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Posts Tagged ‘Epiphanies Inc.’

A Different Kind of Marketing Conference

Monday, November 10th, 2014


When you see “Dare. Play. Breakthrough.” on the signs promoting a business conference, you know you’re in for a different kind of experience.

The ‘A-Ha!’ Summit, which this agency helped launch back in 2009, is celebrating its sixth year of bringing the latest information in marketing and social media to New Hampshire professionals. This year, the conference is happening from 9 am to 4 pm, Thursday (Nov. 13) at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

Lani and Allen Voivod, the co-owners of Epiphanies, Inc. in Gilford and co-founders of the Summit, say that they’re thrilled to showcase “top experts in email marketing, mobile marketing, digital media, Instagram for business, content creation, results-driven success coaching, community building, online visibility, and energetic technology.”

The mix, they say, has to do with delivering the right combination of cutting-edge stuff, plus topics that help people get better at the things they’re already doing, and sessions and activities that get people out of their comfort zones.

Definitely not your typical business event.

Of course, we’ve been to the conference every year, and there’s a great opportunity for networking, too, since it draws attendees from a wide range of industries. Business owners, entrepreneurs, marketing managers and staff, and nonprofits groups have all been represented in the past.

One new wrinkle in the event is their keynote speaker, Roderick Russell, and his bio is unusual, to say the least. He’s described as a “professional sword swallower, mentalist, hypnotist and  speaker, driven by an intense desire to explore the fringe of human experience. The author and host of Remarkably Human: The Art & Science of Being Remarkable, his work has been also featured on the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, CNN, MTV, Maxim Magazine, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.” Seems like the right guy to be giving a talk called “Dare to Be Remarkable.”

The other notable in the agenda is the “Online Domination” panel, which promises to cover “branding, responsive design, Internet performance, inbound marketing, search engine optimization, and trend-watching in business for 2015 and beyond.” And what conference would be complete without a free lunch and continental breakfast?

Lani and Allen tell us there are a few seats left, and the place to get tickets is at http://AhaSummit.com. Be sure to find us there and say hello!

3 Ways NH Businesses Can Think Bigger About Facebook

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Last month, our company released a free special report, The State of NH on Facebook. The report was designed to help professionals get a better understanding of New Hampshire’s Facebook users: The sheer volume of them (two-thirds of eligible residents), the activities and interests that matter to them and their demographics. We also included practical tactics and ideas for how businesses can make use of this information to engage their audiences, boost their brand visibility, and yes, even increase leads and sales.

Since March 22, when the report launched, its findings have been featured on the front page of the Union Leader’s Business section, in New Hampshire Business Review’s News Browser and on itswebsite and on many Patch.com outlets catering to hyperlocal audiences. The report has also been shared dozens of times from our own company’s Facebook Page, and virally to thousands of others on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other people’s social channels.

The upshot?

There is an undeniable recognition by media and professionals alike of Facebook’s role in the now and future success of any business of any size.  The challenge is, most people and companies still haven’t really tapped into the power and possibility of this behemoth social platform.

And there’s a bigger picture, too. Businesses in the Granite State don’t just promote their products and services for New Hampshire customers and clients. They’re marketing to regional, national and international audiences and Facebook is a crucial piece of the marketing matrix.

Here are three other pieces of that matrix, and how Facebook plays a role in each of them:

1.     International focus. This applies to exporters in any industry, businesses with offices abroad, and for travel and tourism businesses here in New Hampshire, to give just three examples. Of Facebook’s 1 billion-plus users, about 85 percent of them are outside the United States. A December 2012 survey of world social networks shows that Facebook is the dominant network in 127 out of 137 countries surveyed!

Whether you’re promoting a product, a service or an experience, you can reach your audience in more cost-effective ways than you ever could before, wherever they are in the world, thanks to Facebook. And international users are also heavy mobile users, which leads neatly into the next point.

2.     Mobile users. More than half of its users access Facebook from a mobile device, and 15 percent of its users access Facebook ONLY from a mobile device. This has huge implications for every business, in New Hampshire and beyond – it’s time to get serious about a mobile strategy, including how your website and email newsletters appear on mobile devices.

Here’s one more remarkable statistic to consider for brick and mortar businesses. The majority of searches made on mobile devices for local products and services are acted upon within one hour of the search. That means mobile users are looking to spend money right now. Are you ready to be found by them on mobile devices?

