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What Do People Do on Google+?

People do a handful of baseline activities on Google+, as explained from a business-minded perspective.

  • Fill out your profile: A blend of Google’s previous Profile functionality, now married to Google+. You can add location data, contact data, links to whatever URLs matter to you, photos, videos, and much more. Not filling out a profile on Google+ as a business professional is like handing out blank rectangles of cardboard and calling them business cards.
  • Organize circles: How Google+ enables you to organize who you follow, who you share with, and who can see certain posts. If I add you to a circle, I’m giving you permission to see something that I post. If you haven’t chosen to follow me back, you won’t see my posts, even though I’ve added you. Circles, in the business sense, enable you to message people internally and externally in different ways, and it’s a powerful concept, after you get it set up.
  • Post: People share information about themselves (photos, video, text, links, and location data) and about what interests them. You can post pictures of new products or a video tour of your new restaurant, for instance.
  • Share: Other people post interesting things. If it relates to your constituents, you can share their posts with people in your circles of connections. If you’re a real estate agent in Austin, Texas, you might share upcoming events that locals post. You might share school news or anything else that ups the “community” feel for the people you court for business.
  • Comment/Plus: Located below posts and appear in the order they were submitted. You can type out a reply, share a link, or just press the +1 button to indicate that you agree with the sentiment of a post. (Subsequently, you can also +1 other people’s comments, showing that you agree with them.) Commenting might be as simple as answering a customer complaint and helping that person find the easiest way to get a swift resolution. You might also comment on your own posts, answering questions from people who’ve taken the time to comment.
  • Hangouts: A powerful video chat feature. It enables up to 10 users simultaneously to talk back and forth on video. Michael Dell has already started looking into ways to use Hangouts as a way for Dell to interact with customers. Others use it for simple collaboration among team members.
  • Chat: Google+ takes Google Talk’s chat and integrates it into the sidebar. You can use it as an instant messenger client, and as an open chat room with your circles. (This is how Google+ enables you to organize the people you choose to share information with.) If you’ve used any kind of instant messenger or chat client, you know how this works.

These are the main functions people interact with on Google+. If it sounds a lot like what you can do on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you’re not entirely wrong. From a technical standpoint, the experience feels cleaner in Google+, in that they work better, and it is structured for a more inclusive feel (if you’re not already following me and I post something to the general public, you’re much more likely to find it than on other social networks), and these add up to some of what makes me so bullish on Google+.

So, with this chapter as your backdrop, you can get into Google+ to see how it can help power your business. Along the way, we’ll talk about some of the how-to aspects, but more often, we’ll discuss the why-to parts and what you can do to take advantage of this powerful social platform. You’ll do some step-by-step things from time to time, but that will be the exception and not the rule. You can pick up that information simply with just a few Google searches. I’d rather share the good stuff, if that works for you.

Now let’s dig in.

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