Do you have a Google+ account but haven’t checked it? Have you heard that it’s a "ghost town"? Are your friends on Facebook but not on Google+? If you answered yes to all three of those you need to check it again. Google+ has surpassed Twitter, and LinkedIn and Pinterest in total users. It is growing faster than every network (including Facebook) and is beginning to add significant value to brands and businesses. The tools available to Google+ users are more integrated and useful than anything currently being offered on other networks. You can create your own memes out of images you take with your phone directly from the software built into the browser version of the network. You can create video seminars complete with branding and even have customer service calls taken care of directly through the network.
All of these things are just the beginning. The countless personal users on Google+ (estimated recently at 700 million with somewhere north of 300 million active) engage with friends, family, and even business in more natural and authentic ways on Google+.
What’s more natural than a hanging out?
Google+ Hangouts are so much fun and are a great way to reach family and friends from all across the country. My kids love talking to their great grandma. They bring all of their school work to show and they love the fun decorations and noises that are part of the Hangouts tool box. Nothing says party like a party hat and a dog face. Businesses can use Hangouts to create video tutorials, interviewing industry leaders, customer service calls, holiday messages, and really the only limit is your imagination. The bonus for businesses (and anyone really) is that you can also add your own logo’s and branding to the video. Hangouts is unquestionably one of the best features of Google+.
Google+ is becoming deeply integrated with all the best tools Google has to offer. Documents created with Google Docs (Drive) can be shared with a specific circle for collaborative editing. Circles created with Google+ can be used to manage your contacts on your Android phone. YouTube commenting is now part of the Google+ world. The +1 button is helping people get better results in their searches because the websites and content that your friends +1 now get a preferred placement on the private search results from Google searches. This is particularly good news for businesses who know how to make the most of Google+ and the +1 button on their websites. Your blog or website can also be linked to create authorship results in search which is great for content creators.
Why fight the inevitable?
Google+ has been growing at a faster clip than Facebook. There is little doubt in my mind that Google+ will be such an important part of the social web that it will pass Facebook in total users simply because they out innovate. Google+ and the many integrations with Google services and software will make it impractical to not have a Google+ account. The key is learning to use it now instead of when you’re behind the curve two or three years from now. This is even more important if you’re running a business. If you want to learn more but don’t know where to start just let me know.