3.     Integration strategy. There’s so much talk about social media marketing, sometimes it’s easy to forget that Facebook is not the be-all, end-all. It’s impressive, yes, for its reach and influence, as well as for being the world’s largest marketing database. But in Marketing 101 terms, it’s just a channel.

Don’t lose sight of the many channels you manage (i.e., email, PR, website, etc.), by treating Facebook as an island unto itself. Your best bet is to make sure your promotional campaigns actively involve multiple marketing channels, and maintain brand and messaging consistency across them.

There is a world of value to be had by creating a powerful, engaging Facebook presence. There’s also a world of value outside Facebook’s borders. It’s never been more important for you to take the reigns, broaden your horizons, and find the right fit for Facebook in your overall business success strategy.

It’s our passion and purpose to help forward-thinking professionals take advantage of the opportunities presented by Facebook, to connect more meaningfully, effectively, and efficiently with the people who matter. Don’t let fear or overwhelm get in your way. Facebook represents a bigger shift in the business landscape that may ultimately determine if you’re in business five years from now or not.

Whether you use the information in The State of NH on Facebook report; register for our upcoming Facebook Business Accelerator training program; or find your own ways to harness the power of the world’s biggest social network, now is the time to take action.


The future of your own ventures, and New Hampshire’s overall economy, depends on you!


About Epiphanies, Inc.

Hailed as ”visionary” and “two of the most creative thinkers in the industry” by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, and the Division’s social media consulting agency since 2009, Lani and Allen Voivod share powerful social marketing strategies through speaking, events, workshops and their online channels. Their company, Epiphanies, Inc., engages leaders, inspires entrepreneurs and helps redefine what’s possible for bold brands, innovative businesses and mission-driven organizations. Join their Facebook community at http://facebook.com/AhaYourself, and learn more about their Facebook Business Accelerator at http://AhaFB.com.


Economic Potpourri

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

All sorts of good, interesting and useful news is crossing our desk this week, so without further adieu:

Hats off to the Hannah Grimes Center over in Keene, which received the first Champion in Action award of 2013, presented by Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV, in the category of strengthening communities. The prize includes a $35,000 grant.

Hannah Grimes Center: Champion in Action

Hannah Grimes, for which the center is named, was born in 1776 in Keene and lived on a farm in neighboring Roxbury. What she and her family could not produce on their land, they bought and bartered for from friends, keeping the 18th century economy moving and growing.

With her life as inspiration, the organization bearing her name began in 1997 as a retail marketplace for local products. More than 15 years later, it includes a business incubator providing office space for new and emerging businesses to start, grow, thrive and move out on their own.

Hannah Grimes’ Entrepreneurship Program is a six-month intensive program focusing on raising current businesses to the next level of operation. Graduates of the program report an average sales increase of 68 percent in one year.

The original Hannah Grimes Marketplace continues to grow and now supports more than 270 local artisans, cooks and farmers. The center recently established a partnership to strengthen and support the area’s growing regional food system, which will help improve farm income, create jobs in the food production industry, and stimulate economic productivity and food self-sufficiency in the region.

The Champions in Action program was launched in 2002 by Citizens Bank and WMUR to support nonprofit organizations in their efforts in local communities.

Congratulations to everyone at Hannah Grimes.

We’ve been talking trade a lot here at the Division of Economic Development because there is so much interest in the opportunities the world over has for New Hampshire companies.

For companies that have made the leap overseas, the International Trade Resource Center has a terrific seminar coming up on Feb. 13, International Marketing: Putting Your Best Face Forward. It’s a full day of tips including how to increase website traffic and using social media in other parts of the world.

Speakers include Nancy Clark, president of Glen Group in North Conway; Allen Voivod of Epiphanies Inc., in Gilford, and Wendy Pease of Rapport International in Sudbury, Mass.

Cost is $95 and includes breakfast and lunch. Go ahead and click over to register here.

(We’ll wait for you to come back.)

It’s lights, camera, action next week for an Amherst company, which will be featured on the popular television series, World’s Greatest, which is produced by How2Media.

Vibrac is a small manufacturer marking its 53rd year and it makes the world’s most sensitive torque measurement instruments, used in aerospace, military, defense, medical, bearing and the automotive industry.

We are especially pleased with this recognition, as our folks at the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance program has worked with Vibrac. The piece is set to air Feb. 4 and 11.

