1. During its invitation-only beta period, Google+ attracted its first 10 million users in just two weeks; Facebook and Twitter needed more than 2 years to gather 10 million users. For professional photographers, the evidence should be clear: With Google attracting more than 1 billion unique visitors per month, any pro should want the reach that Google+ is quickly generating, as the social persona of the Web’s most visited site.
2. What every photographer will notice soon after joining Google+ is that it accepts photos with a maximum width of 2,048 pixels. Facebook has a maximum limit of approximately 700 pixels in width and many photographers find the quality of their images to be sub-par.
Photographers are already reporting a noticeable improvement in the overall quality of their photos when viewed on Google+. They also comment about how much they like exploring other photographers’ galleries because of the application’s ease of use.
3. Because any social networking site for a professional photographer is a marketing tool, you should be able to create connections that are grouped according to your products and/or services. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer who is also trying to sell landscapes to publications or online, then with Google+ Circles you can have one group of connections related to your wedding photography business and another with those in the market for your landscape images. Instead of everyone seeing both types of photos, as on Facebook, you direct the appropriate images to matching markets.
4. As people connect with you on your page, you can start to engage with them proactively by using your Stream to share photos, comments and articles and customer testimonials. The flexibility of Google+ allows you to make all that content public, or customize it for each of your Circles.
5. Google+ Hangouts provides you with real-time connections to your clients, employees, suppliers, etc. With one-click, you can start video conversations to answer customers’ questions, or create a regular flow of interaction with other photographers about tips and equipment recommendations that you need to know now.
Another nice feature of Hangouts is that the opportunity to join one or more appears on screen automatically. They can even come in the form of a special invite to participate in a private discussion. You can also initiate Hangouts.
6. When you’re ready to use Google+ as a powerful promotional tool for your business, then you start by adding the Google+ badge to your Web site. This connects it to your Google+ page, which makes it available to anyone in your Circles, or prompts your Web site visitors to launch their own Google+ page.
7. Google+ Direct Connect gives the people who search Google billions of times a day a virtually automatic means to connect to your Google+ page. Anyone who types the plus sign and then the name of your page will be directly connected to it. Think of how many people use Google as their default browser page and primary search engine. Essentially, a doorway to your business’ page is always on millions and millions of screens everyday.
8. The +1 button is an extremely versatile marketing tool because it has the potential to create a giant promotional team for you. You start by uploading the +1 button to the pages on your Web site as well as any display ads on your site. Now, each specific section of content on your Web site can generate interest in, discussion of and recommendations for your photography services and, most importantly, growing sales, whenever someone clicks on your +1 buttons.
9. Despite Twitter’s general popularity, its 140-character limit for a post is a disadvantage for photographers. You want the flexibility to write as much as possible to communicate information about you and your business. There are no character limits on Google+. Not only will you have the space to write about all the details of your photos, but also you can post longer content, such as articles and reviews.
10. With Google+, you also have access to comprehensive advertising analytical tools to measure +1 button use, for example. One of these clever tools is called Ripples. You can see a graphical representation of the movement of your posts. It’s easy to notice who is influencing others, which are people you will want to add to the appropriate Circles group.
11. It was only a matter of time before Google muscled its way into social networking, and, as expected, it appears to have created a much more usable and versatile platform that will benefit any professional photographer.
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