With Google Plus lagging behind Facebook, Twitter, and even new contender Pinterest, many are wondering how and why Google+ is better than Facebook? Some even said it is a matter of time Google+ will fizz off just like Buzz and Orkut. Here are 8+ reasons why you should start using G+, and why you should not jump off the Google+ ship and paddle back to Facebook shores. With the correct navigation, the world is yours.
[Update: Orkut had been closed down by Google since 30 Sep 2014]
1. Text Formating & Content Control
Don’t like your comment, had a typo, regreted what you posted in a moment of folly, or simply want to make it better? You can re-edit it on Google+, something that cannot be done on Facebook. Also, you are able to format the text to give emphasis. You can bold, italic, strikethough texts easily. Here are the commands to:
- Bold text: start and end the text with asterisk. E.g. *a post on Google+ vs Facebook* . Coincidentally, this actually works the same way for OpenOffice Writer too.
- Italic text: to make it italics, start and end the text/sentence with underscores. e.g. _test_ . On OpenOffice Writer it’s underline (off topic).
- Strikethrough text: similar to the above two. Use the minus sign ‘-‘ sign at the front and end of the text/sentence to achieve this
- Bold & Italics: start with *_ and end with _* for the result you want.
With Google+, you can use #Hashtags to categorize or label your posts/content. It also auto suggests relevant tags for you to complete. Using the hashtags gives you an opportunity for G+ users to search and find your posts via tags. For those who are sharing or syncing Google updates to Twitter, you will agree with me on the value of this feature. To share your updates to more social media networks, check out this post.
Other than hashtags, another handy tip you can use to get someone’s attention: put a “+” and type out his/her name, and Google+ will auto suggests as you type. The person you mention will receive a notification.
3. Better User Experience
Being a major search engine with experience on riding spam and ranking content accurately, Google is able to filter and get rid of spam much more easily compared to other social media communities. I rarely see any spam on my stream. Versus Facebook, there is no irritating apps notification appearing in the stream, and no distracting advertisements too (yet).
Even photos attached on your Gmail, can be shared easily now.
Using G+ provides an intergrated social media experience – you have quick access to Youtube, Calendar, Gmail, and the recently launched Google Drive.
For those who have not heard about Google Drive (soft launch – you can apply and Google notifies you via email when ready), you will be pleased to know that it syncs your computer files, and you can upload photos that are in your Drive. As a side note, for those with the Google Plus iPhone app, you can upload those photos that can synced to your G+ account. Posting updates on photos and videos is a piece of cake – you just need to drag and drop.
4. Google Ripples
When a post is made public, you can track the ripples and check out the statistics which reveal the average chain length, longest chain (how many centre of influences), the number of Shares/hour, and languages of the share. More importantly it gives you insight on who are the influencers – people with many public reshares. This information can’t be obtained even with Google Analytics, or any 3rd party application. Arrows indicate the direction of re-sharing. Do note that only public posts show up. Circles within circles represent a resharing sequence, so the larger the circles the more reshares there are. Google Ripples also highlight the importance of using Google+ as one of your social media platforms, this is because when it gets “hot”, you can an expontential increase in the number of views, more reshares, and engagement with Google+ users.
5. What’s Hot
Getting to the “What’s Hot” list is just like entering the hall of fames. Imagine having your content appearing at the top of the page for ALL Google+ users. Definitely, you can expect a big spike in the traffic to your blog. For those with many individuals in your circle, it’s going to be explosive. For those looking for big time traffic within a short period of time, this is your opportunity especially when you are not ranking in the top 10 of search engine results, or your blog is fairly new. When what you share strikes the chord with fellow Google+ users, get ready for the surge in traffic.
To adjust how much you see on “What’s Hot”, just click on the Explore icon, and set your requirements.
On mobile devices/apps, the default setting for streams are “All Circles”, “Nearby” and “What’s Hot”.
6. SEO Friendly & Direct Link to the Post
Google+ gives you a direct link to the post, so you can easily share on social media platforms, or even send the URL to non-Google Plus users. For example I can share a Pinterest marketing guide on Twitter by giving a link directly (shameless self-promotion), and it can be retweeted on Twitter, reshared on Google, or via other media. Unlike Facebook, there’s no way for you to do it, and it is not exactly traffic-friendly too, especially with Facebook Web of Trust giving out false negatives most of the time.
7. Awesome Community
People are generally friendly, and generous (if that’s an appropriate word) in giving +1 and commenting on your posts. Although I’m new to Google+, I was glad to have updates acknowledged with +1 and reshares … of course the posts/updates have to be of quality ;) Compared to Twitter and even Facebook, I find that the G+ is conducive for interaction. On certain posts, I can have comment notifications that keep my iPhone beeping until I have to switch it to silence mode. Bbtw, you can also mute a post to stop notification or from appearing in your stream again. To modify your Google+ notifications, go here, then click on “Google+” located on the left-handside of the screen. You can choose to receive your notifications on your email, phone, or both.
8. Other Notable Features
Privacy Settings – This is so much better than Facebook. I am definitely not the only one who is confused and anonyed with FB privacy control. With Google+, configuring the privacy levels are so easy.
GIF Support – I don’t really use this often. But tumblr fans will love this. Anyway, most of the GIF images are funny stuff that makes me laugh and forget how tough the day is, or will be. Great entertainment. You have cool GIF shares? Add me into your circle ;)
Hangout – Prefer to video chat rather than type? This is perfect for you. Hangout with up to 9 people. Puzzling why Facebook never roll out similar features. Support for mobile devices too: iPhone and Android apps.
Are you ready for the switch, or at least start building a social presence on Google+? Join me in my circles :)
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