Hanging Out in the Google+ Circle: What’s in it for You?
It’s got a stream instead of a newsfeed, circles instead of friends, and a +1 instead of a Like button. But you still have a profile, and you still share the same information, photos, and links that you might share on Facebook. So really, there’s no reason for you to try out Google+, right?
Well, there just might be a reason or two.. depending on how you use social media. In my opinion, there are a few things that Google+ does a little better than Facebook. Let’s look at a few of them.
Organize Your Social Media
Google+’s claim to fame is the Circle, which is a way to organize all your social connections. Instead of having a general list of friends, you have several groups of customizable circles: You can have separate lists for friends, family, acquaintances, or even your fantasy baseball league or your book club. That way, when you post a status update, you can choose which circles can see it. For example:
Status to family circle: “Yay! Can’t wait for the family picnic!”
Status to friend circle: “Bored at a family picnic. Boo!”
Get the point? Circles are great! Not everyone needs to know everything.
And yes, I realize that Facebook rolled out their new List feature soon after the Google+ launch, but if you have 500 friends already, do you really want to go through and organize them all into lists? It just makes a lot more sense to do it as soon as you add them, like on Google +.
Skype + Facebook = Hangout
I think one of the coolest features of Google+ is the video chat option. It’s super easy – all you do is click on the “hangout” button and invite your friends to video chat. And you’re not just chatting with one person – you can chat with an entire group at one time! This feature would be great for companies who telecommute. It’s like Skype inside Facebook!
In fact, Skype and other video chatting programs might feel a little threatened by Google+. Because hangouts is one feature that Facebook doesn’t have, people might be more likely to use Google+ just for this feature.. and might stop using other video chatting programs.
Plus One is a Plus for Your SEO
Circles and hangouts make Google+ great for socializing, but it’s also really great for your business because it boosts your SEO. You see, most social media sites don’t allow their outgoing links to be included in search results because they don’t want their users spamming the network. The new Google +1 button, on the other hand, gets indexed by Google. So if you add the button to your website, and someone uses it to recommend you, your Google ranking goes up.
But don’t stop at simply adding the button to your website – build up your Google+ profile and start sharing links. When someone from one of your circles searches for a related term, your link will pop up near the top of their search results.
Watch Out, Facebook!
Just kidding! I don’t think Google+ is a very big threat to Facebook (yet?). But there are some cool features that definitely make Google+ worth a try. If you run a website, it’s worth trying Google+ for the SEO alone. And if you hold video conferences, or just want to see your friends’ faces when you chat online, you’ll enjoy Hangouts. Circles? Those are just common sense.