I've started visiting Google Plus again recently. If you aren't familiar with Google Plus, it's Google's social media platform. It started in 2011 and has a great design and concept. What it has been lacking is people. Social media and networking isn't very effective or enjoyable if there is no one to network with.
So a group of bloggers and I vowed to actually use our G+ accounts for 30 days and see what happens. It officially starts today, but I've gotten a head start to clear the dust on my profile. It's been a blast interacting and chatting up the G+ community. It got me thinking that people really don't know what they are missing. I thought I would break it down into my favorite features.
It's Shiny and New
Unlike the other social networks, Google Plus is still in it's infancy. This is a plus (no pun intended) because you can start from scratch with your circles (Google's version of friends, pages, followers etc). In other words, all those people clogging up your twitter and facebook feeds aren't doing it here. You can choose wisely when circling and eliminate the clutter.
Those circles I mentioned are my favorite feature. You can easily categorize people and pages into groups. You can also place people in multiple circles. It's similar to twitter's lists, but so much easier to use and switch between which circle you are viewing. G+ also asks you to assign people to a circle when you add them, so they are instantly organized. There is no limit to how many circles you can have (at least I haven't found it yet.)
This is a fairly new feature that I jumped on board with right away. I started a cloth diapers community that has grown to the triple digits. It's a wonderful way to find new "friends" if your real life friends haven't migrated over to G+ just yet. It's also a great way to network and build other connections.
I love me a good hashtag, and although facebook has started integrating them, it's not like twitter. Google Plus has taken the hashtag one step further. It will automatically categorize your posts into appropriate hashtags. I still recommend adding hashtags in yourself, but if not, this feature is nice.
Hangouts on Air
This is really where Google Plus has the edge in social media. If you aren't familiar with hangouts, they are a way to group chat with people. Pretty cool, and reminiscent of the old instant messenger days. Hangouts on air take this to a whole other level. This is a way to video chat with other people in real time. The chats are also recorded so you can keep the conversation going afterwards. This is a new way to connect with others and to share your knowledge with an audience. Imagine the possibilities here for building your business or brand. Your customers can get instant face to face interaction with you.
|Currently if you do a google search for Pirate Prerogative the first thing that comes up is a link to this blog. The cool thing is that headshot and link to my G+ profile.|
It's Great for SEO and Page Rank
I am no expert in these areas, but you can find a lot of information on this from people who are experts. The short version is that sharing content and giving +1s can really improve your SEO (search engine optimization). Google Plus profiles have page rank just like a web page. Back links and interacting with other higher page rank sites is the key here.