8 New Google+ Changes and How They Impact Your BusinessBy Mike DelgadoPublished April 19, 2012TweetHave you heard about all of the recent changes on Google+.
Google announced the changes on the Google blog in Toward a Simpler, More Beautiful Google.
#1: Header Image and Profile Photo ChangesGoogle+ changed the page layouts to allow more space for your photo strip.
You can choose whether youd like to continue to feature five photos at the top of your page or select one main cover image (like Facebook).
When it comes to uploading photos from Android phones and engaging in discussions with large groups of people, its actually more convenient than Facebook, not to mention Hangouts are pretty cool.
To change your photo strip, simply click the Edit Profile button at the top of your page and click on your photo strip.
We all love white space, but the old design took it to the extreme; now photos and videos will stand out as soon as you click on someones profile.
Youll then get the option to have one panoramic cover photo or five small scrapbook photos.
If you choose to have one header photo, make sure the cover image is 940 pixels x 180 pixels.
The logo appears larger now, so make sure your picture doesnt look grainy with the recent update.
The minimum profile picture width is approximately 250 pixels x 250 pixels.
If you choose to keep using scrapbook photos in your strip, your photo strip images will continue to be displayed at 110 pixels x 110 pixels.
Here are a few Google+ pages with some creative panoramic cover photos:Washington Post:The Washington Post Google+ Page.
Some ideas on how to use your new header:Showcase a productHighlight a fan of the weekInclude a business phone number or web address to attract new customersAdd a call to action to encourage people to learn more about your business#2: Customize Your Navigation for Business CommunicationGoogle+ moved your list of circles from the left hand side to the top of your page.
In the example below, we decided to have our Customers and Focus Group circles as important tabs in our navigation.
To choose which tabs appear in your top navigation, simply click on the Circles button on the left navigation ribbon.
Then drag your favorite circles to the right of the Drop here to create a circle icon as seen here:Drag two circles next to the "Drop here to create a circle" image.
Some ideas on how to use your custom navigation:Keep a tab to quickly see what your customers/clients are postingKeep a tab of people/pages you are networking with or want to engage withMake it a goal to engage with a few people every day from these important circles#3: Page Promotion on the Right Hand SidebarWhen you first log in, Google+ now recommends that people check out certain pages on the right hand sidebar.
Its unclear how their algorithm determines what pages you might like, but pages seem to be associated with those followed by people youve circled.
This is essentially like getting free ad space for your business, so make an effort to build up your followers to get featured here.
When someone hovers the cursor over any of the suggested pages, Google+ displays the pages header and profile picture.
This is another reason to have an eye catching photo that will attract attention and clicks when people see your page suggested.
Some ways to get into more circles from the sidebar:Make sure your page profile picture catches the eyeMake sure your page header looks good when in a pop upWork on gaining more followers to start appearing on more sidebarsPost and engage regularly on your page, so visitors will see youre active#4: Trending Topics and Explore SectionIn the past, trending topics in Google+ only appeared after doing a search.
Now, Google+ is featuring the trending topics on the right hand sidebar of peoples home screen.
This means more people will be looking at trending topics, so your business could get more visibility by posting about topics Google+ members are discussing.
Not every trending topic will be relevant to your business, but sometimes just sharing a helpful article about the topic could get you noticed and circled.
Youll need to click on the Explore icon on the left navigation ribbon to see what people are talking about.
Some ways trending topics can get you more visibility:Write about a trending topic or share a relevant news storyEngage with anyone who comments or shares your post with othersShare and engage with other pages talking about a trending topicMonitor your circle counts to see if writing about trending topics gets you into more circles#5: New Hangouts PageGoogle+ added Hangouts to the left hand navigation to highlight the live YouTube video chats going on that others can join.
The people behind Google+ (in the past and even now) are introducing features that are relevant for the customers, be it Circles, Hangouts or Explore.
To start a hangout as a page, simply click on the camera icon on any post that youve created to start a public hangout.
Some ways to use hangouts for your business:Join hangouts relevant to your businessCreate regularly scheduled hangout sessions for your fans and customersHost public hangouts/webinars on topics important to your businessRecord important hangouts that you can post on YouTube and share againMeet with clients and/or customers using hangoutsKeep an eye on what types of hangouts are going on for topics to write about#6: Enhanced Photo Albums and VideosPhotos and videos are now full bleed (no borders) and appear larger in the new layout.
This just shows the importance Google+ places on photos and video, and gives another reason for businesses to share more photos and videos with their followers.
However, its still counting those who share via Search, Gmail, YouTube and other places across Googles network so, again, its not a real count of how many users are visiting Google+ as a destination of its own.
Check out how a recent photo album takes up almost the entire stream:Photos are full bleed in Google+.
Also notice that when you hover your mouse over a photo album set (above), you see a group of all the photos appearing in a lightbox image over the photo.
There are many creative ways to utilize photo albums and videos for business.
Some ways to use photos and videos for your business:Be creative and use photo albums like a great PowerPoint or SlideShare presentationShare YouTube videos relevant to your business or videos useful to your customersShare recorded hangout sessions with your followersPost photos and videos of your office or staff to show the people behind your company#7: Easily See Whos Engaging With Your PageGoogle+ is making it easier for brands to see who is sharing and +1ing their content with one click.
By simply clicking on the + or Share icons on any post, youll see an activity drawer open that features a thumbnail image and name of every person and page who has engaged with that post in some way.
It also reveals that Google+ wants to encourage more engagement, and this new activity drawer might encourage more people to start +1ing and sharing to get seen more.
Action items for your business:Get noticed more by +1ing and sharing other pages postsEngage with anyone who comments on your postsRecognize anyone who shares your posts by commenting to thank them (if possible)Keep a note of people you see regularly engaging with your content and circle them as engagers#8: Easily Switch Between Page Admin and Personal AccountIts now easy to switch back and forth between your personal profile and page profile by simply clicking on your profile image in the top right corner.
You can also access your managed pages by clicking on the Pages icon on the navigation ribbon on the left.
Clicking on the "Pages" icon in the left hand ribbon navigation will allow you to switch between page and person profile.
Google+ has surprised us all with an entirely new layout and its exciting to see all of the potential ways businesses can benefit from the recent update.
Tags: google circles, google hangouts, google plus, google+ changes, google+ header image, google+ navigation, google+ profile photo, hangouts, mike delgado, trending topicsAbout the Author, Mike DelgadoMichael Delgado is a digital marketer who loves writing about Google+, online brand management and social media.
Scheduled for May 22 23 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, this history making two day conference brings together some of the biggest photographers on Google+, some of the best instructors of photography and some of the geniuses of social media to help photographers refine their photography skills, grow their online brand, and connect with others in the Google+ community, and get the most out of Google+.
He’s the author of circled.us and the Social Media Community Manager at Experian.
Secretary General Ban Ki moon (back to camera) sits for his live chat on the social media platform, Google+.
Daniel Scuderi is a business journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. Daniel has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Daniel spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.