“Early adoption of social media platforms like Google+ will reap plenty of business benefits.”

While Google+ is relatively new, it is for this very reason that small businesses should embrace it now and gain a head start on the competition.

Early adoption of social media platforms like Google+ will reap plenty of business benefits – there’s the ‘Communities’, tab which allows you to join public and private interest groups (inviting potential customers and business associates to join is a good way to foster a sense of your brand’s exclusivity) while the ‘Hangouts’ tab is a messenger service, and a pretty slick one at that – you can host live video calls with up to 10 people, for example.

Then there’s the ‘Business’ app, where you can create a business page that’ll come up on Google searches and maps, and performs better on Google’s SEO ranks than a Facebook or Twitter page.

In the past six months the platform has blossomed and a steady stream of private users and businesses have signed up, meaning there are now some excellent third-party Google+ tools you can tap into – they’ll save you time and, through analytics, will measure your effectiveness and your competition.

Here are four to consider:

  • CircleCount 

This tool provides Google+ statistics and you can run various searches by user, location and keywords to find details of other Google+ users and business pages. It’s a great way to find and connect with customers, clients and stakeholders. It’ll analyse your activity and engagement based on your updates and tell you when is the best time to post content, also displaying the average response per post and your page growth, so you can easily monitor how effective your content is.

  • MyGPlusFeed 

CEO of RazorSocial and social media writer Ian Cleary says you should grow your presence on Google+ by setting up as an RSS feed. A format for delivering regularly changing web content, RSS is a much faster way of sifting through information rather than visiting blogs or Google+ pages individually. “You can also set up Google+ as an RSS feed using Yahoo! Pipes. When you are on a Google+ profile have a look at the web address. Copy the numbers displayed within this web address and paste into MyGPlusFeed in Yahoo! Pipes. Underneath this you will see options for adding to an RSS feed, for example Google reader,” he says.

  • Circloscope 

This is basically a monitoring tool that allows you to remove inactive users, un-circle people who do not circle you back and a host of other management functions. It gives you complete information about and analysis of your circles, followers and people who you engage with, allowing users to create highly targeted circles in just a few minutes.

  • All my + 

This allows you to search and view detailed user statistics and information: “Such as the posts they made, when they made them, the interactions they had and much more. Picking a popular Google+ user in your niche will help you understand how they grow their following,” Cleary adds.

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