful to businesses as they are for regular users. Circles allow businesses to target posts to specific groups such as:
Business owners can also start hangouts with the connections in their circles to help boost customer engagement and solve problems.
Google+ offers a global “thumbs-up” feature, similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, known as +1.
Businesses have the ability to embed a +1 button onto their website, linking directly back to their Google+ page. This allows users to follow the business Google+ page and shares this activity with the user’s connections.
Google also provides businesses with some useful tools to measure and analyse engagement.
These include social reports within Google Analytics, soon to be released page-analytics, and ripples – a data visualisation showing how posts have spread across Google+.
Wrapping it all up
Google+ is an exciting development within the growing field of social media and is set to become a major player. With the steady development and spread of the G+ brand, it’s a bandwagon that’s well worth hopping on.