“Very importantly, they are not resting on their longevity,” said GordonFreeman, executive producer of the show. “They continue to launch new product lines of precision measurement instruments to help multiple industries. That makes them a company we like to feature on World’s Greatest. We think their story will be meaningful to our viewers.”

We think so, too. Click on the media link above to see where it will air near you.

We’re heading over to the 8th annual Small Business Day next Friday, Feb. 8. Brought to you by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the half-day event will take a look at federal health care reform, financing strategies for your small business, the new LLC act and an update on policy issues from legislators.
Gov. Maggie Hassan will also attend.
Cost is $15 and you need to register. Call 224-5388×116 or click here.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development

Let’s Get Social …

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Social media. It’s the buzz word these days. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Pinterest. The world can’t be found just in your grandfather’s newspaper anymore – it’s only as far as your computer screen and keyboard.

How to navigate these exits off the worldwide web is now a necessary part of the way we do business and that’s one of the reasons we helped Lani and Allen Voivod of Gilford-based Epiphanies Inc. to found the A-Ha Social Business Summit. It’s happening at Southern New Hampshire University Friday, Nov. 16 and we hope you will join us.

(Today is the last day for early bird registration and now in its fourth year, it’s always been a sell out.)

Naturally, if you can’t make the live event, Allen and Lani have added a Digital Pass option, so you can watch the summit in real time, with streaming online video. Also, each session video will be available on demand, via your computer, for a year after the conference.

Presenters and panelists include leaders from Constant Contact; Dyn, Inc.; HubSpot; Stay Work Play; The Common Man; The Moore Center; Southern New Hampshire University; Flyte New Media; Flock Marketing; The Meltwater Group and Epiphanies, Inc.

Topics include mobile marketing, Facebook, Pinterest, online branding, digital engagement, viral video, inbound marketing, content strategies, social storytelling, reputation management, measurement and metrics and more.

Sounds serious and time consuming. But social media can be fun and creative — and it can be done from anywhere, as Lani and Allen found last week when they were stranded in Las Vegas, awaiting a flight home after attending a social media conference.

While we’re on the social media topic this morning, are you following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?

Give us a click. Hope to see you at the summit.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

New Hampshire Division of Economic Development



Annual Economic Development Summit a “Declaration of Inspiration”

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Just as inspiration has led countless Granite State entrepreneurs to create products and services that are changing the world, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development is hoping its annual gathering will spark the ideas that result in business formation.

Burns Development Group Principal Linda Burns

“The Declaration of Inspiration” is the theme of the 16th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit to be held at Church Landing in Meredith on Tuesday, December 13th from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

“Inspiration is what drives entrepreneurs to develop new ideas, attempt the impossible and stand tall in a highly competitive business environment,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Christopher Way. “It’s only fitting that we use our annual summit to recognize the great companies that are responsible for growing our economy while also opening the door for new prospective business owners to network with economic development practitioners and partner organizations.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be Burns Development Group Principal Linda Burns, a national site selector with over 30 years experience in corporate recruitment relocation and expansion strategies; economic development and workforce assessment, target marketing, government relations, and non-profit organizational planning.  She brings public sector insight to her consulting due to her years of partnering with the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s cities and the State to market and recruit major companies to Texas, including the corporate headquarters of AT&T, Comerica, Research in Motion/Blackberry, and Blockbuster. Burns will discuss how New Hampshire economic developers and businesses can work together to foster an environment that is attractive to site selectors looking to place clients interested in relocation or expansion.

In addition to the keynote address, there will be two interactive business panels offered. The “Leading the Pack – Inc. 5000” panel will feature a group of New Hampshire businesses including Rustic Crust and Dyn that were featured on this year’s Inc. 5000 list while the “Business Underground –  Rising to the Top” panel will feature a group of emerging companies including EARTHTEC, Animetrics and Tradeport USA that are known for their innovation and cutting edge technology. Other sessions will feature Glen Group Owner Nancy Clark who will discuss “How to Survive When Your Industry is Considered an Expense” and Epiphanies Inc. Co-Owner Allen Voivod who will present “Safety in Numbers: The Crowdsourcing of Inspiration.”

For the third consecutive year, Scott Spradling of the Spradling Group (www.spradlinggroup.com) will be the guest emcee. As a special touch, Melissa Koerner of Friend Your Body (www.friendyourbody.com) will kick off the day by getting attendees’ blood circulating and sharing a few tips for transforming health while “on the go.” Entertainment will be provided by local musician Jim Tyrrell (www.jimtyrrell.net) whose third full-length album “Onward to Yesterday” was released in 2010. The “Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence” will also be presented.

