Why You Should Use Google Plus for Professional Networking

Over the past decade Google has made numerous attempts to break into the social networking craze and compete with social networking giant Facebook. Several of Google’s ventures have been quite popular, the most well known being Blogger. Orkut and Picasa Web Albums, both online communities based on photo sharing and editing, are also owned by Google and seem to be doing rather well. What’s more, I trust you have stumbled upon Google Friend Connect and Google Buzz a time or two? And that is just the tip of iceberg when it comes to the social websites Google has created or acquired.

Google Plus for Professional Networking

Why You Should Use Google Plus for Professional Networking

So how is Google Plus any different from all of Google’s previous ventures?

I have to say, I was a little skeptical at first. I love Google, but they haven’t exactly wowed me in the past when it comes to networking. As a paralegal today however, I realize the value of networking. Not expecting much, I headed to Google and signed into my profile. (If you have a Google account already, you have a profile that has become your Google Plus profile.) I looked over the new profile page and almost immediately, I was excited.

The new profiles on Google Plus rock! They give you the ability to create and administer Google Plus pages. This means that you can have multiple profiles, personal, business, etc., all attached to one account; switching between profiles could not be easier either. Depending upon whether you are using Google Plus as a business (or brand) or a person, the profile fields differ slightly. Either way, you are allowed to enter plenty of information. The simple editor allows you to effortlessly include links to your blog, all of your social networks, and any other websites where you have contributed content.

Google Plus Profiles

Google Plus profiles have quite a bit of Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) value; there are many opportunities to add keywords into your tagline, introduction, and occupation. There is a good deal of worth in having these inbound links from a domain as popular as Google. These profiles rank very well in search results. This will get you out in front of potential clients and help to establish credibility in the legal industry.

Google Circles

Google Circles is an extremely useful feature that allows you to sort and organize your contacts. When you post to Google Plus you have the opportunity to control the visibility of your updates by choosing the circles that will see your posts. This is a great way to send targeted messages to potential clients or to show perspective employers your best work. No other social network has features that allow you to keep personal updates personal and post business updates for business contacts. These privacy features built into Google Circles are exactly what privacy advocates have been asking for.

By using Google Circles you can sort the content that you see as well. For instance, let’s say that your circles are friends and family, potential clients, potential employers, paralegals, and authors. You are in a hurry and only want to see how many of your friends are meeting after work. You can just check your friends and family’s updates and leave the rest for later when you have more time.

Google Hangouts

At first glance, hangouts may appear similar to the group function that is available on every other social media site around. However, just as things are not always what they seem to be, Google Hangouts has capabilities incomparable to the groups function on Facebook.

Google Hangouts give you the ability to video conference with up to nine additional people plus yourself. Hangouts can be easily scheduled by using Google Calendar. Additionally, Hangouts allows for real time document, presentation and spreadsheet sharing, viewing and editing in real time. Other features include screen sharing, real time note taking, and a sketchpad that allows you to draw a whiteboard for real time collaborative, professional meetings.

President Obama has participated in two live Google Hangouts.  In February, Live from the West Wing, he addressed questions posed by citizens. The live broadcast was made possible using a recently introduced feature called “Hangouts On-Air”. The Hangouts On-Air feature is used by pressing the ON AIR button after your hangout has begun. This will allow the people in your circles and any YouTube user to watch. These live videos can be embedded on any website.

Hangouts are easy to use and require no additional software.

Google Authorship

If you are writer and have your own blog(s) or contribute to other sites, there has never been a way to let Google know that you were the author of content that was spread out across the Internet.  So Google had no way of recognizing all of your hard work and crediting you with it. Until now, with the creation of Google Authorship, Google now has a way of recognizing the content you have created and giving you credit for it.

Not only does Google Authorship recognize the content you have authored and credit you with being the creator, you are given extra visibility in search results. This helps you to gain credibility in the legal profession, which may get you noticed by just the right person.

Unlimited Editing Power

Unlike Facebook, which gives a limited amount of editing ability and Twitter, which basically only gives you the power to delete a tweet, Google Plus gives you unlimited control over your own content. Having this much control over the content you post is important if you need to make updates, add media or edit a post. 

Unlimited Number of Characters in Posts

There are many times when Twitter, with its 140 character limit, is fine for sharing links and updates. What if you need to say more? Google Plus seems to have no limit on the number of characters you can post.

Google Plus Notifications

Because Google Plus is already integrated into other Google products, so you can monitor messages, events, invites, etc. without ever leaving the Google service you are using. If you use Google Chrome as our browser, there happens to an extension named Google + Notifications. The extension adds notifications next to the address bar so that can receive all your notification alerts no matter if you are not using a Google product. This is a great advantage for anyone needing to respond to comments, messages, or updates quickly.

Data Management

Google was listening when there were concerns over the way Facebook handled our personal data. Data Liberation is a Google Plus tool that allows you to download and remove permanently all of your activity and data from across Google’s products. Your personal data is safe with Google.

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About Shelley Riseden

Shelley M. Riseden is a freelance paralegal providing research, document preparation, and writing services to both attorneys and non-attorneys. She is an expert at conducting legal research and has a natural ability to grasp complex legal issues.Phone: 765.667.5139, E-mail: smriseden@earthlink.net or shelley@virtuallylegal.net, Skype: shelley.riseden, Yahoo: Virtually_Legal

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