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24 January 2012
When Google first launched Google + there was a lot of talk – but what’s it all about?
Pioneered by the people behind Google Search Engine, Google+ can be understood as an amalgam of social networking and identity service. Some of the features in the popular Gmail, like Google Buzz, Google Reader and Google Profiles, have been integrated into Google+ to make this social networking platform more dynamic. Besides, Google+ also features some of the intuitive tools, like:
1. Circles: It’s a tool that empowers the users to organise their contacts into different “circles”, like Family, Friends, Room mates, etc. For easy organisation, you can simply drag-and-drop from the contacts list into any of these “circles”.
2. Sparks: Improving upon Google Reader, “sparks” lists the content in the categories matching your interests (like tech, health, etc.) along with the links to related content. Each topic gets its own “spark” page.
3. Hangouts: “Hangouts” feature allows the users to video chat with the people in their circles.
4. Huddles: “Huddles” feature allows the users to send group messages within the “circles”.
5. Instant Upload: Using this feature, the users can instantly upload the picture, on to their Google+ account, as they click from their smartphones.
6. +1 Button: This button lets the user to recommend a website or a particular page on the website. It is similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, but when combined with Google search results, +1 Button becomes much more powerful than any of its competitors’ similar offering.
Google has also unveiled their proprietary Operating System – Android – for the smart phones with built-in Google+ capabilities and easy-to-download apps to make your Google+ experience more enriching.
Google+ can be an effective marketing tool for the start-ups as well as the established corporations. The businesses can make good use of Google+ Pages, which is a powerful tool incorporated within Google+ specifically for the purpose of enabling the businesses to spread the word about their offerings and other useful information. Here are some ways Google+ can help your business and transform it into a reputed brand:
1. You can easily publish text, audio, images, video and other relevant content on your Google+ Pages. By involving your followers by asking questions and indulging them in a healthy discussion, you can sense the mood of the target audience. You can also make your posts public for maximum visibility. You can also make use of Hangouts feature to set-up one-click face-to-face conversation with your followers and seek their views, opinions, suggestions, troubleshoot and product feedback.
2. Google+ Badges allows inter-connectivity between the official website and the Google+ page of the business. It’s a simple sidebar widget that has the ability to +1, see personal annotations, and add the page to a circle, directly from the website. Another related and powerful Google+ tool for marketing purposes is Google+ Direct Connect, which enables users to go directly to the Google+ page of the business by entering ‘+’ followed by the name of the business page in Google search.
3. Google+ also features a host of tools to analyse the Google+ activity for your business. For instance, Google+ Search informs you about the opinions of the people about your business or brand. Ripples is another feature that gives you the tools to know who is sharing and re-sharing your content and who are the “experts” that people tend to follow the most. You can use this information to add the influential followers to you circle for targeted marketing campaign. Besides, there are traditional Google Analytics tools to give you an insight into the performance of your website content. All these tools can be used to learn how the Google+ social campaign impacts your bottom line and accordingly, fine tune your products/services.