Admission to the 16th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit is free due to the generosity of event sponsor Public Service of New Hampshire. New Hampshire Business Review is the Summit’s media sponsor.

“Public Service of New Hampshire is once again happy to support this great conference which brings together businesses, economic developers and elected officials to help build our state’s economy,” said Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott. “All economic development starts with good ideas and I look forward to the networking, information sharing and exchange of views at this signature event.”

To register for the Summit, please email Catherine Goff at cgoff@dred.state.nh.us or call 271-2341.

The Men in Black Take Over the Airwaves…

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

We’re from the government and we’re here to help you….honestly we are.

Last night, we unveiled a new series of ads that will be running for the next few months on WBIN. The whole premise of our “Men in Black” campaign is that appearances are deceiving and even though we may appear bureaucratic with the business apparel, we are a “roll up your sleeves and get work done” type of operation.

Just the same as this blog issued a “no bull” edict when we launched it back in 2009, we make the same pledge now with this new ad campaign – we take the economy very seriously and we’re always available to help your business no matter where you are in the growth cycle. So get the popcorn ready, gather the family and enjoy our new spots.

Special thanks to our friends at Public Service of New Hampshire for their sponsorship, to WBIN (especially Kathy Schubert and Aaron Hatin) for conducting such fun and professional shoots, to my partner in crime Allen Voivod from Epiphanies Inc. for  always being such a great creative sounding board and collaborator and to Jim Tyrrell (www.jimtyrrell.net) for playing a mean guitar!  

The Little Bull That Could…

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s blog is an award-winning communications vehicle…..really…..no bull.

The Division’s “No Bull Business Blog” was recognized with an “excellent” rating in the 2011 Literature & Promotions Competition at the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) 55th Annual Conference recently held at the Sheraton in Burlington, VT.

“We’re very excited that the blog has once again received a very favorable rating from our peers,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher. “When we created the ‘No Bull Business Blog’ with our social media partners from Epiphanies, Inc., we set a goal of presenting business information in an interesting, entertaining, non-bureaucratic way. It’s gratifying to know that others in the economic development community feel that we’re hitting the mark.”

The Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) was formed in 1956 to promote economic and industrial development in the Northeastern region of the United States. The association encourages an informal exchange of ideas and serves as a medium by which its members can benefit from the experiences of other professionals.

To sign up for the No Bull Business Blog, visit http://blog.nheconomy.com/. The Division of Economic Development is also accessible at www.nheconomy.com http://www.facebook.com/NoBullBusiness and http://twitter.com/NoBullBlog.

“Power Lunch” Provides Unique Access to Social Media Experts

Monday, October 17th, 2011

When most people hear the term “power lunch,” they think business suits, martinis and high pressure deals. At the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit scheduled for October 27th at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, “Power Lunch” means having a unique opportunity to pick the collective brains of social media experts across a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines.

Fittingly enough, Public Service of New Hampshire is the sponsor of the Summit’s luncheon which will see one expert per table providing their skills, expertise and advice in a smaller group setting.

“Social media is an incredibly important tool for businesses throughout the state, and we’re extremely pleased to be able to connect companies with the experts who can help them move their communications efforts forward,” said Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott. “The ‘power’ in this Power Lunch comes from having a chance to ask relevant questions of a uniquely talented group of professionals who are setting the tone in social media every day.”

The Summit, produced by Epiphanies, Inc. in coordination with the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, will feature keynote speaker Abby Fichtner, Evangelist for Startups at Microsoft discussing how to “Follow Your Own Path” as well as:

Lou Bortone (online visibility expert) – “Let’s Get Engaged! The Dream Wedding of Online Video and Social Media”

Steve Boucher (New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director) – “The No Bull Pursuit of Creativity in Business Blogging”

Nancy Clark (President and Owner Girl of the Glen Group) – “The Art of Fearless Storytelling”

Walter Elly (V2 Strategic Advisors) – “Social Media in Strange Places”

Ric Pratte (Meltwater Buzz Director) – “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: The Business Impact of Social Consumers”

Corissa St. Laurent (Constant Contact) – “Wonder Twin Powers….Activate! The Email and Social Media Super Duo”

Kevin Skarritt (CEO of Flock Marketing) – “Under the Influence: The New Social VIPs and Their Power Over Your Future”

Lani Voivod (Co-owner of Epiphanies, Inc.) – “Blip, Spurt, Dash: How to ‘A-Ha!’ Yourself and Your Biz With the Social Web”

Allen Voivod (Co-owner of Epiphanies, Inc.) – “Succeed in the Social Realm, You Will: 7 Jedi Strategies for Mastering the Social Media Force”

“This whole day is designed to be an electric, inspiring experience for attendees,” said event organizer Allen Voivod. “It’s a day to generate ideas, spark conversations and ignite positive, purpose-fueled action. It’s going to help you raise your marketing and success game overall, and raise your team and your business up with you.”

