When it comes to online business the smallest things can give you a significant competitive edge. If you are an early adopter when something fresh happens then you can steal a march on your competitors that leaves you so far ahead that the competition can never catch up.
This is one of those small things.
Google has just launched a new feature for their Google+ social networking tool suite. It is called Collections.
Google+ Collections is one of those seemingly innocuous releases that could have a significant, positive impact on your business, so let's delve a little deeper and see how you can take advantage right now.
What Exactly Is Google+ Collections?
Collections allows you to gather your posts, pictures and videos together in one place and order them however you want, creating a Collection.
The aim of this feature is to allow Google+ users to group new and existing content together into packages to become even more useful for others.
Collections is different to pages and communities because only the creator of a Collection can edit it. In effect you package content and make it available as a group for anyone who wants it. The collection will appear in your profile stream, publicising it to people who follow you.
Although only launched for android and web initially, iOS support is coming soon, making this a significant new marketing option if you understand where the opportunity lies.
Google+ Collections Is Designed To Take On Pinterest
The social network Pinterest, where users can pin things to boards and allow people to follow and comment has become increasingly dominant in the visual area of social networking.
Google+ Collections seems to be a step towards taking Pinterest on in that area. By allowing Google+ users to curate their content, it can offer remarketing opportunities and more visual opportunities in line with those that currently exist on Pinterest.
It's going to be a great tool for repackaging your existing marketing content and publishing it to your followers, and others who are seeking that type of information. It's an easy and visual way of doing it, which will be especially useful for companies who have visual products.
On top of that, companies who use Google apps for business, and those that access their Google+ page through business email, will benefit because it integrates tightly with these features.
Thousands of companies market through Pinterest. So the same rules are going to apply to Google+ Collections.
Here's Why You Need To Be On This Train
Whenever a new feature is launched on a social network there is usually a clamour to get started with it. On top of that, the social network wants to publicise it.
So if you become an early adopter of Google+ Collections then you are going to stand a much higher chance of getting your new Collections featured. That could mean a significant traffic and follower boost.
By getting your foot in the door early within your industry, you can attract potential customers before your rivals even realise this feature has been launched.
As well as the potential for getting featured, the fact is it could mean your existing followers begin to engage with you more. People love packages that make information gathering easy, so look at creating collections that offer relationship marketing value.
How To Create A Google+ Collection
Within your account click on the Home or My Business tab and then click on the new Collections link.
You will then be prompted to fill in a name for the collection and add a cover image. Make sure you choose something really visually stunning.
You then need to set the visibility of your new collection. You should set it to be shared as widely as possible, as you currently cannot change visibility after creating the collection.
It's then a case of adding content to the new Collection as you wish.
If you want to add existing content into a Collection you can do so by clicking on the new arrow which appears to the right of the share icon. You can even do this by groups of content.
So it's a relatively straightforward process and it allows you to repackage existing content and get it into the face of Google+ Circles that are relevant to the products or services you offer.
Do It Today Or You Won't Ever Do It
I'd suggest strongly that you spend a couple of hours today looking at your existing content, planned content and anything else you can add value, then start creating your first Google+ Collection.
People love visuals, so look at creating visuals. If you are a cake maker then add a collection of your cake photos. If you run a viral news website, create a collection of your best stories and images.
Whatever your business is, there is a new opportunity right now in one of the world's largest social networking arenas, so don't miss out on this one.