By Ankit Tuteja
Recently, Google+ a.k.a. Google Plus has created a buzz in the social media world. We thought of evaluating this new service to assess if the platform, like Facebook, has something interesting to offer to businesses and professionals who are always on the look out to expand their business network and build their brands over the Internet.
Of late, business professionals have started relying heavily on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace et al. Apart from being active in the online environment, executives use these tools for various other purposes—advertising, marketing, promotion, customer service, etc. As these tools provide rich interaction in real-time, their popularity and use amongst businesses has been growing significantly.
Google’s new social media tool, Google Plus also looks quite promising. Though the company has as yet only released a trial version for individual users, business professionals can still explore it as it surely has a couple of attractive features from a business standpoint. Vivek Bhargava, managing director, Communicate 2, agrees and sheds light on a few features that make it an interesting service to explore: “Google Plus helps you classify your business contacts, lets you conduct video conferences with distant clients and also helps you get in touch with high-profile people and read industry updates posted by them.”
Encouraged by Bhargava’s observation, we thought it worthwhile to explore some of the features of Google Plus.
1. Manage your clients, partners and suppliers, easily
Google Plus lets you categorise your online business contacts into various groups like Suppliers, Clients, Business Associates, and so on. According to Annkur P Agarwal, director—E-commerce, Kratee E-commerce and Consulting, “Google Plus allows executives to network with industry veterans without having to send them a friend request, which might look unprofessional. The service simply allows users to add people to their account and start getting updates from them. In this way, it creates more room for communication to happen.” The good point here is that people do not get to know which category or group you have put them into. Moreover, it also allows you to create as many groups as you want.
2. Communicate with up to 10 people, simultaneously
Google Plus has a feature that lets you initiate a video conference call with up to 10 people, simultaneously. Once you start the call, a link is displayed on your main page and a notification is also sent to all the people in your network. In this way, anybody can come and join the conference without the need to send invites to people, one-byone. The authority to allow or disallow people from joining the conference lies with you. “Having a video conference via Google Plus is much easier than trying to add 10 people into a video chat. It is a simple way for executives to have a video chat,” says Bhargava, adding “I can easily arrange weekly meetings with my clients or vendors sitting across the globe.” Though group video conferencing is very commonly used, its integration with a social networking site makes it easier and simpler to use, quips Singh.
3. Save your data
Google Plus lets you take a backup of your data including photos, contacts, profile information, posts, etc, on your computer. In this way, it becomes easier to find something posted a long time back. It can be done using the ‘Data Liberation’ feature found under ‘Account Settings’ of the Google Plus home page. “Data Liberation gives you the convenience of keeping a backup of your data. Google has been actively working on Data Liberation, and I expect them to benchmark it for the industry,” opines Singh.
4. Share any information, picture or video, instantly, with people of your choice
With Google Plus, you can actually decide on and select people with whom you would want to share information, which may include any document, picture or video clip. For instance, as an employer, you may have revised some policies, which you want to share only with your employees, but not with your suppliers and vendors. You can easily select the ‘Employees’ group created on the platform, and share the information with them. The information shared with your employees will not be visible to your vendors, suppliers or anyone else. Moreover, if you want to make any changes after sharing the information, it can be done.