The registration fee for the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” New Hampshire Social Media Business Summit is $75. For additional details, visit www.AhaNH.com.

Expand, Engage, and Lead at the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The word is in and the pace of change in social media has now eclipsed the speed of light. With Google+ on the scene, Facebook has responded to the pressure by rolling out powerful new features to stay competitive. What’s more, Facebook is announcing even more changes to their platform at the huge annual “f8” conference.

To help New Hampshire-based professionals get focused, spark conversations, tune into the energy of the almighty “A-Ha!”, and ignite positive, purpose-fueled action on the Social Web, Epiphanies, Inc., in coordination with the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, will host the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, NH.

“Social media is no longer an option for businesses and organizations,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Chris Way. “The business case has been made that these tools are just as necessary as traditional marketing methods – and in most cases even more effective. Our own “No Bull” Business Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and SlideShare channels have been terrific for our visibility, and we’re proud to partner with Epiphanies on this signature event for the third year in a row.”

Lani and Allen Voivod, co-owners of Epiphanies Inc. and co-founders of the “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit, will again design and deliver the Summit, and serve as featured speakers for the day-long event. Other speakers at the Summit include:

–Abby Fichtner (Keynote), Evangelist for Startups at Microsoft and a highly regarding blogger in the Agile development field. “I have the most excellent job of getting to help startups build out the next generation of software,” she says. “I’m extremely passionate about how we can develop better software and am always seeking new ways to share knowledge with the community.”

–Lou Bortone, online visibility expert and YouTube video pro with more than 20 years under his belt as a marketing and branding executive with national media including Fox, E! Entertainment Television, The Family Channel and NBC.

–Steve Boucher, Communications and Legislative Director for the NH Division of Economic Development, whose “No Bull Business Blog” was rated “Best in Show” and “Excellent” over the last two years by the nine-state Northeast Economic Developers Association.

–Nancy Clark, Chief Strategist and President of Glen Group, a “fearlessly creative” and award-winning NH ad agency based in North Conway. Nancy is often nicknamed the “Owner Girl” at “New Hampshire’s Best Agency with Big Ideas.”

–Ric Pratte, Director of the Meltwater Buzz Social CRM platform for The Meltwater Group, a global reputation management firm with 800+ employees in 55 offices on six continents (including one in Bedford, NH).

–Corissa St. Laurent, Regional Development Director for Constant Contact, the undisputed leader of Engagement Marketing™ for hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world.

–Kevin Skarritt, serial entrepreneur, founder of Flock Marketing, and Communications Director for Michigan CHI, the Michigan Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.

“This is NOT a ‘101’ training-type event, though it’s definitely suitable for both newbies and experienced users, too,” adds Lani Voivod. “While there will be countless and specific tactics and strategies shared throughout the day by our featured speakers and many other New Hampshire business leaders and new media trailblazers, the Summit will showcase what’s happening and what’s possible in the social space throughout the Granite State and the world at large.”

Continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments are included for all attendees. In addition, popular NH singer/songwriter Jim Tyrrell will make an encore appearance at this year’s Summit, playing great music throughout the day. A networking reception, door prizes, Segway demonstrations, and (conditions pending) a demonstration of the longest zip line in the continental U.S. are also in store. Space is limited, and the previous two Summits sold out weeks in advance. To learn more, and get 50% off tickets by the early-bird deadline, go to http://www.AhaNH.com.

10 Rousing Reasons Google+ Is Worth Your Time and Action

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Lani and Allen Voivod of Epiphanies, Inc., a social marketing and success strategies firm in Gilford. Lani and Allen speak at events and lead workshops and webinars for entrepreneurs, bold brands, and mission-driven organizations (including their annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summits). They’ve also served as advisors and collaborators on the Division’s social presence since May 2009.

