There’s been a lot of hullabaloo lately about the new social network which hasn’t even officially launched yet, Google+. Will it last any longer than Google’s last few attempts at social media, Google Buzz and Google Wave? Is it real competition for Facebook? But what’s not being given enough attention is how it may be useful for businesses. Could Google+ be more competition for LinkedIn than Facebook? Is it a useful tool for companies?
Google already offers a range of useful tools for business. Google Docs has made investing in Microsoft Word and Excel a thing of the past for some businesses, and its Calendar and Email programs are also pervasive in professional environments. Google+ offers a new way for you to build relationships with your customers, employees, and partners, so be sure to keep an eye on it as it grows in popularity!
Send targeted social networking messages.
It is easy to differentiate between specific groups, such as co-workers, customers, prospects, or even those working on a particular project, with the “Circles” feature, making it a more flexible social networking tool than Facebook or LinkedIn.
Help improve your rank in the search engine.
Wouldn’t it be great to get to the first page of search results for your industry? With the addition of the “+1” button, you can now allow people to essentially vote that your website is a useful one, helping your business climb the ranks. You can add the “+1” button to your website, just as you may currently offer visitors the option to “Digg” or “Stumble” your page.
Instead of “Skyping,” try “Hanging Out.”
Google+ offers a free voice and video chat for up to 10 participants. It may be a valuable tool for conference calls or communicating with off-site employees. There’s no need to set up a new contact list. You can grab straight from the Google contacts you’ve already set up. Convenience is a big factor for this feature!
Business pages… coming soon!
Of course, sometimes you want people to interact with your brand, not particular employees. Right now, LinkedIn offers many opportunities for you to create a space for your company, where you can share news and opportunities. Likewise, Facebook has “pages” where people can become fans of your business and receive updates from you. Don’t worry, Google+ has plans to include this feature in the future.