It all begins with your Google profile. You cannot be known on Google as Easter Bunny, Google’s terms of Service require that you use your real name. Not to worry, the release of the rest of your personal information is still within your control. Google lets you decide which audiences can see each section of information (i.e., address, phone number, e-mail, and links to your websites). Once you have a Google Profile, anything that you have authored will be accompanied by your Google Profile picture in everyone’s Google Search results.
Do you have friends from a book club, and colleagues (who you like but don’t want to know about your love of tequila)? Not to worry, with Google+, any time you add a contact, you specify which circle he belongs too. You can add him to several circles if that’s what fits. Every time you share something, you can specify which circle, or even which individuals, will be able to view it. But be aware that putting someone in your circle means you are following them. For them to follow you, they have to add you to their circles. You can even block certain individuals from participating in your discussions or seeing any non-public shares.
Google+ also makes it easier to make new friends, to find people who have similar interests. If you go to Find People on Plus, you can search by any keyword. Once you get your search results, you can further narrow down your choices by profile type (person or brand), relationship status, looking for…, gender, age range, verified Google+ user, education, employer, occupation, country, state, and city. This tool can help you find people who you’ve lost touch with, potential employers, or new book group buddies. Google+ does not require that you have an existing relationship with a contact. It’s all up to you.
One of the features that makes Google+ unique is Hangouts. This uses the Google Talk to create a virtual meeting. Several people can participate with a video chat simultaneously. As each person begins speaking, their image becomes dominant.
If you are out and about, you can use the Google+ smart phone application to have a group chat. Let’s say you want to meet a few friends for dinner but you haven’t decided where to go. You can send a text message to everyone and as they respond, all of the original recipients will see the entire discussion. This feature is called Huddles.
How about 1,000 photo images per album? Is that enough for you? We all love to share photos and Google+ makes it even easier. You can specify which groups can access your photos and you can specify whether or not those viewers can share them. You are in control.
Customizing Your Stream
Your Google+ Stream is your bulletin board of what’s going on. You will see status updates from your circle dwellers and share your own. You can add tags by typing @ or + at the beginning of the person’s name. For italics, put an underscore before and after the word. To bold your text, add an asterisk before and after. And, for those moments that you want bold and italic, just use underscore asterisk before and then asterisk underscore afterwards.
Pulling it all Together
Because we have emphasized how your relationships directly impact your business, the value of Google+ should be evident. Instead of reaching only one segment of your target market through a specific channel, you can reach them all through Google+. It allows you to simplify and organize your relationship-building activities in one location. Want to learn more? Dig deeper into the ways Google+ can help you and your business.