You can follow @LaniVoivod, @AllenVoivod, and @EpiphaniesInc on Twitter, ask questions on their Facebook Wall, and connect with +Lani and +Allen on Google+.

At twenty million users and growing since its beta launch on June 28, 2011, Google+ is definitely making waves.

Not the lifeless ripples of Google’s previous attempts at social – including Wave, Buzz, even Orkut – but waves of the Hawaii Five-O kind. Waves that thrill and inspire the adventure seekers, risk takers, and trailblazers of this dynamic new-world economy.

Even though it’s early days yet, please know Google+ is not only surviving, but already thriving as THE new social network contender to rival Facebook. If you haven’t been swept into its current yet, which is still on an invite-only basis, Google+ does seem a bit copycat-ish to the reigning champion of social networks.

“[Google+] is a collection of different social products,” explains Ben Parr in Mashable’s Google+: The Complete Guide. “These features include Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Huddle (a group texting service), Circles (a friend management service) and Photos.”

But the whole of Google+ and its implications for business and professional success are much, much more than the sum of their parts. With that in mind, dive in with us as we share 10 smart, strategic reasons why Google+ deserves your attention.

1. It’s Baggage-free (so far)

How many times has Facebook annoyed YOU with unannounced user interface changes, lack of customer service responsiveness, or one privacy incident after another? Google+ carries none of that baggage.

And you know what other baggage it doesn’t carry? All the relationships you have on Facebook. You get to start all over again. Maybe do things a little differently this time. It’s an attractive idea for a lot of people, especially those who feel like they’re stuck under Facebook’s thumb.

2. It *Looks* Simple

“They” used to say that MySpace looked like the Vegas Strip when compared to Facebook’s cool, crisp design. Now it’s Facebook that looks like a Lady Gaga rodeo, while Google+ looks like a clean, well-lighted place. Early adopters have cited this clean, simple design aesthetic as one of the big reasons they’re singing the praises of Google+ over Facebook.

Google has always celebrated simplicity as part of its brand experience. Dig the home page, which currently has no superfluous text, and back when it did, it wasn’t more than the length of a tweet. Only the absolute necessities remain, like navigation choices for search, plus advertising and business programs, because that’s where the bucks come from.

3. Lists Are Square, Circles Aren’t

Google has People, Facebook has Friends. Google has Circles, Facebook has Lists. You can add up to 5,000 People into your Google Circles, and you can have up to 5,000 Friends on Facebook. Big whoop.

How they work, though, is a whole different story. The unsung hero of web design is UI – the User Interface. Consider the seminal book on UI, Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. You have to think reeeeeeeeeal hard about creating a List in Facebook. Lists aren’t even mentioned in any of the “Using Facebook” links in the main help browsing page! (Psst – click “Account” in the top right, then “Edit Friends,” then look in the top right corner of the center column for the “+Create a List” button.)

Google’s got it dialed. Click the Circles button. Find people. Drag and drop into Circles. Easy. Intuitive. Done.

4. Stream Control

Head’s up for the Facebook gamer haters sick of seeing your Friends’ Farmville and Mafia Wars updates and requests in your feed. (You do know you can block those, right?) What happens in Google+ Games stays on a Google+ Games Stream. No mixing it in with your other Circles.

Plus, so far there’s no secret formula about what appears in your Stream (a la Facebook’s “EdgeRank” news feed algorithm). The latest posts from peeps in your Circles are what appear at the tops of your Streams. In other words, you’ve got more control over what you see and what you want to see. Yippee!

5. Picasa Power

An alternative to Flickr, Picasa Web Albums is Google’s photo app, and it used to be that you had a 1 GB storage limit. Not anymore! When you upload photos to Google+, it uses Picasa’s engine as your photo management system, and you can edit your photos right in G+. Bonus – those G+ photos don’t count toward your Picasa storage limit.

Even better, you can view photos shared by people in your Circles while seeing at a glance which ones are generating the most comments. In our image-driven culture, these tech tweaks are pretty big deals.

6. Hangouts Are Hip ‘n Happening

Maybe it’s just us, but it seems the world greeted the Facebook/Skype integration announcement last month with a collective “meh.” A week earlier, Google+ introduced its Hangouts video chat app, and hands down it’s the most acclaimed feature of the network to date.

“The ten-person video chats (Hangouts) are awesome and a wonderful way to add more intimacy to real-time connecting/social networking,” says Mari Smith, one of the world’s leading relationship marketing experts and our own social media mentor, in What’s So Exciting About Google+ – An Overview. “I’m seeing and hearing about many cool, creative uses of Hangouts, such as: cooking demos, live tattooing, seven-hour concerts, pizza parties, and live news broadcasts.”

