Get All Access for $5/mo

4 Surprising Ways to Use Google+ for Business A look at little-known business features that can help you work more efficiently.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Google+ is more than just Google's answer to Facebook. It's also an all-in-one communication tool and office taskmaster. From filtering email to collaborating with colleagues to hosting video conferences, the search giant's budding social network offers features some business owners might not be aware of.

Here's a look at four ways to use Google+ for everyday business tasks:

1. Filter and organize your Gmail with Google+ Circles. Digging up important messages from a constant barrage of emails can be daunting. But Google+ Circles -- the tool that allows you to group people by relationship or category -- can help you filter and prioritize your inbox. You can quickly find emails from people you've grouped together in Circles based on their roles in your work or personal life.

To begin filtering your Gmail messages via Google+ Circles, log in to your Gmail and click the down arrow adjacent to your Circles. Click on one of the Circles you created to view all of the Gmail messages you've received from individuals in that particular group. You can then filter emails from individual members of that Circle.

Related: How Google+ Can Improve Your SEO (Video)

2. Make Hangouts interactive with virtual sticky notes and whiteboards. Google+ Hangouts are essentially online video chats for up to 10 people. They can make it easy to streamline group projects and meetings. But you might not know they can improve collaboration with the addition of a digital whiteboard and sticky notes to visualize and track your team's progress. You can do this by adding the Symphonical app. The free app lets you and your colleagues create, move and comment on virtual sticky notes on a virtual whiteboard, all while a video chat is in progress. Symphonical sticky notes can help you organize brainstorming sessions, group tasks, individual action items and more.

If you haven't hosted a Google+ Hangout before, you'll need an account linked to Google+. Next, install the Hangout plugin from Google. Log in to Google+ and launch a Hangout with your Google contacts, or anyone else you invite by email who is also on Google+ and has installed the Hangout plugin. You can also stream a Hangout publicly through Google Hangout On Air.

Related: Getting Started on Google+

3. Group edit Google Docs. Editing documents and presentations with your co-workers doesn't have to involve a lot of emails back-and-forth if you use Google+ Hangouts' new Google Docs feature. It lets you create, comment on and revise multiple documents in real-time with your colleagues, while you simultaneously do a video chat.

To begin, log in to your Google+ account and choose "Start a Hangout." Next, access Google Docs by clicking the Docs button. You'll see a list of Google Docs and a list of video chat participants below. Select the documents you'd like to group edit. You can add an existing document to your Hangout, or click Add to create a new one. Use the list on the left-hand side of your Hangout to toggle between the documents you're group editing.

4. Plan and organize events. Whether you're throwing an office party or planning a networking event, make sure everyone is invited by using a tool called Google+ Events, which was launched this summer.

To create an event, open your Google+ account and select Events. Next, click on the Create Event button and add your details such as event title, a start time and an invite list. From there, choose a background design and add a map and directions using Google Maps. You can send the invitation to people in your Google+ Circles, as well as individual email addresses from your Gmail contacts list.

Your event will automatically appear in your Google Calendar. You also can share event photos with fellow attendees during and after the event with Google+ Party Mode.

Related: How the New Google+ Local Tab Could Influence Local SEO

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper,, and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

Kyle Morrand and his college roommates loved playing retro video games — and the pastime would help launch his career.

Business News

A Former Corporate Lawyer Now Makes Six Figures on YouTube — Here's How She Does It

Here are the secrets to starting and growing a successful YouTube channel, according to a YouTuber with millions of subscribers.

Growing a Business

How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Wondering how long your marketing emails should be? Here's what consumers say — so you can send them exactly what they like.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Y Combinator Helped Launch Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox. Here's What I Learned From Its Free Startup School.

The famed startup accelerator offers a free course on building a business — and answers five pressing questions for founders.