By now, you’ve likely heard about Google+ (Google Plus), Google’s latest attempt at social media. However, this time, Google seems to have gotten it right. In just a few weeks, Google Plus has amassed more than 25 million users – something it took Twitter and Facebook more than two years to do.
But I know what you’re thinking – you don’t need yet another social media profile to worry about. While I completely understand that feeling, I think it’s important for businesses to understand what’s going on with this new network and what that means for them – right now.
So, before you rush off and sign up for a Google Plus profile, here are a few things you need to know:
1. Don’t create a business page – yet.
Google Plus is still doing field testing, which means they are still working out the kinks and that you have to have an invite to join. Because they are still in this beta phase, Google is asking businesses to hold off from creating profiles right now. In fact, they are so adamant about this that they have kicked off businesses who created brand profiles on the platform.
Google promises they are building pages specifically for businesses that will be rolled out in the coming months. Until that happens, don’t worry about being the first business on the block with a Google Plus page – you’ll just be wasting a lot of time and energy.
2. But, DO spend time experimenting.
Just because you can’t build a business profile on Google Plus doesn’t mean you can’t spend time experimenting with the platform.
Because the platform is new, there’s a lot less noise there, which makes it a bit easier to find new content and engage in conversations. Definitely take advantage of that. And, as Chris Brogan suggested earlier this week, use Google Plus to try new things instead of cross-posting everything from other social network.
I also think there are a lot of ways businesses can use Google Plus outside of the marketing arena. For instance, Hangouts, Google’s group video chat feature, would be great for teams that work in multiple locations. Also, Sparks could be a useful way to track and share content surrounding a particular topic.
If you’re ready to give it a try, here are some great tutorials to help you get started:
- How to Get Started With Google+, Your Complete Guide – Social Media Examiner
- Google+ Tips & Tricks: 10 Hints for New Users – Mashable
- Six Tips for Using Google+ Now – Spin Sucks
3. Consider the ramifications on search.
As part of the Google Plus effort, Google unveiled the “+1” button, which is similar in functionality to Facebook’s “Like” button. While you see the button on Google Plus itself, it is also available on websites (like this one).
Although Google hasn’t said how the +1 button will factor into its search algorithm, the chances are pretty good that the more times a content has been “+1’d”, the higher it will appear in search results. So, even if you’re not participating in Google Plus just yet, you should go ahead and add the +1 button to your website and blog now to give your website visitors the option to recommend your content.
4. Keep your eye on the ball.
While Google Plus is the shiny new toy in the social media sandbox, time will tell how this will impact businesses once the platform expands. Right now, the platform is littered with early adopters and tech types who love to try new things (count me in!).
Although I encourage folks to give it a try, I would say that businesses don’t need to spend a ton of time focusing on this just yet. Stanford Smith wrote a great post about this a few weeks ago. After all, if you’re still grappling with how use social media to help your business, Google Plus will just be a big distraction.
What do you think about Google Plus so far? How do you think this will have an impact on businesses?
Want to connect on Google Plus? You can find me here.