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Start: Mark Evans

Google+ is a plus for small businesses Add to ...

Last week, Google Inc. took another stab at establishing a stronger foothold in the social media world with the launch of Google+.

In some respects, Google+ is the company’s attempt to take on Facebook with a service that will leverage Google’s search engine supremacy and the growing number of free online services it offers.

After spending a few days exploring Google+, I think there a variety of reasons why the free service is worth using. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should similarly explore Google+ to see if there are any benefits to enhance how they operate online.

Perhaps the most compelling feature is the ability to split your friends, family and business contacts into “circles” as opposed to a big bucket like Facebook does.

A business could, for example, create circles for existing clients, leads, partners, suppliers and professional contacts.

With your professional world split up, content and information could be shared based on the interests and needs of each circle. This makes it easy to provide content that may be relevant to one group but not valuable or relevant to other group.

Another interesting Google+ feature is how it integrates with other Google services. For anyone using Gmail, Google Docs, Google Finance, Blogger or Google News, it will be easy to share information and content via your Google+ profile.

I also like the fact that Google+ lets users control their data (although I suspect Google will leverage it to generate advertising opportunities).

If any Google+ users want to leave the service, they can take their data with them. And it is easy to delete your Google+ account. Facebook, on the other hand, controls a user’s data, and it can be difficult to delete an account.

It would be unrealistic to expect Google+ to be a Facebook killer but it will be another interesting social media option for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to have a stronger or more vibrant digital presence.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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