Google+ Turns 2

Google+ is often seen as the underdog in social media, partly because of its rough beginnings. However, after celebrating its second birthday, it seems it’s finally finding its way in the social media world as it becomes the second biggest social network next to rival Facebook with 500million users. We take a look at the growth of the social media platform and give an insight into what tools are available for your business.

Google+ is often seen as the underdog in social media, partly because of its rough beginnings. However, after celebrating its second birthday, it seems it's finally finding its way in the social media world as it becomes the second biggest social network next to rival Facebook with 500million users. We take a look at the growth of the social media platform and give an insight into what tools are available for your business.

When Google+ launched in 2011, it was the search engine's third attempt at social media with Google Wave and Google Buzz as its failed predecessors and it seemed in its first year that this wasn't going to be the third time lucky. In the initial stages, it seemed that the number of social users on the network were relatively low with Facebook boasting 81% more active users. Many people believed that its initial downturn was due to the channel being too similar to Facebook and expressed that social media users didn't want the hassle of managing two channels.

However, as social media has developed, more online users are familiar with using more than one channel - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. - and some are saying if you're not on Google+, you might end up missing out on exciting social media developments.

We've summarised the best Google+ tools available and what they will do to enhance your social presence

Get recommendations

One of the major benefits of having a Google+ account means your brand can be endorsed by your followers through social annotations which are shown on AdWords enhanced campaigns featured on search. These recommendations are said to increase click through-rates by up to 10% .

Google Hangouts

This feature allows you to connect with your contacts with free video calls and chat. Conversations can be saved and documented on YouTube - a great way to share insights from group meetings or discussions.

This is also a great opportunity to hold live hangouts which would enable you to host a conference without the added cost of an exhibition space and would be free for your consumers to join.

Social reports

It's not difficult to get an insight into many of your social channels to get an idea of how successful your channels are but Google+ offers a deeper look into your profile with added information from Google Analytics and AdWords.

Use these reports to learn what content is receiving most click-through or engagement and establish where your content travels after leaving your site - who is sharing it and where.

Will you be getting on board with Google+ finally? Or have you been on board since the beginning? Share your thoughts on the social media underdog in our comments section.