As we said in Part 1 a while ago, businesses were not at that time permitted on Google + but that was no reason not to start thinking about how you will use it once the business applications open up.
19th September NEWSFLASH – Google+ is now wide open to everyone!!
Google+ is likely to advance quickly once the basics are resolved and Google announced today that they had passed 100 major changes to G+ which had been requested or were on the G+ team wishlist. Having a user base of at least 10 million within only a few weeks, even as a closed beta, the feedback came thick and fast for the development team. In addition, even a quick look at the different applications and services that Google can add on and integrate within G+ puts it considerably ahead of the vast majority of the competition, and that work has been ongoing throughout the summer.
Just a quick look at this page of Google Products, let alone the many Google Labs gives you an idea of how broad the Google church now is and where G+ might be going.
So, the integration of multiple different products inside Google +, or easily accessible from within G+, does indicate that for some G+ could be the portal from which all things happen. However, for others, change is to be avoided at all costs, and if there is a tool which works for you then it is unlikely that you will change it in a hurry.
What this means for businesses is that Google+ may well become yet another place in which you need to seek out your target audience, but not everyone will be using it, so you will still need to target your audience using the applications which they prefer. This could be Facebook, Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn etc.
It is also possible though that just as Tweetdeck has become the most popular Twitter app, third party developers will help to integrate existing tools with G+. Facebook has made this very difficult except with Connect, because the whole arena is closed off and everyone wanting to develop for Facebook must do so inside Facebook. Google is unlikely to make the same mistake, and the API for G+ is now available which means that many of the integration tools which were available previously will likely be superseded by apps developed within the API.
Will G+ take off as a replacement for Facebook for businesses? Right now, as Facebook also announce many changes, the likelihood is that as a business you will need to market to more than just one social network. But G+ now offers functionality for your business, rather than just as a marketing tool, that you would do well to look at. Shortly, we will be blogging about Hangouts and the changes announced this week that could save a fortune in producing content, collaboration, and exciting ways to engage with your customers.