1. What is Google+ and Why Does It Matter
Google+ is a social network powered by the search engine giant Google. Many see this platform as a challenge to Facebook's domination of the social media space. With more than 40 million users and a growing influence on search, Google+ has definitely emerged as a key player in the online marketing ecosystem.
Google's equivalent to Facebook's "Like" button, the "+1", is about so much more than just social networking. It's about enhancing your visibility on the biggest search engine in the world.
The business page concept will be very familiar to those who use Facebook Pages. Even the way you switch between personal and business profiles with a drop down menu is straight from Facebook:
Google+ allows businesses to create pages and develop relationships with prospects and customers on multiple levels. Individuals can add a brand to a specific Google+ Circle, share a Google+ page with their network, and interact with the content posted by that company.
For instance, users can +1 (or in other words, endorse) the updates a company publishes, leave comments, upload photos, and tag the brand in them. An interesting aspect of this platform is that its Hangouts feature enables companies to engage with fans, prospects, and customers through video conference calls.
And how about this.
When one of my contacts +1's one of your site's pages, I see their endorsement in my search results when I search for products or services like yours. That provides a huge boost in terms of both credibility AND visibility — +1'd pages leap right out of the search results at you with a trusted face attached.
Video chat is definitely the element that distinguishes Google+ from other existing social networks.
"We want to help you make the same kinds of lasting connections with your customers online the way you can in real life," wrote Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages. Video communication is one way to make this happen.