Getting Started with Google+
Social Media Primer: Getting Started with Google+
An introduction to Google+
Social media has been around long enough that if you have a business then you already have a Twitter or Facebook account, or at least you should. If not you need to get on board. Better late than never, I say. So if you are an absolute beginner, then I highly suggest Google+.
Google+ first started as an invite only network. This was a way for Google keep a handle on server traffic and work out bugs. Slowly people started gaining access through invitations from someone already on the network and small windows of open access. The last I checked you can now access by going to the sign up page at https://plus.google.com/ and use your Google account.
G+ has the best of both Facebook and Twitter worlds. You can follow people like Twitter or friend someone like Facebook. They introduce the “circles” concept, as in your circle of friends, which is very cool. Now you can have a circle of co-workers, family, friends, business associates, etc. When you broadcast a status you can select which circles to post to. Again, a nice feature if you want to announce a pool party to friend and family, but not business contacts.
Like Twitter, G+ public posts are searchable and can come up in search results. This can be very beneficial for seo purposes. At the time of this writing, G+ only has personal accounts, but business accounts are coming soon. Google is trying to keep these separate and have them co-mingle like the Facebook mess.
Obviously G+ has live chat and the cool thing is that it ties into your GoogleTalk account. G+ takes the chat thing one step further with “Hangouts” which are live video chat with a select group of friends. Another interesting feature is “Sparks” which allows you to search topics of interest or hobbies. This pulls a news feed specific to that topic. You can add these Sparks to your list and drag them into your circles to share with your friends.
Once your into Goolge+ you will see a lot of familiar Facebook options such as notifications, share links, video and pictures and of course the ever popular and sometimes incriminating photos albums.
Overall, the look and feel are clean and basic, even more so than Facebook. The functionality is very sleek utilizing common Web 2.0 features such as lightboxes (the transparent black screen that pops over your page).
Once you get into using and playing with Google+ you get the feeling there’s something bigger about this platform. Facebook is behind the green door, but like Twitter you can broadcast to the world. Since G+ is only a month or two old, I’m sure that Google will be refining and adding even more features to the already robust social network. When the business pages roll out I’m sure it will be a very powerful tool in the social marketing sandbox.