On June 28, 2011, Google launched its social networking answer to Facebook, Google+. Within the first 2 weeks, this invitation only network amassed 10 million users. Now, a little over a month later, the site has 25 million users and that number continues to grow exponentially.
Like Facebook, Google+ is a platform for consumers to share personalized information with people in their social circles. Eventually, Google+ will offer its users complete integration with all Google products. Products like Google Places, Google Maps and Picasa will seamlessly link into users’ streams and fan out to their networks. First, let’s define the Google+ lingo.
• Streams: The primary way to communicate information on Google+. Streams are status updates that can be shared with friends across circles.
• Circles: An organizational tool that separates those in your social network into easy to identify groups. For a business, circles can separate fans by how frequently they post/comment, their primary interests or their purchasing behavior.
• Hangouts: A video chat feature that allows for two person video conversations, or accommodates a video conference for up to 10 users. Within the next few months, this feature will also include hearing-impaired capabilities.
• Sparks: A stream of search-engine results based off of users’ interests. Sparks is an opportunity to have Google+ search and aggregate videos, pictures, and articles based on the user’s interest.
Google+ for business rolls out later this year. Already, over 10,000 businesses have petitioned Google for a business account. In addition to organizations like Ford Motor Company, Sesame Street, and Mashable, the roster of businesses eager to try Google+ includes law firms, charities, and non-profits. The communication possibilities for social marketers are almost limitless. Read the rest of this entry »