Finding Content Ideas Quickly with Google+

Do you have trouble coming up with ideas on what to post on Facebook, Twitter, or even Google+?  Do you wish you had more ways of generating ideas for your blog?  I have found a quick and easy way to get more content ideas from searching within Google+.  Here’s how!

First thing you want to do is sign into Google+, go to your Google+ stream, and, above it, is a Google search bar.

Type in the search term closest to what type of content you are looking for.  You want to get a close match so that you eliminate things that you do not need from your search.  We chose Social Media.  Once you type in what you want to search, click the search icon.

The stream pops up with posts that are on Google+, as well as news from the internet!  How easy!  If you like what you find, save the search!

The saved search is then saved to the left sidebar of your Google+ profile.  Next time you want to look at the results, simply click on your search term in the left column, and the stream will pop up with the latest and greatest news!  Saving the search is a very useful tool.  You do not constantly have to type in what you want to search, just simply click on the topic you already searched for!

It is that easy!  The search results in the stream are generally more narrow than what you would find from just doing a regular Google search.  I also find them much more interesting and useful as well!  Google+ lets you save as many of the searches as you like, so in this example, social media could really have been broken down into many different searches, such as, Facebook, Twitter, or social media ROI.  There are endless search possibilities, so give it a try!

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Are You Being Stalked On Google Latitude?

If you have not already heard about or used Google Latitude, it may come as a bit of a shock to you that Google ventured into location-based services (shocking!).  While the service has been out for quite some time, many people are still unaware of its existence.  With the growing popularity of Google+, Google has now implemented Google Check-ins into the Google+ app.  Competition for Foursquare, I doubt it, but this app may come in handy for some.  Google Latitude is available as an iphone app, or if you have android, it is available through Google Maps with a handy widget for your screen.  You can also access it on your desktop at www.google.com/latitude.

The Run Down

Google Latitude is a way for you to see on a map exactly where your family and friends are.  As in the how-to video for Google Latitude, you can see if your parents arrived home safely from their trip, or you can see if any of your friends are close by.  Google gives you the ability to chat with these friends by email, phone, text, or Google Chat.  Google also gives you the ability to get directions to where your family or friends have checked into. This is handy if you are wanted to meet your friends out for a drink or need directions to the restaurant your family picked to meet at.

This would also a great tool for parents.  Do you have a teenager who just got their license?  With Google Latitude, you can see exactly where your kids are going, as long as they are checking in.  This can give you piece of mind and keep your kids safe as well.  Google Latitude could also be an amazing tool if you are going to a different part of the country and want to keep track of where you have been.  Google Latitude lets you see past check ins! Worried about where your sales associates are actually going?  Have them check in when they are out on sales calls.

Keeping Your Privacy

Because of obvious privacy issues, you have to sign up for the service and turn it on yourself.  Share your location with people you do not know is an obvious no-no, as you do not want people to know exactly where you are if you have no idea who they are.  That is definite grounds for stalkers, robbers, and who knows what else.  You must be careful.  This tool is better used for continuing relationships and not making new ones.  Google does give you some privacy, you can choose to share your exact locations, just the city, or not at all.  You can choose to hide from certain people as well.  It is always a good rule of thumb to only share with people you know and trust with your location.

Your Views

Do you use Google Latitude?  If you do, how do you use it?

Do you prefer Foursquare to Google Latitude?

How to Create a Google + Business Page

Google has finally made Google+ available for everyone, and with that, came the ability to create Google+ Pages!  I know what you are saying in your head, “Oh great, another social media site to keep up with and have to find interesting content to post on it.”  You probably believe that soon, you will only have time for social media and not your actual business, because of all the social media sites you have to keep up with.  There is a silver lining!  Although Google says that it’s Google+ pages and profiles do not affect search engine rankings, I beg to differ!  Let’s get started creating that page!

First thing, go to http://www.plus.google.com/pages/create.  You need to sign into your Google account.  Now, if you own your business, you can sign in with your personal account.  If you do not, you will want to create a generic Google email account that has your company’s name in it.  This will ensure that your company does not lose it’s page when and if you leave your job.  Once you sign in, Google will take you back to the Create Page.

