|If you’re promoting yourself on Facebook and Twitter, do you really need to be on Google+? Absolutely!
With more than 350 million active users , Google+ recently edged out Twitter as the world’s second largest social network. If that’s not a good enough reason to get on board, here are nine more.
1. Google Pays More Attention to Its Own Network. Fair or not, your posts get noticed and indexed more quickly in Google when you put them on Google+ than when you post to Facebook. If you think about it, why wouldn’t they? If you also maintain a YouTube channel, you can give yourself a huge boost in Google’s search results because the search engine integrates its content and looks at your presence as a whole. If it sees you everywhere on its network, it’s going to pay more attention – and pass that information on to searchers.
2. Google+ Hangouts Let You Host Virtual Meetings.
If you’re on Google+ and you own a webcam, you can do free live streaming video chats with multiple people simultaneously. Best of all, you don’t need to hold the chat on Google+; you can host it on YouTube or even your own website! Everyone gets to see the other participants in the video chat as well, as long as they all use their webcams. Think of the potential here. You can conduct business meetings, give presentations, do a workshop with your customers, and so much more!
3. Google+ Circles Let You Divide and Conquer.
Yes, Facebook offers certain features that let you share your posts somewhat selectively. But Google+ Circles stands head and shoulders above Facebook for its flexibility and ease of use. You can give your circles any name you wish, and add people to more than one circle. When you make a post, you can easily select exactly which Circle or Circles get to see it. So if you’ve created a Circle for clients who bought a particular software package, for example, you can post directly to them – and only them, if you wish – about bug fixes and enhancements. But I’m sure you can come up with many other ways to use this great tool!
4. Google+ Lets You Write All You Want.
Do you feel limited by 140 characters (Twitter) or 420 characters (Facebook)? Google+ won’t put the squeeze on your words. You can make a post of any length you want, and even format it and add graphics. You can disable comments to your post if you want, or simply moderate them. How’s that for letting you communicate with your audience?
5. Google+ Gives You Wings, er, Mobility.
Do you prefer Android or iPhone? How about BlackBerry? Or do you use a Windows-based phone? It doesn’t matter; Google+ offers specialized apps to cover them all. This means you can post from anywhere, and your audience will see you from anywhere. It’s more than a matter of convenience. With more than half of adult Americans owning smartphones these days, you definitely want to reach this audience.
6. Google+ Ripples Let You Track Your Posts.
Throw a pebble in a lake, and you see ripples coming out from the center. Put a public post on Google+, and you can use Google+ Ripples to track it. As Google explains, Ripples will show you who has publicly shared a post and the comments they’ve made, and how that post was shared over time. Use this feature repeatedly, and you may be able to spot trends. Depending on what you learn from using Ripples, you could get inspiration for your next post, a new feature, or even a whole new product line!
7. Google+ and YouTube, Great Together.
Remember what I said about Google paying more attention to its own network and looking at your presence on it as a whole? It’s easy to share from YouTube to Google+, and vice versa. Check it out; YouTube gives you a Google+ tab, and you can get a YouTube tab on Google+. If you’re even thinking of posting videos to YouTube or starting a channel, this feature will make promotion that much easier.
8. Tell Google+ Your Content is Yours.
If you maintain a blog, you want Google to know that what you wrote belongs to you – not the so-and-so who copied your content and posted it as their own. All you need to do is add your blog to your Google+ Profile, and you’re set. Even better: if you included your picture in your Google+ Profile, that image will appear next to the link to your blog posts whenever they turn up in a Google search now. This will add an air of authority when your posts turn up in a search, and make searchers more likely to click through. After all, wouldn’t you be more likely to read a post if you can see who wrote it?
9. All This, And Google+ is Only Two Years Old.
Google never stands still when it comes to improving its services. Granted, it will remove services that aren’t doing well, but the social network’s integration with other Google services is a good sign that Google+ will be around for the long haul. That means it’s going to keep getting better. The service even offers a dedicated site for businesses trying to get the most out of the social network.
I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s well worth your time to check out Google+’s features. Give it a try; you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!