News: March 2012
Google+, pronounced “Google Plus”, is essentially Google’s alternative to the social network “Facebook”. Google’s new social network is considered to be Facebook’s main rival and since its launch in mid-2011 has grown to over 90 million users. So what is Google+ all about and why should businesses consider it as part of their social media strategy?
“Google+ Pages” allows businesses to set up profiles for sharing information, publishing blogs, product information and generally keeping their customers and potential customers up to date.
“Circles” enables users to organise contacts into groups for sharing across various Google products and services. The idea is similar to a “Friends List” on Facebook.
Of particular relevance to businesses is the “what’s hot” stream. This is essentially a news feed showing what Google+ users are currently excited about. Businesses can use this stream to generate PR.
Google+ is also available as a mobile “app” which allows users to stay up to date, send group messages and receive notifications.
A major differentiator between Facebook and Google+ is “Hangouts”. A Hangout is a place used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point in time). This allows a whole new level of interaction for social media users.
It is still early days for Google+ and it will be interesting to see how the service develops over time. Businesses are already beginning to use it as part of their social media strategy and there are advantages to being seen as an “early adopter” in the business community.