Next, you will want to pick the category that your business is in.  Google lets you choose from a variety of categories or create your own.  If you pick the one that says you are a local business, Google will ask for your phone number and try to locate you through Google Places.  This is very handy because it eliminates a few steps, thus, saving you time!  If you pick another category, Google will ask for your Page name and your website, along with a category for your type of business, whether you be arts, jewelry, a blog, etc.

Once you have completed the last few steps, Google will give you the opportunity to fill in the blanks.  This is what will basically be on your “about page”.  You want to put everything you can in here, just like you would for your Facebook business page.  You want people to know what you are all about!  Make sure to put your website in, your location (if you have one), your phone number, and hours of operation.  You will also be able to put in your business logo.  Make sure it represents your business well.  You can change it anytime you want, but you do not want to be changing it all the time, as it will confuse people.  Make it a uniform logo that you would use on all of your social media profiles/pages.

Google+ also allows you to post pictures on your page.  There is a spot on your Posts page that allows you to put up five pictures that are automatically visible to your guests.  A good piece of advice would be to put up pictures that represent your company and what it does.  A good example of this is the Angry Birds page.  They have just what you might expect, a slingshot with a bird flying across the page!  Use your imagination for the best possible sequence of pictures that best represent your company!

How about the Circle?  Go to the circles page, and view the circles Google has already set up for you.  Do this represent how you want to categorize your followers?  If not, Google lets you add and delete circles.  Make sure you name them so you can identify who you want to target with the messages that you post.  As for now, Google only lets you add Pages to your circles, unless a person adds you first, only then can you add then into your own circles.

Now, start posting!  What should you post, you ask?  You want to post content that is relevant to your followers and to the followers you want to attract.  The great part about Google+ and it’s circles, is that, you can choose the circles you want to see your post.  This is great if you feel that only one circle might benefit from a post, that way you are not posting things to circles that they would not really care too much about.  Or if you have a great post for everyone, you can choose to make it public!  This also makes it possible to post more than once a day without being annoying!

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Do you have any tips or suggestions for Google+ Pages?  Leave us some comments!

Google+ Business Pages

Google+ has finally announced that they are very close to letting businesses have their very own business pages! 43 million people have already signed up for Google+ since it began in July.  Many of us have been waiting very patiently for Google+ to unveil it’s new platform to businesses.  In an article out today by AdAge, they questioned Google’s Christian Oestlien, group product manager for social advertising at Google, about when the new Google+ business pages will be available to the public, and also what businesses will be able to do with these pages.  As for now, Ford and General Motors are still the only companies officially testing Google+.  Google+ has shut down many company profiles including MTV ans Sesame Street.  Any others that might be up and running are not the official business pages and are not official testers.

Google+ will allow business pages to have a profile page and circles, with not much more revealed.  Ford’s page currently has a similar feature to Facebook, a banner of pictures that goes across the top of the profile page.  Will this be customizable?  No one knows for sure what the other actual features of the pages will be, but many are wondering.  A great feature would be the integration of HTML, much like Facebook, to let businesses have custom pages that link to their websites.  Another good feature would be the availability to invite circles to events on event pages.

So what happens if your business is already being scammed by someone else?  Google will be monitoring this closely and when reported, these pages will be given a “soft take down” with its owners given time to retaliate if they indeed believe they are the rightful owners of the name.  If they are found to be fake, Google will take these pages down for good.Another way Google is verifying its members is by giving celebrities verification badges.  These badges will be used in a similar way to Twitter’s blue check marks as a way to identify the real profile.   Oestlien would not reveal whether Google would be using these badges for business pages, but it looks promising.

So while nothing as been revealed about these business pages yet, we still wait patiently to hear more good news about their arrival.  Google+ will have to unveil some competitive features to even begin to compete with Facebook, who is the authority on business pages.  With all this waiting, many businesses might be pushed off and not consider coming back.

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Google+ (Mini) Cheat Sheet

I hope you find this useful.  When I first saw the title of the article, I thought this would be some amazing new infographic on Google+ and many of its features.  I was wrong.  It does have a few good tidbits of information though.  The Mashable article mentions that after looking at this you will be able to use Google+ like a pro.  Let me know how that goes.