Let’s see if we’ve got the math right: +1 plus two equals, well, still +1. But better. Confused?
Math makes my brain hurt, so let’s translate: Google is launching two significant upgrades to the +1 button it launched back in June. Each integrates with Google+, the company’s rapidly growing social network, and each comes with potential positives for small businesses.
The first new feature allows your website visitors to click the +1 button and share a page directly with chosen Google+ circles, adding a comment in the process. If your business is online — and especially if you (or your customers) regularly create content for your website — this could become a big traffic boon. In its early going, Google+ already appears to be a major source of referrals to other websites. (Here’s one example.)
The bottom line: If you’ve been dragging your feet on the +1 button, consider this your kick in the pants. Add it. It’s worth plotting alongside your Facebook, Twitter, and other sharing real estate. Here’s the code you need, along with Google’s FAQ on how to use it.
The second new feature is +snippets, which adds a title, image, and short description when a user clicks the +1 button and shares something from your site. Let’s get straight to the bottom line on this one, because it’s good news for online businesses: You can customize the appearance of your +snippets. With a modest amount of code — for which Google provides the template — you get to set the title, image, and description yourself. This is what will appear when someone shares a snippet on Google+. If control (or lack of it) is a social hang-up for your business, +snippet should fit your comfort zone.
Google’s double feature will roll out to users and website owners over a period of the next several days. If you’re antsy, join the Google+ Platform Preview for instant access.
More info is available in the video below.