Google has seen its follies when it comes to social media implementation; we all remember the whole Google Buzz and Wave experiments. Though nothing can quite compare to the sheer size of Facebook, it’s the latest rendition of social networking by Google that has been turning quite a few heads because the platform gives a fresh take on creating connections, sharing content, and doing business.

This is, of course: Google+.

Google+ has seen a very rapid adoption due to a brilliant invite-only campaign which had the blogging community buzzed.

Before long, everyone was invited and Google quickly nabbed up a massive following through the integration of their existing user base of those using a Google account.

Google+ has seen a steady rise, though not as nearly dramatic as other networks, but it doesn’t make it any less of a viable source and tool for business.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the basics of the platform, you’ve probably barely touched, Google+, and how to turn it into something worthwhile (especially for traffic generation).

Getting Situated on the Google+ Platform

If you have a Google account than it’s a high chance that you’re already on Google+ (minus the filled in profile information); for those that want to become active on the service – signing up takes just a few moments of your time.

You’ll feel a familiar design on Google+ as you’ve experienced on other major networks with the exception of a few design differences.

Once you’ve setup the account – go into your ‘profile’ and fill in the vital information including the introduction, occupation, demographics, and, well, everything you’ve come to expect when setting up an online profile.

Working Google+ for Traffic, Networking, and Conversions

Google+ is a social network so there are no “rules” to how to properly use the platform to promote your brand because it’s entirely dependent on what you want to make of it (and the community you’ve built).

There are, however, three immediate methods which provide a great set of benefits for building traffic back to your website (and closing the affiliate sale); these include:

Google Hangouts

Google hangouts is, perhaps, the best feature of the network as it cuts out the need to use other services like GoTo Meeting or Skype. The built in video chat service is excellent for gathering a group of like-minded individuals to discuss a variety of topics. A common usage for hangouts has recently been as a webinar format. But, if selling isn’t something you feel comfortable with – the hangout feature is still an excellent way of getting in touch with people to start up interviews, ask for advice, or just chit-chat about business.

For example: Anyone on the network can use the hangout feature and even jump into on-going hangouts which makes it a very valuable tool for injecting your message and being helpful to the community besides just producing content on your website.

Cross Promote

The lines between social networks have begun to blur; cross promotion to expose your brand and build links is the new norm. Your Google+ follow may be entirely different than other social networks but your message may remain viable to these members of your community – for this reason, cater your work to speak to these types of users and omit the pieces that fail to gain traction with this segmentation of your followers.

For example: Post image heavy posts to Facebook, short updates on Twitter, but in-depth pieces on Google+ to get a big discussion going – and then take it to the next level by hosting a hangout to discuss the topic. Use this time to promote your offers.

Use Targeted Messages

Divide your followers and connections into ‘circle’s so you can craft specific messages to these inner-groups. Additionally, take some time to send direct, targeted messages to other individuals on the platform. Show your value to their brand, regularly reach out and ask if they need help in their projects, and wait for the favor to return when it comes time for them to make a move on the type of information you promote.

For example: Noticed someone mention they have a problem? Send them your tutorial and review of the product/service that handled it.

The Long-Term Prospect of Google+

Google is doing quite a few unique things with their Plus platform. It may not be as massive as Facebook but it certainly draws a group of professionals that want to avoid the dribble that has seemed to become the norm on Facebook.

The use of hangouts is a wonderfully implemented feature that’s sure to aid in building your affiliate marketing business, and the authorship element (when linked to your site) can do wonders for building your brand.

In all, Google+ is a great place for building your business, connecting with great people, and driving said people back over to your site. It’s a traffic powerhouse if used correctly. You should be on it.

Are you on Google+?