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We’ve all heard the jokes and seen the memes poking fun at Google+ like how only Google employees use the network, it feels like you’re posting to an empty room, and even rumors about Google manipulating search rankings to give Google+ users better results.
Today, I’d like to discuss a few reasons why I think Google+ is not only a great social network with a promising future, but may become the most valuable network of all in the future.
Did you guys know that Google is the most powerful company on the Internet?( Rhetorical) I mean, they have over 6 times the ad revenue of Facebook, average 114 Billion searches per month, own the Android platform which has over 79% mobile market share, and created Google Maps – the most-used smartphone app. It isn’t hard to see that Google has become integrated into almost every facet of day to day life. Even my grandmother knows that if you want to find something out, you should “Google it!”
With Google’s huge reach and almost endless digital properties, it’s not a huge stretch to see how using their social network can help you better utilize the Internet. For one, Google+ integrates seamlessly with your Gmail. Hundreds of millions of people are only one click away from their Google+ profile every time they access their Gmail account on a PC or Mac. Not only do they have access to their contacts, but also the Google Calendar, Maps, YouTube, etc. Can you see how much information is centralized at your fingertips when using Google+?
My favorite feature accessible through Google+ is Google Hangouts. This feature lets you connect with anyone in your Google+ Circles or your Gmail contacts list that also uses Google Hangouts. This feature gives you instant access via text chat or video calls. You can even include up to 10 people on a video call for free! Forget the days of everyone sitting at their desk in front of a speakerphone. Now everyone can see if Johnny is actually paying attention to the weekly updates or just folding his laundry.
One fault many marketers have with other social networks such as Facebook is the difficulty of growing your network and finding the right people to target and gain exposure for your brand. Google+ makes this much easier because the network is designed to get the information you want in the easiest manner.
When setting up your account, you can almost instantly start following hundreds or thousands of people already grouped into niches for you by the network. Once G+ learns the type of people you are interested in, it will regularly recommend other similar individuals that you may want to follow. As you follow someone, you must put them into a Circle, or category. If these people connect back to you, they are conveniently organized in the Circle you selected. This helps you share your own messages to the people that will be most interested in each bit of content you post.
Another feature that is especially handy for all you content creators out there is Google Authorship. You can actually connect yourself to the content you create and the websites that allow you to contribute right in your Google+ profile. This helps Google determine your expertise, and if you are deemed someone that provides valuable content about a specific category, it will help the sites you write for because they are posting valuable content from a trusted source.
Google+ may not be the coolest kid on the block right now, but I would recommend that everyone in the digital marketing and content creation worlds put a little time in to test the network for your own needs. You can easily find relevant content shared by others in your niche, analyze competitor strategies, connect with other G+’ers in your industry, and take advantage of all the awesome Google products that work with the network. As interest in individual social networks shift over time, Google+’s security as part of the Google portfolio just may help it outlast some of the others.
Do you plan on using the network more in 2014?