Being fairly new to the social media game, you may not know that much about Google Plus and its benefits.

Created in 2011 and coming after the giants that are Facebook and Twitter, it was first launched as Google Circles. The service was at first invitation-only and for over-18s, however after a huge demand, was open to the wider public.

Many doubted the service, wondering what there was left to offer social media enthusiasts. However, with 500 million users already registered by December 2012, it was clear this network was here to stay.

What is Google Plus?

Like many other social media networks, Google Plus allows its users to send comments, images, files and articles to friends and acquaintances that they are connected to, as well as the wider public. However, its design has been created for users to share more professional, quality content.

Users can share comments others have posted, as well as comment or ‘plus one’ a post, which will be recommended to the people who are in their circles.

The site also contains a feature which allows users to separate those they are following into different circles, so that they can target different content for each target group easily.

What marketing benefits can it provide to your business?

With Facebook and Twitter being so saturated already, it may be hard for your business to stand out or get noticed. However, with Google Plus being a new platform, it means your business may be able to stand out as a market leader and reach those who might not have been found on other social networks. Once you have built up these connections, you will be able to build up quality relationships, which should help you build up a loyal fan base.

New features, such as Hangouts with Google Plus, are also provided. This enables users to video chat with colleagues, potential customers or clients, which could be a great tool to use if brainstorming new ideas or engaging with customers. There is also a ‘Ripple’ tool, which allows you to visualise how your post has travelled across the social network, through the ‘plus one’ service so you can thank customers and target specific marketing at them.

With over 235 million active monthly users too, it would be ludicrous to ignore a service, that could potentially further your business and help you engage with customers.

Why is it different from other social networks?

Google Plus has been designed for the sharing of more quality content, so you may find that you have a more targeted audience who are looking for the type of content that you are publishing.

Being a Google product, there is also big search engine impacts from being on the site. Google has stated that those who use the site will be more visible in terms of SEO, which could mean big business for your company.

About the Author: This article was penned by Richard Towey, a brand journalist at social media marketing firm Red Rocket Media, based in Portsmouth, UK. Read more insights about how businesses can maximise their online profile and reach at the Red Rocket Media blog and on Twitter @redrocketmedia.