Google+ (or Google Plus or G+, as it is also often referred to) is an online social network created by Google to be a rival to similar platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Google+ can be accessed through the internet, either through a web browser or dedicated apps. Aside from desktop or laptop computers, Google+ can also be accessed and used via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Like the other social networks, Google+ is an online medium through which registered users can connect and interact with each other, both publicly and privately, as well as engage with unconnected users through Google+ web forums (known as Google Communities).
Google+ is a curate’s egg of a social network. On one hand, it borrows all the best elements of the other social networks and combines them on one platform and through one interface. On the other, the sheer breadth of Google+’s functionality can be dauntingly complicated to the uninitiated, and it remains comparatively unloved and unadopted by the public at large when compared to the runaway successes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Also, unlike those other prominent social networks, it lacks a clear definition for who it is for and how it should be used. By being so powerful and all encompassing, Google+ can be accused of being all things to all men and a jack of all trades and master of none. Facebook is for your personal life, LinkedIn is for your professional one, Twitter is for microblogging whereas Google+ is… for all of those things, potentially.
However, if you are a business and are looking for a good online platform to advance your online marketing, you would be very foolish to discount Google+ because of its complexity, breadth and comparative unpopularity. Because it is so integrated with Google’s other online products, because it is free at the point of use and because it is backed by one of the world’s most powerful and innovative companies, Google+ should still be considered as an important part of an organisation’s or an individual’s social media presence.
Although the breadth of Google+ has deterred people, it has the forum/networking functions associated with LinkedIn, the ‘public display’ of Twitter and the personable qualities of being on Facebook. Also, you have considerable scopeto post at length with formatted text.
In addition, Google+ has inbuilt video conferencing and instant messaging capabilities (similar to Skype) known as Google Hangouts. Also, via Google Hangouts On Air and YouTube, you can broadcast live to other users as well.
Google+ is also a great social media network to adopt if you plan to use imagery or video as part of your social media campaign. It is fully integrated with YouTube and offers numerous internal photography editing features, and it can draw content from imagery stored in your Google Drive.
Google+ also offers a wide range of online G+ communities in which you can network for both professional and personal purposes. For any interest, professional sector or geographical region that you can think of, there is a Google+ community that caters to it.
Also, as with LinkedIn and Facebook, your company can have its own identity on Google+ in addition to your own and your employees’ Google+ profiles.
Google+ is integrated with Google My Business, which is the listing service that provides a company description for registered companies to the right of Google Search Engine results. Your Google My Business listing is already integrated with Google Maps, which in turn tie back in with Google Search results.
As with Twitter, your Google+ profile and activity can be publicly viewed online by those who are not registered users of Google+ (if you choose them to be). Also, as you would predict, Google+ posts turn up within Google Search results, even more so if users are logged into their Google accounts while using a Google Chrome browser.
It is widely believed that a sustained Google+ presence can contribute to an associated website’s position within Google Search Engine Ranking. Although it is not strictly true to say that Google+ activity is an essential component of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), such activity can be beneficial for visits to your site and placing in Google Search.