A Preliminary Deciphering of Google+

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By Delia Paunescu
Assistant Editor

When news came that Google was launching its own social medium, the internet was beside itself with excitement. Since most already use Google for its GMail, GChat, GCalendar, GReader and sometimes even GDocuments, it seemed ideal to have the convenience of Facebook and Twitter there too. When the gates opened up and select users were allowed to see inside the new Google+, the thrill of “adding to circle” (Google+’s flexible friend lists) waned and the inevitable realization of “What does Google+ actually do?” came over users. The question must have been doubly frustrating for business owners who, having gotten a grasp on the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are not able to create profile pages for their businesses just yet.

Josh Anisfeld, group supervisor at GolinHarris Chicago, wrote on FutureSimple.com that “while Google has yet to let on how brands and businesses can jump into the frenzy of the search leaders’ foray into social, there is no doubt huge interest.” He believes the internet giant is “positioning itself and its social channel for success in the B2B world with the uses for its functionality,” though not until “it opens the gates for businesses to have pages and a presence, all we can do is plan and be ready when the time comes.”

In his posts on VisionMonday.com, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care owner Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO, wrote that ECPs can get started with Google+ while waiting for the business pages section to launch (they are expected in the coming months). His advice to ECPs using the latest social medium includes:

Take control of relationships by categorizing your circles.

  • Customize your experience by using browser extensions to change the look and feel.
  • Use formatting in posts to change how text looks.
  • +Tag or mute if you want to share something directly with someone or if you don’t want to receive further notifications from a particular post.
  • And don’t forget to have a little fun.

Bonnilla-Warford also interviewed optician and marketing specialist at Midwest City Vision Source Keely Rowe in a post for Review of Optometric Business about her practice’s use of Google+. “I am very excited about using Google+ at Midwest City Vision Source,” she told him. “I can get an idea of how we will be using Google+ based on the features available on my personal page.” Her practice has a clear view of why social media is important to their business: “We want to meet with the people in our community where they are, which in many cases is online, and provide them the best possible experience even before (or after) they have visited our office.”

 
To prove the effectiveness #googleplus does have, Alltop co-founder Guy Kawasaki wrote a post for American Express’s Open Forum site listing the number of comments a single post of his garnered among Twitter, two Facebook fan pages and Google+. Among the four accounts, according to Kawasaki, “It sure looks like Google+ followers generate far more comments than Twitter or Facebook.” He adds, “It’s Google for crying out loud, so give Google+ a shot and see how it works for you.”

Ultimately, as business and tech writer Chris Brogan wrote on his blog at the beginning of July, “Small businesses would benefit from an integration of Places, Pages and Google Plus. That whole social customer service movement? Pow. Done. Easy.”

This will come once Google+ launches business pages and ECPs will once again be thrown into the deep end of the social media pool. Until then, stay afloat by checking out more info on Google+ from Bonilla-Warford, available on VisionMonday.com.

dpaunescu@jobson.com