Live

Watch CBSN Live

Google+: How Much Should Small Businesses Care?

By now you've heard that Google has a new social networking service undergoing testing. Unless you are one of a fortunate few, you haven't actually used Google+. But you know it's there, you have read about how its circles and hangouts and other features promise to improve the social networking experience. And you know -- or at least suspect -- the arrival of Google+ has to mean something for your social marketing strategy. Question is: What?

The Debunker asked Jason Sadler who, as founder of social marketer iwearyourshirt.com, is a legit expert on the topic and is also one of the Google+ beta testers.

BNET: To start with, what's good about Google+ for small businesses besides what we've already heard?
Sadler: They're not allowing businesses pages yet, although some businesses, like Ford, are already on there. But if you can get in, you can create an account for yourself and get involved. And, because there aren't as many businesses on there as there are on Facebook -- or as many spammers and scammers -- right now is a prime time to get involved. There's so much conversation and there's no noise.

BNET: Is it good enough to unseat Facebook?
Sadler: Facebook just announced that they are over 750 million users. So how is Google going to compete? One way is that almost all of us already use a Google product of some kind. And this fits in so well with Google's other products. And it's so easy and simple. You don't need Skype anymore. They're really unifying the social media experience in one place, which is a big plus.

However, it is really hard to get an invite right now. I've tried to invite a bunch of people. It seems like later at night, when there's not as much usage, people are filtering in. But it's really hit or miss when they're going to open it up.

BNET: Can Facebook respond effectively?
Sadler: I watched the Facebook Live announcement and thought they'd have some features to compete with Google+, but they really didn't. For small businesses Facebook is still great. But there are a lot of things going on in Google+ that will be great for small business, too.

For more on Google+, check out these stories from my colleagues:

Mark Henricks is an Austin, Texas, freelance journalist whose reporting on business, technology and other topics has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and other leading publications. Learn more about him at The Article Authority. Follow him on Twitter @bizmyths.

Image courtesy of Flickr user FindYourSearch, CC2.0
View CBS News In