Google-ing Social Networks

Google+ is Google Inc.’s fourth and successful attempt to create a social networking site that can rival its competitors such as Facebook, and others. Now it may be tempting to dismiss the advances Google+ has made to its program, and write it off as just another social networking site, nevertheless it may be helpful to you and your business to take a closer look at it. In fact, Google Inc. has invested substantial time and treasure in its social networking site Google+, which has undergone major overhauls since its inception, in and was virtually redesigned in 2015 and now the site includes a plethora of options and features that make it very user friendly to become involved in the Google community. Why Google social networking when there are already a host of social networking sites available that small businesses have been using with great success to promote their business and get the word out? Well, for one thing, as we know Google is still the premiere search engine, which involves billions of users. Therefore, in signing up and using Google+ as a viable vehicle for small business marketing and advertising, users have immediate access to everything Google, including optimized search engine optimization (SEO). Without getting into the complex details of what SEO is and how it works, keep in mind that Google, and other search engines actually employ advanced smart technology in order to develop a ranking system for websites and where they will or will not appear when you do a Google search. Therefore, one obvious and immediate benefit of taking advantage of Google+ is that being active on any site hosted by Google has the potential to improve your standing and visibility when someone’s looking for your type of business.

Google+ Circles
Signing up for a Google+ account and creating a personal profile works just it does on Facebook, Twitter, etc. One benefit of Google+ is the user’s ability to tailor your profile exactly to your business outreach and marketing strategies, and create content as industry specific as possible, again increasing your opportunities that your business will be located online when someone does a Google search looking for, say, septic tank installations, repairs, or portable toilet rental companies—no matter what the unique kinds of services that you offer.
The kinds of content you can post on Google+ increases with every update. For example, its user friendly interface allows you to post relevant content from your own business website, or you can post content from other related businesses in your industry. Google+ makes it easy to post everything from photos of your staff, photos of your pumper trucks, excavation and other types of equipment, where you are located, the jobs you have completed all part of audio-visual tutorials that you can create. Included on the interface is what Google calls a “+1” feature, similar to the “Like” feature on Facebook, which allows you to repost that content on your Google+ page. Another basic feature includes an identity service sections, such as a contributor and other profiles area that let you link their content and post it on your site.
One feature everyone likes about Google+ is one of their core features called “Circles.” This enables users to organize and arrange people, other companies, institutions, or whatever into personalized groups with which you can share content. Only those within a particular Circle can receive and send specific and private content. It is as simple as dragging and dropping URLs and/or content into a particular Circle that you have created. So for example, you can create one Circle for business related issues, and post business-related content, and then create another one for private and personal content that you like to share among your family and friends such as photos, etc. The subscriber can take advantage of both privatized Circles as well as the option to share publically with everyone else on Google+, which boasts millions of users, and it is expanding continuously. The Circle features actually get very detailed. So, for example, each created Circle comes equipped with a “slider” configuration feature which includes four separate positions: nothing, some things, most things, and everything. In other words, you have very detailed control over whom, how, and when the streaming of your content becomes available to others. In the middle column on the homepage is the Stream content, and there you can see any updates made from anyone in any one of your Circles.

Story by Mark Joseph Manion

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