Just as financial advisors were starting to figure out LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, the social space just got more complicated. Now Google has added a new social network to the mix called Google+, leaving the financial services world wondering if this, or the other social networks, is really worth the time.

The Social Network Landscape
Although advisors have social media profiles, only a few use social media in a meaningful way, and the industry as a whole is behind most others. But new services mean there is opportunity to catch up to the cutting edge.

A New Option: Google+
"Google+ aims to make sharing on the Web more like sharing in the real world," says Katie Watson, a Google spokeswoman. "You share different things with different people. We started the Google+ project to see if we could come up with a better way of connecting with the different people in all of our lives."

To that end, Google+ came up with new features.

Circles. This feature allows people to categorize their connections. For example, you might have different groupings like family, co-workers, clients, prospects, etc., whose profile pictures are shown in circles rather than lists. Once you are connected with people, it is easy to drag and drop them into the right circles.

This allows you to share messages, pictures, etc., just within the groups you want to, an advantage over Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A picture on your Facebook wall, by contrast, goes out to all your friends and fans.

This is an attractive feature to Blane Warrene, the CEO of Arkovi, a social media archiving company. "You can publish something for your friends and guarantee only your friends see it," he says, "and the same if you want something posted for just businesses. There is no good way to divide that on the other social networks."

Sparks. "This feature," says Watson, "helps you get videos and articles about stuff you are into sent directly to you, so when you're free, there's always something to be watched, read or shared."

Instant Upload. If you want, the photos and videos you take on your phone can be uploaded automatically to a secure album in the cloud.

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