First of all take a deep breath. Now. Noone has found the business value of Google+ for SME’s yet, not even your competitors. We are currently on a discovery period, think of it like the first date. We’re checking each other out and trying to find out if we’re compatible. In business terms, we are currently learning this new network so we can invent the business value of it. If you come to this post waiting to find out what Google+ is, there are couple of good links in conclusion*. Yet this post is to give you 3 suggestions to get you up to speed on Google+
“Hands on” Google+, make up your own mind about Google+
There is nothing like being hands on. At the end of the day, Social Networks are personal. Indeed they are. When I train businesses, I find out that everyone has his favourite social network based on personal taste. You can’t decide if you like a network based on what others are saying. You have to dip your toes in and find what you like or don’t like.
Join Google+ (you have to have/create a Google account) and play with it
Follow influencers and thought leaders and see how they use Google+
They are out there; they already have huge followers in other social networks. They are the first ones to fully immerse themselves in Google+. Following them would help you to tap into their and their followers’ collective wisdom. Their feeds are where the most interesting discussions about Google + take place. Just by following them, you would tap into this collective wisdom first hand. These feeds can act as a filter that helps to shape your views on Google+
Here is a great list of influencers to follow
Read the industry publications and find out how the general public is using Google+
Google+ is heavily used by early adopters and mostly geeks so far. As with most things Google, there is extensive media coverage. Media is a great way to become familiar with a topic. It introduces different perspectives and examples on how other people are using Google+. Media is great at story telling and some of the stories on Google+ may inspire you to use it or help you to completely remove it from your life. Both are better results than being totally indifferent to it.
It is early days to make a final assessment on the impact of Google+ and the business value for SME’s. Yet following some of these suggestions will help you to stay up to date with Google+. You may even be the first to discover new tricks and outgun your competitors.
*For how-to tutorials on getting started, here are some great presentations on getting started with Google+