Google+ is the second largest social network (as of January 2013), and it's the perfect tool for a highly-focused audience that dislikes "wasting time" wading through "sentimental" posts that end with 'if you love your [son, daughter, cat], please repost.' Google+ also pleases those who think visually thanks to Google+ Circles. This functionality allows you to segment your followers. Unlike other social networks, through Circles, you can develop separate personas and communicate highly segmented messaging to each audience. Not only will it help you quickly share highly-customized content with each group, but it will help you organize them in your mind. You'll create the habit of catering to each segment automatically. With Circles, "you can choose who gets to know what," as Google+ puts it. You can include or exclude personal information separately for each circle. For example, you probably wouldn't include your relationship information in your "Work" circle, but you might want to detail your work history. On the other hand, it would be entirely appropriate to include your relationship details, birthday, etc. in your "Close Family and Friends" circle, but you might want to leave out your employment history. In short, Circles is Google's method of organizing connections into groups for more targeted sharing and better privacy.
Another useful tool is the +1 button. It's similar to Facebook's "Like" button, but it carries weight in Google's Search results as well as on the entire World Wide Web. Using the +1 button to favorite others' content will show your photo and link in search results for that item. Think of the +1 button as your recommendation. If part of your services includes sending your subscribers and followers to powerful resources, the +1 button is a natural tool to use, when sharing the content of others. You can share your +1 recommendations in your Circles to get the ball rolling on conversations, share high value resources and links, and to put your personal seal of endorsement on other web content or posts.
Unlike Twitter which limits postings to 140 characters, Google+ allows up to 1000 words! While shorter often gets the point across more efficiently, there are times when a longer post will demonstrate more knowledge or be more helpful and interesting to the reader. And the more time people spend reading your post, the more they psychologically engage with you. Remember to include photos, graphics, videos and links within your post. Use your tagline and keywords in your profile. This is a "must" for anyone looking to network for business.
Google recently announced the Events features which allows Google+ users to send out customized invitations to anyone regardless of whether or not they are Google+ users. It syncs with Google Calendar and shows up automatically when a user sends an event confirmation. In addition to sending out invitations to webinars, work functions, parties, etc., Google Events can also send out invitations for Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts is a platform for group video chatting and collaboration that is used by Google+ members, with a maximum participation allowance of 10 users. Hangouts can also be broadcasted live to public audience and automatically recorded to YouTube.
Google Authorship is a "must have" feature of Google+ if you're trying to market your business. Think of Authorship as a way to make Google search results reflect not only your blog's actual text, but you, the author and marketer. Authorship links your name and byline on your blog to your Google+ personal profile. When this feature is enabled in your Google+ account, search results relevant to your blog posts will append your profile photo and name.
I prefer using Google+ versus Facebook, but because so many of my friends are on Facebook instead of Google+, I'm not ready to give up my Facebook account. Here is my Google+ page. Next week, I'll cover LinkedIn. Stay tuned!