When we go to a party, we love to have someone show us around and introduce us to guests. So when the party is a social media platform, a newcomer would certainly dream of a host to make a platform feel more like home.
The perfect gracious host may be Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan). At least that’s the premise of his terrific book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything. This book is the first one to provide a primer for Google’s new platform. It’s a needed tonic. Reportedly driven by Android sales according to Business Insider, Google+ now has 62 million users.
Chris Brogan is no stranger to social media advocates. Brogan co-authored the New York Times bestseller Trust Agents and wrote Social Media 101, which was reviewed here on Small Business Trends. He has a Top 5 Advertising Age Power150 blog, Chris Brogan, and is a featured Entrepreneur magazine columnist. I learned about this book while checking out publisher Que’s book list and requested a review copy.
Agreement of material and writer enhances instruction to grow Google+
The book’s structure is an interesting mix of product timing and author experience that works as the “baby-bear’s porridge” of information many small businesses seek – not too large, not necessarily shallow. Google+ is less than a year old, but Brogan’s writing style can make social media newcomers feel the access to the material.
Brogan’s established perspective contributes value to Google+ for Business, avoiding a huge problem I have seen in a few Facebook guides. Many books, regardless of being phone-book thick or car-owner’s-manual thin, are so bloated with Facebook features descriptions that tactical or strategic recommendations are flat-out overlooked. Add Facebook changes into the mix, and it can become a second job to infuse new material into your business plans.
However, Brogan’s choice to cover a nascent Google+ with his insights makes one awesome, just-right porridge. The usages for Google+ is explained with enough flexibility to fit within your organizational structure.
The first three chapters documents why Google+ is essential, while Chapter Four lays out first steps. This is where you’d want to start if you generally understand Google+ already.
The three chapters dedicated to Google+ features are:
- Chapter 5 – circles, the grouping convention in Google+
- Chapter 6 – streaming posts
- Chapter 12 – business Pages
Most of the other chapters provide corporate examples and solid organizational tips. Chapter 7 may be the most broadly applicable, as it focuses on content. But Brogan wisely differs from the “content is king” mantra by covering ideas by business type. He is spot on when he suggest to online store owners to “post profiles and interviews with the owners” as well as to tell writers, photographers, and artists to “start a Hangout.”
Insights made for Hangouts and Circles
Brogan ensures that his revealed experience and tips are tailored to the Google+ environment so that you appreciate the reasons for the recommendation. Take for example how he notes a key difference with Twitter against managing a Google+ circle.
“On Google+, different than Twitter, I decided not to follow everyone back who adds me. The reason is that the more people I add, the harder it is to manage the stream of information I choose to consume. You’ll come to your own opinions, and you’ll likely change them a few times.”
This is pretty basic but works well if the reader is starting to differentiate social media platforms. Brogan goes on to note some cool circle label ideas for a beginner – Local, Thinkers, Competitors, Vendors, Personal Passion, and so forth. And while content suggestions may sound straightforward, they do play into the benefits of the Hangout and Circles features. Brogan get an A for the homework he has done for Google+ for Business.
Brogan has written in past posts how businesses should “Make Your Buyer The Hero”, but in Google+, the suggestion is expressed immediately to the point.
“If you write about your products and how great you are, only you can benefit from that. If you create interesting posts with concepts and ideas for your community to take so that they can improve their own experience in life, you have something.”
The suggestions sound like they are only geared for newbies, but Google+ for Business can compliment deeper works such as Social Media Metrics and Digital Impact, as well as community building topics covered in Empowered and The Social Organization. Its tone can draw small business owners and corporate managers that still remain on the social media sidelines.
Brogan does share some steps for upcoming Google+ changes – most are from Brogan’s view, but he wisely limits suggestions just enough to not render the book dated for the future. Just like the Facebook guides, you may want to follow online sources for further updates (after this book’s publication, Google added a second admin capability to match up to that in Facebook Pages). But rest assured, the material will not grow stale as your Google+ abilities grows.
Your Google+ is a “Minus” if You Skip This Book
Google+ for Business is the right manual at the right time. It captures enough of the basics, but also offers great insights so you can make effective use of the new platform. In Digital Impact, authors Vipin Mayar and Geoff Ramsey reveal that social media users budget new platforms into their time online instead of replacing one with another. Well, if you plan to squeeze more Google+ into your social time, Chris Brogan is an excellent host that you would want to make you feel at home.
Or in this case, in Circle.