Six months ago, I’d pretty much written off Google+. I only logged on when a notification popped up in my inbox and, to be brutally honest, because I’ve been reading lots about the SEO benefits of sharing on Google+.
But then a few things happened. Google upped its game; it launched a few functions that finally gave Google+ an edge over Facebook and LinkedIn.
Not convinced? Read on…
1) Engagement and circle sharing
One of the things I’ve found with Google+ is that the number of engaged users might be fewer than Facebook or Twitter has, but those that do use it are REALLY engaged. They get involved in discussions, happily share content and give you thorough opinions and thoughts.
If you want an intelligent response to what you share, Google+ is the place.
Also, the ability to share content to just a few, through circles or directly sharing to them, is a handy alternative to email. Frankly, anything that helps me use email less is a huge benefit.
Hangouts have been around for a while, but I only really understood the benefits when I started a Digital Q&A with a couple of friends (you can see our previous hangouts on our Tumblr). We stream the hangout to YouTube, where our followers can watch it live and submit questions for us. It’s a great way to tackle interesting topics and create a community. Plus, the bundle of sound effects and visual effects add to the fun.
Cherry Healey recently did a great one on Christmas, showing the real potential of Hangouts. Think of it like interactive TV.
When Google+ initially launched Pages, there was a flurry of brands and individuals bagging their chosen page. Then…well, nothing. But now that you can post from social media tools like Hootsuite, Pages are getting a little love again. Especially now they can use Hangouts and Events to interact with customers, clients and followers.
With Facebook dealing with plenty of controversy with their pages, I suspect more and more businesses will turn to Google+.
My favourite bit of Google+, Communities was launched last month and has hugely increased how much I use Google+. On the morning it launched, I created two communities – one for UK Bloggers and one for Freelancers.
Both communities are buzzing with people discussing things they don’t have the space to discuss on Twitter, and don’t feel they can discuss on a Facebook page or group. It’s essentially like a bunch of forums built within G+ for you to discuss your chosen topic in more detail.
5) Google Local
Looking for somewhere local to eat? Or a good place to have a meeting? Or someone to take the kids over Christmas? You can search through the Google Local tab for all your local info, just by searching.
Admittedly this isn’t really different to searching Google for a local destination, but it’s handy to have it in Google+, it’s easier to read reviews and you can post your own reviews to your circle of local types.
Tempted to pop on over? Come join a community, or give hangouts a go. If it’s good enough for Wallace and Gromit….