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Why Use Google Plus? A Quick Guide and Glossary to Google+

Google Plus remains a mystery for many small business owners and nonprofits. Why? People feel that there are so many social networks to choose from. They also can’t seem to find the benefit in starting a completely new presence on yet another completely new platform, especially when they don’t know ANYONE else using Google Plus.

Here’s a quick guide and glossary that will explain why you should use Google Plus, the benefits of using it, and what you need to know to get started.

Relationship building is key

Creating relationships with industry influencers (who may have big followings on Google Plus) might not seem that important to your business, until you realize that those relationships could extend your reach and help you become visible. Let’s say you run a flower shop in Topeka, Kansas, and you’ve nurtured relationships with national brands and/or influencers who live in another area. Who do you think those people will recommend when one of their thousands of followers need flowers while visiting Kansas? No, not your competition down the street…you! They know you, they trust you, and your name comes to mind first because they have held conversations with you. [Tweet this tip!]

“There are so many options…do I really need to use another network?”

Is SEO (search engine optimization) important to you? Then your answer is yes! Increase your visibility and reach by offering great content on Google Plus that people will like and want to share. [Tweet this tip!] This will help increase your SEO value.

Also, remember, that no one loves Google more than Google. And, let’s be honest, you want Google to love your business and the content you produce too. If that’s not reason enough, I don’t know what it.

Another reason you should consider Google Plus is because it is growing tremendously. According to GlobalWebIndex, 25 percent of worldwide internet users are now active on Google Plus. This means that your customers will eventually be using it too.

Understanding the lingo

Now is the time to get familiar with the “lingo” before your most important influencers, and let’s be honest they’re your customers, join.

Here are some key Google Plus terms you will need to know:

Google plus glossary

NOTE: These terms are similar to other social networks.

Profile – This is the landing page that shows your profile picture, information you’ve provided, and the content you’ve posted to Google Plus.

Page – Similar to a profile, a Google Plus Page is created by a business or a brand.

+1 button – Functioning like a Facebook “Like” button, the +1 button allows users to indicate they appreciated your content.

Share – This button, which looks like an arrow, allows others to share your content on their Google Plus Streams.

Comment – This one’s easy…people can comment on your content! :)

Hashtags – Although they were originally created and supported by Twitter, hashtags are now utilized on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr. A hashtag is a group of words or phrases (with no spaces), preceded by a # sign (i.e. #ONECON or #CCPin). It is used to tie various social media posts together and relate them to a topic. Topics are sometimes connected to an event, TV show, sporting event, or any happening or trend of your choosing.

Tag – When mentioning an individual or business in your Google Plus content, make sure to tag them. When you do, they get a notification that you have mentioned them. This feature operates like it does on Facebook, so before typing the person or businesses name, include the “@” symbol. This will produce a drop-down box that will change based on the letters you type. Find the person you are trying to tag and click on their name.

Google Plus specific terms

Google Plus Streams – This is your view when you log into Google Plus. It shows the stream of content posted from others in your circles.

Circles – These are the categories you create to organize your followers and the people you follow. These categories can be anything you’d like them to be, but the most common examples include “Family,” “Friends,” “Work,” “Local Businesses” etc. When posting content, you can choose to expose your content to the public, your Circles, or Extended Circles.

Extended circles – These are tricky because just like Facebook’s algorithm, we’re not quite sure how Google decides who to show your extended content to. Essentially, by sharing your content with your Extended Circles, your “friends of friends” MAY see your content.

Local – This one is huge for you and your business because 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. This means that your business information needs to be readily available to all search engines. A Local Google Plus Page allows your customers to find your hours, address, phone number, all in one place. This information is displayed within a Google Search, so you want to make sure your information is accurate and up to date.

Hangout – A Hangout is a video chat with up to 10 people at one time.