7. Search Plus One = INFLUENCE

Where do people do the lion’s share of their Internet searches? Yup, in Google. So when you see the search results, do you see Facebook’s Like Button? Nope! You see the Google +1s.

It’s been widely reported (and just makes good common sense) how much we all trust opinions posted online – from friends and strangers both – far more than we trust advertisements. So think of your own behavior. If you search for a baby stroller, and in the results, one site shows 3 +1s and another site shows 30 +1s, which are you more likely to trust, and click through to? This tiny little “+1” box becomes quite the power player in the world of social influence, sales, and ultimately, business success.

8. Algorithms, Anyone?

If people +1 your webpages and blog posts, doesn’t that make you more relevant in your industry than someone who isn’t getting those +1s? It sure does. What should Google make of that? They’re in the business of serving up relevant content on search engine results pages (SERPs). Raise your hand if you think Google will start factoring +1s into its search algorithms. Okay, now put your hand down and keep reading.

9. It’s Smart Business

Early reports claim that Google+ is filled predominantly with male geeks in tech-related jobs. These reports remind me of a marketing seminar I attended years ago, where one piece of advice was to be the only marketing expert in a roomful of dentists.

Right now, service professionals, business owners, self-employed go-getters, and brand mavens of all stripes have the chance to be real stand outs in their fields, before Google+ opens its doors to the masses. This is precious time during which savvy folks can make connections, boost visibility, nurture relationships, expand networks, and create opportunities with innovators, entrepreneurs, biz mavericks, and industry luminaries who are ahead of the curve in the social and tech realms. In these radically-shifting times, such a competitive and strategic edge can make all the difference.

These people – the Doers, Creators, Movers, and Shakers – understand the Bigger Picture. In many cases, Google+ pioneers know what’s going on – even live and breathe it! – and are forging the future of possibility for the sit-and-waiters and the let’s-see-what-happens-before-we-do-anything types.

It all adds up to invaluable connections with extraordinary, exponential, and infinite potential.

10. Tomorrow Is Coming…

Believe it or not, Google is still calling Google+ a “Project,” and it’s still officially in beta. Yet it’s probably the biggest-ever beta test in the world at this point, and it’s only getting bigger.

Think of what’s not in place yet: Ads, business pages, and integration with other Google features like Places, Latitude, Offers, Calendar, and Checkout. Google+ also has the unbelievable advantage of learning from Facebook’s trials and errors, and building tools and apps that are superior right out of the gate. Not to mention Google’s dominance in mobile (Android), video (YouTube), and search.

When it comes to the social space, Google may have been a little like Baby Huey in the past, but it looks like all its acquisitions and expansions are ready to step into their destinies and ascend to the next exciting level of purpose-driven ingenuity.

But What About Facebook?

Now, you could read this all and think, “Should I just ditch Facebook and head over to Google+?” Fact remains, Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. More than 150 million people in the U.S. have an account. What’s even crazier is that for every U.S. account, there are four non-U.S. ones.

It’s gonna take a HUGE mistake on Facebook’s part for them to lose that #1 position. So regardless of whether you or your company engages with consumers, other businesses, the government, or non-profits, you still need a business presence on Facebook. (Unless you’re Apple, the company that once again and always proves there’s an exception to every rule.)

What’s more, Google has a history of doing things not to become #1 in a field, but to give the #1 player a kick in the coding. The Chrome browser is a prime example. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari work just fine, right? What’s the point of Google making its own browser? To keep the other three from resting on their laurels. To ensure that you and I have a great Internet usage experience. That, of course, benefits Google, where nearly all Internet search roads lead.

Hopefully by now, you’ve got Facebook handled well enough that you can spare a few of those social media moments you spend each day to start playing with Google+.

If not…please don’t let anymore time go by. All this social media brouhaha may be overwhelming, frustrating, or confusing, but it’s part of a bigger shift in how people are connecting, sharing, and communicating.

Be brave. Be bold. Play around and be patient with yourself. You can do this. And if you need an invite, post a message on our Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Wall and we’ll do what we can to help you out. Or, if you’re already on Google+, please connect with us there: Lani Voivod, Allen Voivod.

After all, we’re all riding the curl of this ever-evolving socio-economic ecosystem together!