Ben Heyman

Storyteller. Doer. Maker. Outside-the-box Thinker.

Why I’m Not Giving Up on Google+

google plus, google, social network, social, social media, social networking, ben heyman

Google is great.  Google has changed our lives so much and I know I cannot go a day without using a Google product.  But Google never got social quite right.  Does anyone else remember Google Wave and Google Buzz?  Don’t feel too bad; they had no value.

But Google took a stab at social again with Google+.  I have to admit I signed up immediately and did not touch the platform.  Some have written it off completely.  Others, like Chris Brogan, are huge advocates for the platform.  So… I am trying to remain active.

[ideabox]”I’d say if the #1 search engine launches a tool that facilitates social interactions, pay attention.” – Chris Brogan[/ideabox]

The thing is Google+ isn’t necessarily about the social features.  Instead, since it is deeply integrated in all of the free Google tools you use everyday, it is about making your search and web experience more customized for you.  Ever notice that when you do a Google search it is different than someone else’s?  Mhm.

So what are the best features?

  1. Circles:  The most important thing is the concept or organizing your friends.  You probably don’t necessarily want to share the same things with your work friends and your personal friends.  On Facebook that is pretty hard to do.  On Google+ it’s easy and intuitive. 
  2. Privacy: Google+ does not hide privacy settings like other platforms do.  Especially with the concept of Circles, you know who is going to be able to see the status updates that you’re sharing.
  3. Free of Advertising: Are you annoyed at the “targeted” ads Facebook has?  I know I am.  They rarely even relate to me. (Thank goodness for AdBlocker).  Google+ does not have ads right now but as Google looks to make money from the platform, do not be surprised if we see them in some fashion down the line.
  4. Hangouts: Google+ offers the ability to “hangout” (aka vide chat) with ten people. Free video conferencing?  Have a family chat, host a business meeting, meet new folks. The power is endless.  And… FREE!
  5. Connected with Google Brand: Google+ is directly integrated with all of the other Google services (Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Calendar).  The power of search unlocks so much potential for the platform.  Want Google to pick up on what you are sharing on Google+?  You do not have to do anything extra for this to happen.  Amazing.
  6. Communities: Whether they are your family, friends or complete strangers, you can join communities and share and digest tons of information.  They are very niche communities which makes the interactions great.  Want to share your blog posts? Want to find other peoples’ amazing content?  Communities makes this happen.  So fast. So easy.
[ideabox]There is power in Google+ and it should not be ignored.  Content and connections are at our fingertips. Take time to unleash the potential.[/ideabox]

I personally have shared my blog posts in many different Communities and have had a great response and have driven a lot of traffic to my blog.  That is how I am using Google+ the most right now.  But I know it has a much greater potential than just me shamelessly promoting myself. There are so many niche groups and communities and great content being shared.  What a powerful tool right at our fingertips.  Content discovery.  Don’t write it off yet, folks.  Take time to learn it and explore it.

[yt video=”hC_M6PzXS9g” width=”560″ height=”340″ /]

Great overview of Google+ from Epipheo Studios

Follow Me on Google+ (Had to shamelessly plus my Google+ account.)


11 Comments

  1. Great post! Definitely starting to see the value of G+ for brands – especially for ones who provide a service and may need to use the Hangouts/Google On Air function for customer service tactics. I feel like G+ may be making a comeback…

    • @GabieKur Thanks for your comments, Gabie! I think there is great value in Google+.  While, as I said, I use it mostly to shameless plug my new blog posts (and it drives traffic like crazy, by the way) I definitely see more potential than just that.  Let’s all do a hangout sometime!

  2. It’s not “fair” but Google+ is also a necessary part of SEO strategy – undoubtedly a presence (and +1s) on Google+ will affect Google ranking abilities. 
     
    Local is also a big thing with Google/Google+. 
     
    I wonder if we eve need to think of Google+ as a social platform…there are social aspects, but I think that in general Google products can drive work environments and I see Google+ as a way to supplement Google Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Groups, etc. One thing I actually would like to see that would contribute to Google+ as a social platform is integration with Google Groups. Maybe this exists, but since I am not actively sharing on Google+ I don’t know about it. I say this because I am on countless listserves powered by Google Groups that have been great in forming online communities. It would be cool to somehow integrate Groups and Circles to provide a stream of content through a social networking platform rather than through email. It would be nice to put faces to some of the names I see so often!

    • heyheyman28

      February 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Why is that not fair? Google has done something extremely well. We rely on the free tools it provides us. So… in turn we dedicate time to the platform. Seems like a small trade off to me.

      Google+ is social. Yes, it integrates well with the Google brand really well. But… it also allows you to join unique, niche communities and connect with people. I think Communities is replacing Google Groups. The idea of organizing your friends in circles is also unique. I don’t share that much content on Facebook because if I do past employers, future employers and friends will all see the same content. Not exactly like I want.

  3. Candace Graves

    March 1, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Hi Ben, great post! I agree with Alison – I see Google+ as mostly an SEO tool, mostly because Google owns it. Personally, I still have a lot to learn about the platform.

    • @Candace Graves Thanks for your comments, Candace!  One of the things I really love about Google+ is communities.  So many niche, active communities exist which foster really great conversations and dialogs.  I am constantly exploring communities to connect with new people.  I think Hangouts is a really great feature as well.  To be able to have 10 people video chat FOR FREE anywhere around the world… amazing.  Yes, primarily Google+ is a great SEO tool.  But it offers so much more than that.  It isn’t necessarily all about the social features.  It’s about customizing your search/internet experience and making it better for YOU.

  4. Hi Ben – Great post here. Google+ should not be overlooked, I agree. We see a lot of activity from the Communities feature – a highly responsive and engaging audience exists within these niche corners of G+, and they’re also more likely to share and +1 branded content. For us, this helps distribute our content and amplify our message to our audience who might not be as active on Twitter or LinkedIn. Not to mention all signs point toward Authorship as a ranking signal down the line. It’s interesting to see how social and SEO will continue to influence the other – Check out Brafton’s latest SES NY coverage for more information on Social SEO – I think it’s right up your alley!

    Nice meeting you today, and all of the best,
    Ted

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