Hangout on Air (HOA) – This is a Google Hangout that is “broadcasted” (on air), and can be watched both live on your Google Plus Page or after the Hangout. The finished product can be found on both your Google Plus Page as well as your YouTube page, which makes Hangout’s on Air a perfect content marketing platform for customer promotions via social media, email, and website.

Communities – Google Plus Communities are created by brands or individuals to create conversations and share information around one specific topic or service.

Google Plus Bar (or Sand Bar) – The Google Plus Bar is the gray bar that lives at the top of any Google property with your image and a drop down arrow. This function allows you to share content from other Google properties to your Google Plus Page quickly.

Want to learn more?

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Leave a comment »
  1. Hey there, We released a blog today that compliments this quite nicely, it looks less at the features of Google Plus and more how it links in with SEO and benefits businesses.

  2. Very important article for us considering we closed our Facebook account recently. The amount of information stuffed into this one article was great. We have spent the last week networking on Google+ and it already drives more traffic than Facebook ever did.

  3. I’m sorry, but I’m a business owner and google plus is completely useless to drive any kind of real human traffic. The only thing it’s good for is spam generation, and getting views by pyramid schemes. Everyone on there is trying to “promote their business” which they dont have one. They’re not making any money, and all they want is for you to buy from them or support them in their negative monetary sales.

    If anyone is interested in places with REAL people and REAL opportunities, facebook, tumblr, youtube, (heck even livejournal!) and the commonly used social networking sites are far better than google plus, which is basically foursquare. … Never heard of the last one? ….ghost town. Google plus is the new Zune. Dont waste your time with it.

    • Thank you so much for your comment and I’m sorry to hear Google+ isn’t working for you.

      The best way to really measure results of your Google+ effort is to look at your search engine rankings. Though you can definitely build relationships on Google+, right now the most important part of Google+ is it’s ability to index every post you create on Google+, which other social networks (other than Pinterest) do not do. This means that your website, blog posts and any other original content you share will be indexed in Google and, in turn, your search rankings will improve.

  4. Scott •

    At the time of this comment:
    Facebook Shares: 31
    Tweets: 102
    Plus 1’s: 0

    We’re all waiting for it to take off, but I’ll be glad to be ready when it does! Thanks for the article.

  5. Samantha Gamgee •

    In the Tag definition – “This feature operates like it does on Facebook, so before typing the person or businesses name, include the “@” symbol.”
    It’s not the “@” symbol, it’s the “+” symbol. Just something I noticed. The rest of it is nicely explained. :)

  6. […] The Modern Tog (Benefits of Google+) ReviewsNTips (5 steps for Google+) And the people at Constant Contact had a great article that gives us the PERFECT EXAMPLE of why & how Google+ works for […]

  7. […] “Why Use Google Plus? A Quick Guide and Glossary to Google+.” Constant Contact Blogs. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. […]

  8. In google+ how many friends request we can send?

  9. […] long term goal of using Google Plus is to help build a community which will give your social posts and therefore your website more authority in the Google Search […]

  10. Do you have any source suggesting the demography of G+ users vs twitter users? Frankly, I can’t see the G+ position clearly and I think it struggles between Facebook and twitter…

  11. […] three years later, the story is different. Roughly 25% of  internet users are active on Google making it the second largest social network in the world with over 500 million users.More […]

  12. Google Plus is the only social network I would ever be even remotely interested in. I love the interface, and the people there seem to be a bit…. smarter, I guess…. than Facebook. More space and use than Twitter, text AND image friendly unlike Pintrist and Instagram, and honestly, it is less creepy.
    Facebook knows everything about you and constantly puts it into your profile all by itself- you have to keep coming through trying to salvage your privacy. Google Plus only shares what YOU share and the privacy options are much better made. Plus circles are an amazing tool, better than “friends.”

    I hope more people get on there, If I had any friends on it I would use it…. as of now I just use it now and then. I don’t have a personal account on any other social media though.

  13. The fact that G+ owns by Google, that’s reason is enough why we should use G+. But this article shows you more than that which is very nice.


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