For starters, Google+ is for people, not for businesses, but don’t let that stop you from thinking ahead. In fact, what makes it great on a personal level will make it great for small businesses when that becomes an option. So, here are six reasons I personally love Google+ — I suspect they are the same reasons why you’ll find it helpful for your business. (For Google+ basics, check out our article “What Local Businesses Should Know Now About Google Plus.”)
- Signing up is a breeze. I kept putting it off because I expected a long, overly complicated process. But you can fill out as much or as little of your profile to start. It’s very intuitive.
- If you use a gmail account for your email, Google+ already knows who you correspond with via email. Creepy perhaps, but also helpful. Google+ suggests everyone you’ve ever written to as a potential Google Plus buddy, and you can then drag them into circles. In fact, I had forgotten I once corresponded with a prominent blogger many years ago, and now we’re both following each other on Google+.
- The circle construction is phenomenal. I have a longstanding policy that I’m not Facebook friends with co-workers or family. It’s not because I’m ashamed of anything I’ve posted on Facebook. It’s simply because I prefer a little separation in my worlds, and I see Facebook as a friend space. On Google Plus I have circles with their own streams dedicated to friends, family, coworkers and media professionals, so you can talk with all those groups … separately. I can post items and photos and indicate which circles will see them. For now, you could set up a circle devoted to professionals in your industry and/or customers and post whatever is relevant to just that circle – they won’t see any personal information you don’t want them to.
- You can edit posts. Let’s say you realized you made a typo as soon as you posted an update on Google+. You can edit it and select the option that won’t resend it into people’s streams.
- You can just drag photos from your computer to Google Plus. It’s so easy!
- You can disable Google+ emails detailing activities of your Google+ cohorts that clutter up your inbox . Instead, if you have gmail, there’s a discreet notification box in the righthand corner when you log in to gmail that tells you how many activities have occurred on Google+ since you last checked. In my case, I saw the today the number five because some friends added me to circles and one person +1ed (or “liked” in Facebook lingo) one of my posts. I was able to comment back on the post without leaving my gmail screen.
Granted, Google+ isn’t as bustling as Facebook and it’s probably not a space to pour a lot of time into at this point. But it wouldn’t hurt to stake your claim on a Google+ page, play around with it and get familiar. Then, when the onslaught comes, you’ll be ready.