Google Plus may be “the last frontier”. Something you have ignored or tried to, but is also the elephant in the room, making you feel a little bit guilty that you are missing out, or resentful that it’s another thing to keep up with.

There is no “one” social network that will solve all your business needs – your online profile is made up of a multitude of different facets, you what you participate in becomes a part of it. You can choose to do the basics, or go deeper. Like all social media, you get out what you put in. But consider these differentiators:

8 reasons to sway the G+ way

Search: By keeping Google up to date, you are feeding Google’s machine with what you want people to see. Google is undeniably a huge part of the Internet. There are people who see Google and the internet as one and the same! Crazy but true!

Branded Search: When people search for your name and business name – they can see in the results a profile you can completely control and can make your own. You show up on the right side of the page – Google’ search results have been designed to give you best prominence.

Compare these two very large law firms and how they come up when you search for their business names.

Mishcon de Reya has a great G+ profile (good!). Allan & Overy has none (bad!). Big law firms should ALL be on top of this, no excuses.

G+ Search results - Mishcon de Reya

G+ Search results - Allan & Overy

Authority: By connecting your G+ account with the places you blog using Google Authorship, you will be showing up in search more often than ever – associated with the work you have already done in your blog content. This will also help in your search results for blogs.

Professionalism: By putting the effort and creating good profile, you will definitely stand out. It’s impressive and gives a good first impression.

The TLD G+ banner (at the time of writing)

Communities and Circles: People complain about the lack of engagement on G+, that their audience isn’t on it, and that they find it hard to differentiate between G+ and what you can have on Facebook and LinkedIn. But the interface is there, and there are people who are active and sharing on their G+ pages – you just need to participate. You can post content to share in your circles and in communities. Circles are people you have decided to group to your own rules, and communities are a specific subsection of people who have a specific common interest who have chosen to join a community. Like with Groups on LinkedIn, these are not there to just be self promotional (though many people don’t realise this) but rather to discuss topics.  And that’s what real engagement is all about – interactive conversation, not broadcasting your own ads.

Inescapable Infiltration: When people read an email from you in Gmail, your profile shows up while they are reading an email from you, along with your most recent post. When you comment on YouTube account, it’s now connected to your Google Plus account. I am not saying this to scare you – remember we are not alone in this world, and we can’t really get much done without some help from others. So, integrating our communication with the ability to learn a bit more about who we are talking to isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing. And YOU can control what people know about you – just have to use the tools to make the best impression.

Hangouts and Hangouts on Air: The technology is there to broadcast from your webcam to an audience who can view you. It does take practice and preparation, a few dry runs with people in your office and remotely but once you get the hang of it, it gives you the chance to share your knowledge and have this as a video which you can use over and over. This is something available to us all, for free, regardless of our company size and budget. Where some may complain about how it takes time and it’s complicate – it’s there for us to free if we put a day into learning it, and then – the possibilities are amazing!

Below is a hangout I did with Women Unlimited’s Julie Hall about websites mistakes small businesses make. It’s still something I can share and promote as a piece of content – long after we created this.

It’s the Future: Do you think Google is going to sit complacently by, watching the world go by, sipping Mai Tais with little umbrellas? Enjoying the fruits of their labour? No, they have a big Google machine to feed, past failures they have learned from and really smart people on the case making sure they take over the world.

Or at least that’s my prediction.

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