From one side all of socialmedia mechanics were tested before it's launch, from the other the market was already divided and not too easy to jump in. Google went all in with soccialmedia madness and topped AlexA ranking thanks to G+.
G+ launched with several techniques that allowed mass growth natural and forced. The first were circle sharing and circle following: You were able to gather people by the criteria like #socialmedia for example then share them as a circle and another person could add them in bulk up to account following limits. The second were suggestions to join to G+ to all the Gmail accounts and conversion of YouTube and Blogger accounts to G+. It was unique ripples visualization that was pretty useful in watching and refining viral techniques. In addition Google made G+ pluses and posts matter much in the search and it's exploded :) SEO and SMM professionals started to use it powerful tool by hand and guess automated and broken ecosystem. I can't say the network has specific audience of webmasters and it's extremely effective in driving traffic to Google friendly resources still.
Naturally people read less and slower than crawler bots, so the place looked crowded and traffic/views were huge and real interactions between people were low or at least significantly lower than on competitors' social networks. One day all this mech magic was rolled back, no circle sharing for now and no ripples visualization too. Instead we've got collections that gathers info (posts) by criteria (topics) not the people and G+ became back ordinary social network, similar to StumbleUpon or Pinterest by the topology.
From the beginning it was to heavy for the existing computers/browsers and in half a year or so the performance became balanced.
There are some limits to keep the system balance, You can keep more the 5000 people in Your circles. You have circling (following) limit until You've got 2000 followers even more strict then on Twitter. You have to use real names. Vanity URLs are granted to page with the verified site, phone and maybe even the payment card attached to profile and over the lowest followers threshold.
G+ API is kind of limited and specific, in my impressions. I can't tell for sure is it just young, is it special Google ninja way or is it the artificial limitations to keep balance and make money of premium services as usual or altogether.
You can do here all the stuff You do on similar networks follow and share, comment and like/fav - plus here. Like all the social networks of more complex style G+ has groups, very close to up to date forum boards and pages for brands or other ventures.
It keeps evolving and even told to be kind of split, set to lower priority or even killed and Google Photos and YouTube accounts separating are kind of trends/proofs. We'll see. I guess the future for G+ is bright and I'll get back to this article on timeout of half a year or a year or on significant changes on G+.
There is brilliant external tool for G+ performance measurement named CircleCount. It's free, useful and I'd recommend it for pro or enthusiastic use of G+ social media network. It can show You Your followers/views grows, provide weekly performance reports with numbers of followers gained, pluses and re-shares achieved to share and many many more in free version. The paid version looks even better and it was too expansive for our needs so I haven't tested it.
Looks like it's going to be a chapter or several on forming goals, getting key performance metrics and measuring effect, comparing SMM to the other tools/media.
I'm going back to games development after years of practical socialmedia use and I've gathered enough material for the book of SocialMedia Magic to be finished and released. Slow but steady.
The book has to be published somehow and I was looking for how exactly. Amazon self publishing platform appeared from the tech side just perfect as for me. The book can be formatted with plain HTML and just packed in .MOBI file for Kindle :)