People are understandably hesitant about using Google’s recent addition to social networking in the form of Google+.
Surely having a presence on Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and more, is enough for sharing content and promoting ourselves! Facebook alone can prove to be an enormous time-burner.
I’ve spent a lot (I mean a lot) of time researching Google+ and I’ve had had plenty of experience on Facebook, including writing some guides on it. From this, I’ve discovered a wealth of great things that highlight Google’s new project. What Google has on offer is something that really will, and already is, shaking things up in a big way.
Even though Facebook has its uses, particularly in engaging with a source of already established friends, the benefits Google+ can provide for creative freelancers like us are really worth noting.
Here are 10 ways Google+ is better for creative freelancers than Facebook:
1. Better for a portfolio.
Google+ is ideal as a secondary portfolio for your work. Images can be presented with more variation and there are some great editing features through Google+’s Creative Kit to add further variety and tweaking. You can also have a set of 5 recent portfolio pieces right at the top of your profile.
Sharing your work is really good because you can choose exactly who sees your updates and various albums (art directors for example), and you can add Google’s ‘+1’ feature to images so that they can be bumped up to the top of image searches in Google, for added exposure.
For videos, as Google owns YouTube, videos can be integrated easily within Google+ too.
2. A better system for people actually looking for creatives.
Art buyers and others looking for talent will want access to a stream of new work from people they are interested in following. The ‘circles’ element of Google+ allows users to organise streams into various groups so that they don’t have to see every update from everyone. Buyers can filter through just ‘illustrators’ for example. This is what the creative industry needs.
3. More professional environment.
Google+ is attracting a more professional crowd, mainly for its features and benefits for businesses.
This is where creative freelancers need to be to make the most of a presence of other professionals that can work with them and provide work for them. For the time being, Google+’s user-base is smaller, which means being able to stand out more too.
Google has made it easy to reduce clutter and noise on Google+ through allowing users to restrict the content they see and take out elements within profiles themselves. This combined with the fact that the interface and overall design is cleaner and better designed, adds to the professionalism of it.
4. Integration with other Google products and services.
Google+ has the benefit of being part of the Google family, and this means being able to integrate them into the system. A lot is yet to come, but things like Google’s superior search engine, Gmail, Picasa for pictures, YouTube and Documents will bring big benefits to a presence on Google+.
5. Better security of personal data.
As well as allowing you better control over who you share things with, Google+ is much better for security than it’s less experienced Facebook.
With Google’s ‘Data Liberation’ tool, you can be very explicit about what gets shared, and where, as well as what doesn’t. There is total control for all your creative work, and all your information on Google+.
6. Have critique circles.
The circles feature in Google+ is great for being able to share certain updates with people you’d like to gain feedback from over your work. On Facebook, sharing work means all your friends see it, which is impractical.
7. Ability to bookmark.
Google+ allows you to bookmark content you like that come through your friend’s feeds, as well as your topic-specific Sparks feed from around the web. If you see something that inspires you that you want to keep, you can share it with one of your own circles, names something like ‘Creative Inspiration’ and be able to refer to it later.
8. Better for collaboration.
Adding people you want to collaborate with to a specific circle, if they to do the same, allows you to send through updates that can be shared with the ‘team’ you are collaborating with. This also allows you to manage projects with multiple people involved, in a similar way to Basecamp, but for free.
Apart from chat, Google+ ‘Hangouts’ is another method for collaboration, which allows groups to discuss projects via a simple video feed.
9. Better for building a focused professional network.
Because Google+ allows you to follow the updates of anyone, you are in a great position to build connections through being aware of people’s content, and then engaging with that content. Engagement is what builds relationships and builds networks.
This kind of interaction is restricted in Facebook through only allowing people to see the updates of people that have accepted them as a friend.
Google+ even allows you to share content with people who haven’t yet chosen to follow you. If they have selected ‘Incoming’ under their ‘Home’ page, this opens up their stream to people who have them in their circles. This is another way to get your work and your brand out there and build a network.
10. Great for getting inspired.
Google+ has some excellent features that allow you to specify certain topics you want to follow in real time from over the web, for one, in the form of the Sparks tool.
Use Google+ to follow well known creatives if you wish, to see their own streams of content, that you can categorise into specific circles.
The photos area in your profile allows you to see all the pictures coming through from you circles, which can provide for some very quick inspirational reference as well.
These aren’t the only cool elements on offer that I’ve seen, so have a look at Google+ yourself.
If you want in-depth guidance on using Google Plus properly, check out our new course on using Google+ tailored just for freelancers that we are launching…
What else do you think creatives can use Google+ to benefit from?