When Google+ took the social media audience by storm back in Spring/Summer 2011, I was skeptical. I thought to myself, “Awesome, another platform that I may need to use.” In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how we were going to use it. I had attended the Vocus conference back in 2012 where Tim Reis, director of mobile and social advertising at Google discussed the next five years of Digital. He discussed Google+ and it was pretty cool, but I was still skeptical. Like most social media platforms, you need content to feed the machine.
What I didn’t realize then is there are some hidden treasures within Google + that communications and PR folks should use. The first hidden gem is Google Communities. If you are thinking, “ is this like LinkedIn groups?” the answer is no, it is better. It is better for a few reasons, but one of my favorites is how interactive it is. I recently posted an article in one of PR communities regarding grammar. Who doesn’t love grammar? It garnered 18 comments. You read that correct 18. All from a blog article that I saw and posted to this community. That engagement is GOLD.
Second hidden gem is G+ Hangouts. I recently did an interview with another blogger using G+ hangouts and it was awesome. Similar to Skype, you can see the other person and vis versa. But, what is the hidden gem is you can record the hangout and rebroadcast. Huzzah, content for all! Great video by Google on recording and other rad features. And bonus, that you can easily pop that video into YouTube has featured in Fast Company last month.
Now as I alluded in the headline, I am kinda sorry I thought G+ was a waste. Kinda because in 2011 the only folks who were online were developers and other software mavens. I didn’t see the value in it until now because my folks (Communications and PR) were not getting involved. So it’s a lesson for me and perhaps other that the new kid on the block needed some time to grew up. Also, back in 2011 Google+ wasn’t relevant to me just yet. It wasn’t until other folks were using it did I consider using it myself. I am glad that I created my profile back in 2011 because I am using it so much more now. I am using it to feature my blog and other articles through the feature of authorship. I use it to interact with other folks and post articles to communities that others find helpful. I believe Google Plus has just hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of creating engagement. I am eager to see this platform grow because it is offering more interactive and truly social tools.