Expanded chatting with Google+

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Have you tried Google+ (Google Plus) for your small business? While there are many reasons to do so this one jumps out from the others in a couple of notable ways. First of all let’s say what Google Plus is for those of you new to the name. If you are in small business marketing or simple want to market your own small business this can be a powerful, free tool.

Google Plus is Google’s new social networking division which incorporates a re-invention of some of the best of Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. It is fast-moving like the Twitter stream or the recently modified Facebook stream but in the stream it allows videos, photos, long posts, short posts, links with thumbnails, and +1’s which are similar to Facebook Likes and Twitter re-tweets. If you don’t use those social networks I would be very surprised to find you reading this article!

With me and my readers the question always is, “how can this be used or leveraged for or by small business?” Really the full answers are yet to be determined but the chat feature is something we really have been waiting for. On Twitter you can chat with anyone. It should also be understood that everything on Twitter except Direct Messaging is completely public. To Direct Message with someone you have to be “following” them and they have to be “following” you.

On Facebook you can also send private messages and to almost anyone but you cannot chat with them unless you are “friends” or in the same group together. Being friends on Facebook is not always the most ideal situation and let’s face it, getting to be a member of far too many groups on Facebook is way too easy to accomplish.

With Google Plus in order to chat with someone else you only need to be in a common circle. But listen … that’s to chat in *any* Google site. Including the chat from GMail. Well that explains it then! You noticed all those people online you had never seen before and now you know why, people from your Google+ circles now appear in your standard Google chat.

What’s changed with Chat?

  • Previously you could only chat with someone if you knew their email address. Now you just need to have each other in Circles.
  • When you and your contacts have each other in Circles, you’ll be able to chat with them across Google properties such as Gmail, Google Plus, iGoogle, Orkut, and the Google Talk Client.
  • Instead of displaying all of your contacts in your Google Plus Chat list, we’re displaying contacts from your most recent conversations who are online now. (You’ll still be able to use the search box at the top of the Chat list to find contacts that aren’t displayed.)

The above is straight from Google.

How to host a successful Twitter chat event

If you’re average you didn’t read this article. If you’re above average you read the title and got this far thinking, “I thought Twitter was all chat”. Welcome, you’re going to love this if you read this far.

Twitter, in case you do not know, is the wildly popular global, open stream, 140 character text chat system. If you have been around long enough to remember the AOL chat room with 25 guests maximum image that with thousands of guests but limited to 140 characters including spaces called “tweets”. If you do not yet have a Twitter account here’s what I suggest:

  • Spend a minute thinking about your Twitter “handle” aka your nickname on Twitter. Mine is@thekencook because @kencook was take. The @ symbol is automatically pre-pended so you do not have to include it when registering for your handle.
  • It would be advisable, also, to keep SEO in mind and incorporate a keyword but that’s less critical than actually *having* a Twitter account. As you tweet and converse you can use keywords, especially in links, to help boost your SEO. Google does index Twitter tweets.
  • Personally, I would double check to see if there is a domain name to match your Twitter handle available. For example I have thekencook.com to go along with my Twitter handle. You may want yumacondos.com or sencondchancehomes.com if you catch my drift.
  • Keep in mind the shorter your Twitter handle the less characters your name will take up when people ReTweet (forward) your messages. My friend Jeremy Blanton has JB140 so his only takes up 5 characters. Jeff Turner has respres. I do recommend the shorter names if you can get one that works.

There is more to it that just these but for starters you should be good to go with those. (You actually can change your Twitter handle later if for some reason it is necessary like when I was employed by AmericaHomeKey and ran their account and they terminated my division – I just kept it and changed the name to RefLeads http://twitter.com/refleads for example.)

What are hashtags “#” on Twitter?

The topic came up this morning at Social Media Breakfast Atlanta in a round about way. During a discussion about how to “organize” tweets and streams on Twitter we tackled hashtags. You know – the pound sign. Number sign. Tic tac toe sign – #

I love “mind pictures” or “object lessons” and they are most valuable when speaking of an intangible but interactive event. A la Twitter.

One of the most common ways I speak of social media in general and Twitter in specific is like going to a party or to the mall. For this example let’s use the image of a party at someone’s large home. At our party there are hundreds of people all chatting, dancing, singing … a major cacophony. Entering the mansion where the party is being held it is difficult to separate out individual conversations from all the commotion.

You see a friend with whom you would like to speak across the room. While you certainly could shout to her from across the room the conversation would likely be a very short one and details could be missed because of all the noise in the room.

You work your way across the room until you are standing in the smaller group with your friend and you can now exchange pleasantries and engage on a more personal level. Although you can hear the other chatter and noise from the party you can still converse.

A topic comes up that requires a little more seclusion but not necessarily privacy. In other words you need a place where you can talk without a lot of interruptions and away from the noise to conversation ratio you are experiencing with the main body of the party.

You know the place pretty well so you pull your friend away to a parlor just out of the party. You leave the door open and people can come in and go out and they can, if they are so inclined, over hear the things you are saying. What you are talking about it not private – so private it would be “bad” if others overheard – so you’re fine with this arrangement.