What Your Brand Should Be Doing on Google+

By Michele Weisman With over 60 million users and billions of items shared everyday, Google+ is making its mark in the social media landscape. Two months ago, Google+ launched pages for businesses, allowing brands to create profiles to connect with customers and fans. More recently, Google+ announced their release of new features including multiple administrators for business pages, notification settings, and a new and improved photo experience. Experts continue to debate whether Google+ has the power to last beyond Google's previous attempts at breaking into the social network world. Below are four things your brand should be doing on Google+ to optimize your social presence:

1. Take advantage of circles: Google+ has revolved their social strategy around targeted lists, or what they call circles. Circles allow brands to identify their influencers and share the right content with the right people. Brands have the opportunity to segment their audience and provide targeted specific content. Brands can create specific circles such as, "Brand Ambassadors”, "VIPs", "Fans", "Competitors", and any other segment brands wish to identify. Check out this Google+ ad below:

2. Hangout...with your customers: Hangouts allow users and brands to video chat with up to 10 users any time, anywhere. This feature allows a brand to start live, face-to-face conversations with followers. Celebrities and brands such as The Black Eyed Peas, the Dalai Lama, and the Muppets have all used the Hangouts "On Air" feature to broadcast their messages to the world. Hangouts "On Air" is currently limited to group testers and Google partners on a case-by-case basis. Hangouts could potentially change the customer service industry. Brands can use this feature as a means of communication for customer service, reporting news, connecting with staff in multiple offices or hosting a live event. Every week Likeable Media will be hosting a Google+ hangout during #LikeableChat, our weekly twitter chat. In addition, our New York and Boston offices will be hosting weekly hangouts for Wine Wednesday. Join our staff beginning this Wednesday at 5pm EST to discuss social media while drinking a glass of wine!

3. Posting Flexibility: Unlike Facebook, administrators are able to edit posts on their page. In addition, with the integration of YouTube, rich multimedia posts work best. Produce engaging content by posting images and videos often. A best practice is to sign your post with your name to put a face behind the brand. For sensitive topics, administrators can disable comments and re-sharing.

4. Search on! Without a doubt, Google is the number one search engine. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a top search engine as well. Google+ search keeps brands on the social pulse. Brands can leverage their business page by integrating it with Google's search. Share your Google+ profile and directly connect it to your website. Best practices include linking your page to other social media profiles and email signatures. In addition, brands can filter their stream on Google+ by circle. Hashtags are also enabled.

Is your brand on Google+? How does your brand take advantage of Google+'s features?