The first thing I like to evaluate when looking at a tool is whether it is for personal or business use. Right now Google+ does not have a business option, so while you can evaluate it from a personal standpoint, we don’t know yet what the business offerings are going to be. While you can still use it for business from a thought leadership position, you cannot set up an account as a brand or company. If you do, Google, unlike Facebook, will remove it very quickly. If a tool is for personal use, you should not be discouraged from evaluating it.

I’m not the only one to suggest this to new users, but it bears repeating that trying out a new social media tool first from a personal point of view makes a lot of sense. You can see how others are using it both from a personal and business standpoint. You can make some mistakes on the new tool without hurting your brand. Finally, if the tool isn’t going to work for your company there isn’t an abandoned account for your company that people could stumble upon and think you aren’t engaged.

I don’t know if it because of my different way of looking at things or my experience, but I often find tools that are meant for personal use that I  can see be used as a tool for business. Of course, when this happens you have to double check the terms of service to avoid any violations, but usually it can be a great helper or internal management tool. Not every tool you use has to be for interacting with your audience. It can simply be something that makes work easier for you.

Do you have any advice to share about putting personal before business when evaluating new tools?