Much like Facebook used to be for businesses, Google+ is completely free. All you need to do is set up your profile and get started. You can post for free, promote links for free, promote products for free. Everyone who follows you will see everything you share without you having to dole out any cash.
A free way to extend your market reach? I'll take that!
Perhaps the most annoying part of Facebook is its new way of censoring news feeds. Your customers only see what Facebook decides to let them see, not what you want them to see and certainly only a fraction of what you actually post. (Unless, that is, you pay for it.)
Google+ goes back to the days of information being available to everybody. No censoring, no selective sharing, no feelings of having your activities controlled and skewed by a social media company. If you post something for the public to see, well by golly there it is! It's almost like a breath of fresh air to realize you can post something and people will actually see it.
Grow Your Network Through Communities
Just as social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have set up discussion groups that you can join, Google+ has done this as well (they call them "Communities"). Targeting small businesses? There's a community (or 20) for that. Targeting artsy/crafty folks? There are general and niche communities for that too.
Communities are open to everyone and so far I've seen no restrictions on joining. So go out there, find some virtual communities that are most relevant to your industry and marketing goals, and get to networking. Building relationships is always the best way to grow any business.
A Great Platform for Content Marketing
Facebook used to be a great way to share blog posts and other content marketing initiatives. But now you have to pay for the exposure, and it's only gotten worse over the last six months.
Google+ lets you share content freely with your network - no fees, no restrictions, no funny business. The only restrictions you are subject to are the restrictions set forth by individual group moderators. So if they say no promotion, be a good human being and don't post promotions there. Instead, use the group to connect with people on a more personal level and then share your content within your profile that they follow. Simple as that.
Thinking About Joining?
Is Google+ able to dominate the market in the same way as Facebook and Twitter? No. Will it work for everyone and every type of business? No.
But are there people using it? Yes! And these people are pretty strongly devoted to it, and may not be on your other social networks. So why not give it a shot and see if it works for you?
I've had a great experience using Google+ to grow my network and reach more people. It's a simple interface that is easy to use, ad free, and one of the few remaining open communities where you can still control where and how your information is shared. And besides...if nothing more, you'll just have lost a few hours of your time trying out something new.
Have you had a good experience on Google+? I'd love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments!