Previously, I shared a post about how to set up a Google+ account. In this post, I’m going to show you some of the tools and features within Google+ that you can use to build exposure and leads for your business. But first, let me clarify what makes Google+ an important marketing tool.

Unlike Facebook, Google+ has morphed into being known as more of a business social media platform than a personal one. And with more than 90 million users, it’s still growing strong. Not to mention, Google+ is integrated with Google search results and other Google products that can support local businesses. Read on for some of the built-in features of Google+ that you can use to support your business online.

Integrated Google Search

As I mentioned above, Google+ is integrated with Google search results when you’re logged into your Google+ account. This means that when you conduct a Google search, your Google+ connections will come up in search results if they are relevant in any way to your search. You’ll also see their likes, and so on and, in turn, they can see yours. This can create great exposure for a local business that has built up a nice Google+ following given that Google is the most widely used search engine online.

Google +1 Feature

The Google+ “+1” feature is similar to the Facebook “Like” button. You can use it on your website, blog posts, and so on, so people can show their support and stamp of approval for your business.

Google+ Circles

Google+ Circles allows you to group your Google+ contacts into “Circles” so you can more easily market or communicate with specific groups. For example, if you identify a group of consumers who are similar or often have similar questions or issues, you can group them into a “Circle” and send targeted communications to them.

Google+ Hangout

The Google+ Hangout feature allows you to create an online conference with leads, new customers, and others to educate them about products or services you offer and more. It’s a great way to change, influence, and affect your target market.

For more detailed information on how to use some of these features and others, check out the Google+ Help and Google+ Home pages.

Chris Marentis is founder and CEO of Surefire Social, a local Internet marketing company.