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Why You Can’t Afford To Ignore Google+

August 13, 2011

Reprinted from Wired Advisor

Google+ is An Important Piece of Your Online Presence

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Google+ for financial professionalsYou may have heard some recent buzz about Google+  as it has been rolled out in beta over the last several weeks, I’ve been spending a bit of time there in addition to reading many articles about Google’s version of a social network. Its Google’s way of thinking about how people find and share content.

I do think Google+ is going to potentially redefine the way we discover, share, and consume information online. It’s going to make the process much more intelligent based on our social graph, which is who we are connected to and how we are connected to them.

Now you don’t need to abandon any of your existing social media efforts on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. Networks will come and go over time, but it’s important to claim your stake in the ones that can help you be found by your target markets, connect with your target markets, and enhance your online reputation.  In addition, your community is portable to an extent…you can bring your connections with you or easily cross-promote your social profiles. What makes Google+ matter at this point is that it will help your online reputation and here’s why:

Google+ matters because Google dominates online search. Online search should be important to you because if you don’t have any kind of a web or social media presence, you don’t have credibility. When someone searches your name to learn more about you, you’re going to need to have your website, blog (content hub), and complete social media profiles to create positive gateways to you and your business. You should not leave a Google+ profile off of this list. It’s a freebie for steering your online reputation.

Google has been quietly incorporating “social search” for awhile now, where the results you get vary from the results anyone else may get because those search results are based on who you’re connected to, what those individuals are sharing, and where you’re located from a geographical perspective. That makes search much for relevant than it once was for a financial professional who is focused on building contacts in a local community. You really do have the opportunity through blogging and social media to establish yourself an an authority within your target markets.

Google+ is an extremely intelligent extension of Google search because it makes your search experience more social. Why would you, or your clients for that matter, need to go beyond what a few trusted friends, business connections, or thought leaders are sharing or recommending every time they search on a topic? Google+ makes it easy to get relevant answers and information from the people you are connected to, and the people you follow. In addition, as you continue to build your own trusted network of connections and followers, you’re able to have significant influence through the content you create and the insights that you share with that community.

The recent introduction of the Google “+1″ button allows anyone to give a positive vote for your content and allows for you to vote for anyone else’s content to essentially curate the best resources for your community. Just as the Facebook “Like” button can be found across the web, so goes the Google “+1″ button. The Google “+1″ button is the new currency for measuring the value of content. Now with Google+ and the Google “+1″ button together, Google has an interesting way to display your collection of content through a tab on your Google+ profile. If you focus your votes on high quality content that is relevant and valuable to your target markets, they can see what you’ve found right on your profile.

How Google+ Differs from Twitter and Facebook

Google+ is more expansive than Twitter. You’re not limited to 140 characters, so automatically, your social stream becomes a lot more colorful than scrolling through tweet streams. Like Twitter, Google+ allows you to follow anyone by dropping them into a “Circle“, and they don’t have to follow you back by reciprocating.  Google+ is different from Facebook because it’s just down right more intuitive to control what you share with whom, and what is public or private. Like Facebook, you can share text, links, images, and videos in Google+.

Google+ has 3 primary benefits:

1)  You can connect and share with others on your terms, publicly or privately

2)  You can share rich media (links, images, videos)

3)  You own your content and have full control over your privacy

A few of the killer Google+ features

1)  Circles

A simple way to categorize your connections by putting them into circles that you can custom label. Circles give you complete control over who you share with and who you want to hear from. You can actually filter your social stream based upon the Circle(s) you choose to view. For example, let’s say you create a Circle entitled “My Professional Network”. If you choose to view this Circle only in your stream, Google+ will show you posts that have been shared by the people in this Circle. Additionally, you can choose to only share items with certain Circles that you’ve created.

2)  Hangouts

Very simply, Hangouts are video chats with up to 10 people that cover any topic and can run at any time. I expect this feature to grow in popularity over time, similar to the way we use Skype today.

3)  Sparks

Choose and follow topics of interest leveraging the power of Google search. Track keywords and alerts all in a single, comprehensive stream from your Google+ Profile.

Why you need to build a Google+ Profile Now

If you want to be found by ideal clients and prospects, Google is the number one place to begin building your presence and shaping your reputation. In fact, read more…

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