Did we really need another social network that, at least on the surface, appears to be Facebook’s less attractive little brother? Actually, the answer is a resounding yes. Google+ is not trying to be Facebook. It wants to be its own entity and has charms that are all its own.
While Facebook gives users the ability to decide who sees what posts, people rarely use this option. Mostly, people just like to relate to each other, discuss their day, share interesting stories and/or photos and let people into their lives. Whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, that seems to be the way people use this social medium. Companies get in on the action, posting their information, setting up business pages. That is works great for a lot of people.
But Google+ takes a little different stand on things. The circles allow users to promote one thing to one group of people and another thing to another group. People get involved with their interests on Google+. Many times they find new people, businesses and organizations to follow that they do not interact with on Facebook. When using this social media platform you categorize each friend. You can follow them, classify them as a friend, family, acquaintance, sports or fun & interesting. You can address everyone or just one segment of the people in your circles.
Unique to Google+ are the hangouts. A hangout is where you can webchat live with multiple people. Not only that, but you can save the entire conversation to be replayed on You Tube. Today there was a recorded hangout with Conan O’Brian, a host and five fans. They were able to talk with Conan and ask questions live and watch/listen to his answers. People had posted questions earlier on You Tube and the five fans were picked from among those people.
There was a similar Q&A with President Obama. Everyday citizens, including some who did not vote for him, had posted questions on You Tube in advance as well and were picked for a live interview with the president. That’s awesome! While a limited number of people can be directly involved, millions can watch it live or the recorded version later.
The possibilities for your business taking advantage of the hangouts are limitless. A nonprofit could arrange to have public meeting online. Musicians could have fans hang out with them. Small businesses could ask their customers what they can do to make their experience better. An animal behaviorist could promote his business by answering questions from people with problem pets. A jewelry store could teach a people how to tell the quality of a diamond and they could give feedback. A car dealership salesman could talk about the great new features of the 2013 model of a car. You can promote a hangout in your newsletter, ezine or blog.
The best part is that the hangouts are interactive. There is give and take, questions and answers. People become engaged in your business. They learn to know and trust you. You are helping them for free, so the idea is that when they are ready to spend money, they’ll go to the place where they got the free help.