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Google+ for Event Planning

Google+ gets an A+ for planning and promoting events. Try it now with our step-by-step sidebar, and position yourself on the cutting-edge of social media’s next best thing.

By Allan Britnall

If you haven’t already heard of Google+ (pronounced “Google plus”), you soon will. The search engine giant’s foray into social networking reportedly had 10 million users just over two weeks after it launched to the general public last fall. 

Widely regarded as Google’s answer to Facebook, the platform is still in the beta stage, with new features being added regularly. But, already, there are some key features that make Google+ a fantastic tool for planning and producing events.

“There are a whole bunch of things you can do before, during, and after an event to promote and create a long tail around it using Google+,” says Vancouver-based social media expert Shane Gibson. “You can distribute the content, photos, and videos of the event, tag people with it” and engage in various other social media exercises, all from one platform he says. For example, utilizing Goggle Hangouts, you can host videoconferences to coordinate and plan your next event, then stream live video from it for clients who couldn’t attend.

But the key feature that sets Google+ apart from Facebook is that you create various “circles”—which can be as broad as “friends” or as specific as “repeat attendees to annual R&D conference”—and then assign each of your contacts to one or more groups. What this lets you do is target your messages to specific groups of contacts, rather than just blasting your whole list. “It makes all your messages relevant, so people don’t ‘mute you’,” says Gibson.

Need more incentive to sign up? Google’s search engine has been tweaked to give preference to online content that has been given a “+1” rating by Google+ users. Positive feedback on your Google+ postings will move you to the top of the list.

Getting started, Step-by-Step
Jump on the Google Train. You need a Gmail or Google account to log into Google+, so, if you don’t already have either, getting one is the first step.

Pick the Plus. Go to Google.com and click on the little +You icon at the top left of the screen.

Here I am. Fill in your profile information and upload a photo.

Circulate. Start building circles. Friends, family, co-workers are the default settings, but you can create as many small or large groups as you like: company owners, senior executives, event planners, PR people, media contacts, etc.

Needy + Nice. Adding contacts to various circles is an easy drag-and-drop operation. And people won’t know which circle(s) you’ve placed them in, so go ahead and create one for “needy clients who ask for too much.”

Hang’n Out. To start a Hangout, you’ll need to download the free Google Voice and Video application. It takes less than a minute to install, and comes with some friendly advice: Check your hair and make sure that your mic works! Then simply select the circle(s) you want to “hang out” with.

Bookmark It
With new features regularly being added to Google+, paperback books can’t keep up. For current information on the platform, you’re better off viewing the tips and tutorials on the Google+ support site or following a blogger, like social media guru Mari Smith. google.com/support/plus, marismith.com

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