Google’s launch of Google+ pages for business offers a new opportunity for organizations to connect to their customers, prospects, and partners through online marketing.
While B2B marketers might roll their eyes at yet another social media initiative, there are several compelling reasons “just being there” makes sense and additional exploration will be appropriate:
- Google+ Reach: In early August (or two months into its existence), comScore said Google+ likely had 25 million users, hitting a milestone that took Facebook and Twitter over two years to do. PCMag projects Google+ to have exceeded over 50 million as of late September.
- Social Media Influence: The impact of social networking has an impact in search results, whether personalized or not.
- Google+ Rollout: Google is rolling out Google+ initiatives across product lines, including Google Badges for pages and Google+ extensions in AdWords.
Setting Up Your Google+ Page for Business
Search Engine Land has a nice visual tutorial walking through the process of setting up a Google+ Page for Business. Note that you are required to set up a traditional Google profile before creating your Google+ Page.
Some basic recommendations to consider:
- Create a “Company” Google Profile. Right now, each page is “owned” by a single Google profile and it is simple enough to create one using whatever personal profile a marketer might have. My suggestion would be to create a profile explicitly for the organization on Google+ (and other Google services). This eliminates problems with personal connectivity and in the event a transition in roles is required.
- Create a Complete Google+ Page.Local business listings aside, the only four fields Google+ requires businesses to list at the start are a page name, web address, ten word tagline, and profile photo. Don’t stop there though. Once the page is “created” make sure to edit profile in order to fill out additional information like the page introduction, contact information, and recommended links.
- Upload Photos. I completely agree with Hubspot’s set of recommendations that photos are important to optimizing a Google+ page (and individual profile for that matter). Charts, screenshots, and photos of the office environment all create a much better visual page for potential visitors.
- Index Page Updates & Information. Every update has a unique link, so the more ways an organization can share and cross-link by way of blog posts, social networking links, etc, the better. Make sure to incorporate Google Badges and link your Google+ pageto your site as well.
Google+ Pages Needed Enhancements
The two immediate concerns and limitations I found when registering a Google+ Page were the following:
- No (limited) verification or authentication process
- Lack of multiple administrative ownership
To help combat verification issues with Google+ pages, the inability to create cross-linking via Google+ badge and Google Direct Connect display will be one preventative measure.
Via Search Engine Land: Verification for big brands … is one way Google aims to combat any problems this might cause. Google also told me that until a Google+ page is connected to a web site …, pages also cannot put icons or badges up, nor will they have a chance at being shown in a Direct Connect display.
It is still concerning that anyone can create a representative “brand” page and the implications for online reputation management and customer service will inevitably become an issue.
My understanding is that multiple administrative access will be enabled in future rollouts, but as listed in the previous recommendation set above, having a central point of access will still makes sense.
From purely the user perspective, I do not see an immediately discernible way to know what Google+ Pages I am following. While this is not a significant issue, it would be nice to see for editing or organizational purposes going forward. Otherwise, why not simply use Google Reader, Twitter List, or similar RSS feed for this information?
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Google+ for Pages tie more and more towards the overall “organization using Google” experience. My suspicion is that all of these new initiatives will begin to add significant reason to use additional Google services like Webmaster Tools, Analytics, AdWords, etc.
Interested in Learning More?
Check out our Google+ Curated Page for regular updates that we discover regarding Google+, including announcements, professional perspective, and recommendations. Make sure to follow KoMarketing Associates on Google+ as well.
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