Late June this year which is hardly two week back, Google unleashed “Google+. It’s a real-life sharing, rethought for the web. Although I got the invite last Friday and since last couple of days I have evaluated this new tool from the perspective of an entrepreneur who can use this for his business.
Google + has a strong appeal for the micro and small sized business owners. Although Google + is not a first social networking platform, we already have platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Orkut but the sole advantage of the new social platform (Google +) could be the fact that its new.
To further explain this point, let’s look at the main essence of social media which is – community formation. And the previous social media platforms have already made their community focus for example, Facebook has a strong image of being a family focused social media. LinkedIn has a clear focus of being a career focused social media portal.
On the contrary, being new, this social media (Google +) platform did not have any perception as of now, and the perception can be created as a social media platform for businesses. If one can start using it for the businesses, at this stage, a strong business community can be formed.
According to my understating, there are certain features which can surely appeal an entrepreneur of micro, small and mid sized business.
These features are:
Circles: Just like Facebook allows you to add friends into groups, in Google Plus you add them to “Circles”. The usability of the feature is very good, enabling easy addition of friends and colleagues to circles. This section can easily be managed by simple drag and drop concept. The entrepreneur can label the circles as anything he wants. For example, if the business has certain target segments, these circles can represent each segment. Once people are added who are not in Google+ and they receive your updates by email.
Sparks: This feature is like a typical news reader. In the today’s business, managing information is the key. Google+ allows the user to create specific information packets as a spark. Type in a few keywords and get the news from different sources. For example, if we create keywords like ‘MSMEs in India’, we can get all the relevant information material that are related to ‘MSMEs in India’. Once you get these packets, you can also share the news which will further give your network a value of being in your network.
Hangout: it is a way for people to “hangout” using audio and video – streamed chat room. This is a good way to connect with the clients or employees. It always help if one can stay associated with the clients, peers and employees on a lighter positive way.
Uploading photos and Video: You can drag photos or videos from your desktop into the status update box and publish it to the circles. This is undoubtedly an easy way to achieve social media marketing through the existing networks. These videos can be case studies, clients testimonials and certain success stories with the product and services that are offered by your company. This is a vital tool for the entrepreneur to convince his market.
Google+ Mobile: The mobile experience of Google+ is considered to be a most appealing tool. However, this application is best suited for the android devices. There are four primary functions which can be handled by this:
Check-in: Users can use this to check-in to a business and to work. This will help the entrepneurs to stay visible and available to their employees and clients.
Nearby: You can see public posts from Google+ users nearby based your phone’s location. Catch local deals, or see what your competitors are doing.
Notifications: Get status updates or reply notifications from your circles.
Media: Upload photos right to Google+ from the mobile device itself.
Actions to be taken from Small Businesses
- I would recommend to the entrepreneur to accept the invite, setup and complete/update his/her profile and business information on Google +. Check the links section and add links to good content about your business. i.e news mentions, interviews, business profile.
- Create a “Circle” of your customers on Google Plus and invite them.
- In the “Sparks” section add keywords that are most relevant to your business. Also try to monitor keywords like your name and your business name to stay awakened if you are getting quoted somewhere.
- Keeping an eye on market by looking at notifications.
- Converse or post content that’s interesting and educational, as you would on any other social network. Articles of interest, blog posts, conversations, good wishes, comments etc. This will help you in achieving an image of a though leader.
- Use it as a networking tool. Watch the conversations and spend a few minutes with conversations with people closest to you in your network.
The article is finished for those who are willing to foray into this new form of social media platform. So a warm welcome on Google+ to them.
But, for those who are still thinking that it is going to be too much of social media for them. I would request them to think twice before ignoring any form of social media. Because they may be pre occupied or not willing to foray into new social media but their customers, clients are not feeling like this. This could be an opportunity to stay connected with their market. They can engage themselves, their products and services with their clients. So let’s not ignore this.