3 Quick Tips for Using Google+ for Business

4 minute read
Chelsi Nakano avatar

Google made a big show of being peeved at businesses that made Plus profiles after they were specifically asked not to. Unauthorized profiles have been taken down and will continue to be disabled until the update rolls out in Q3 of this year, but don't fret!  If you can't wait to see how Google+ jives with your biz, you can test a few features within your personal account:

1. Circles for Privacy and Security 

Google's approach to social connections is inherently more professional than Facebook, and (arguably) any social network before it, thanks to a bit of sorting strategy. The Circles feature makes it easy to organize one's connections into groups such as Family, Colleagues and Acquaintances, so that a user may decide which clique gets to be privy to which posts. 

Because users can create a Circle for whatever kind of group they wish and connect with whomever they wish, including people outside of their organization, it is much easier to control the primary area of Social Business that remains sketchy: who has access to which information.

“You share each item with only the people who deserve to know. And simultaneously, you spare the masses from seeing news of no interest to them,” explained David Pogue of The New York Times.

Try it out by creating a circle for a specific project team or contract workers and see how it goes. Administering granular levels of access to both internal and external teams has been a main priority for several social business companies, including a most recent move from Socialcast. 

2. Hangouts for Video Conferencing

Google puts Hangouts in a really casual light, but the company's built-in multi-user video chat tool has all the makings of a professional platform. 

The potential is obvious right off the bat: rather than ping people in order to initiate a conversation like you would with a traditional application, you literally 'hang out' in a room by advertising your presence with your your camera stream. If nobody is available to chat, you can let the app run in the background while you work. And, because it's browser based there's no extra launching needed, and the approach allows for much more spontaneous collaboration than most.

Try it out: If you've got a bunch of remote workers in your organization, make them hang out as a team for a designated period of time during a work day. Being able to speak to them as suddenly as you would if they were in your office is obviously beneficial. Or, let's say you've got a brand to manage. Perhaps you should try using Hangouts to strike up a conversation with your customers? Such a meeting could provide some valuable general feedback, or be a perfect place to soft-launch a new product. 

Learning Opportunities

"Hangout is a Skype killer," wrote ZDNet's Dennis Howlett, point blank. "It could also kill WebEx and with a bit of extra tweaking I can see it knocking over Adobe Connect. Those are enterprisey tools that Google has effectively rolled up."

3. Integration for Everything Else 

If your organization is already using Google's bevy of applications -- Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc. -- this one isn't necessarily a tip as much as it is a highlight of how exciting the the coming integration between these tools and Google+ is.

In fact, the demand for Plus to integrate with Google Apps "is the single biggest bit of feedback we got," said Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product for Google Apps, on This Week in Google. Though a timeline hasn't been given, evidence that this move will happen in the near future has arrived in small doses.

This integration is key for Google+ becoming a home base for consumers as well-- whether or not that's the Internet giant's aim. Check out this neat video from Epipheo Studios, which is pretty to the point:

"Google Plus has a lot of slick features, but the biggest reason to open a Google Plus account is that if you use a lot of Google products you will inevitably get one some day," said the Epipheo team.