Originally started as a social network option for friends and families to connect, Google+ is expanding its offering to now include businesses. Google+ Pages is the newest offering that allows businesses, products, brands, entertainment groups and others to start a Google+ page and connect with the customers and fans they interact with. This is what you need to know about the new Google+ Pages so you can get started connecting with your customers.
You need a regular Google+ account prior to starting your business account, sign up here if you don’t have one. Then visit the Create A Page tool to create your business page. There are five options for businesses to categorize themselves within Google+. They include:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or sports
If you choose the local business category, you will enjoy some special features including the ability to enter a phone number. The Local Google + pages are designed to allow customers to easily connect with a business’s physical location and include a map, the location’s address, phone number, and hours of operation. The one drawback is that your current Google Places page operates separately from your Google+ Page. The reason being that the Places page is designed to provide information about your business, while the +Page is designed to allow you to engage and build relationships with your customers.
When creating your Google+ Page it is important to not delegate this task randomly. The person who creates this page will become the page administrator and no one else will be able to admin the page. The admin rights are also not transferable at this time. Google has indicated the option for multiple administrators will be available in the future, but no timeline has been given for this feature.
Once you have established your page, you can use it much the same way you use your Facebook page. You can post items to your page as yourself or as your business. You can share photos, videos, links and conduct hangouts. Your page can also follow people, but not until they follow you first.
Your business can also have multiple pages. This is a nice feature for businesses that have a need for dedicated pages. For example, you may want to have an overall page for your business (Ford) and a separate page for a product line (Ford Focus). You can even have pages for events (2012 Auto Shows). Just be sure you have a good solid reason for each page.
To follow a business page, the page must be added to a Google+ circle. The +1 button merely states that the visitor to your page “likes” your business. To follow and get your updates they must add you to a Google+ Circle. Kind of confusing, we know. But your business page gets the benefit of a total +1 count showing on your profile page. This option is not available to personal pages.
Other things you should know about Google + Pages:
- Vanity URLs are not available yet. For example, Macy’s didn’t get plus.google.com/macys their Google + page is https://plus.google.com/116142452604357423186/posts. Google has given no estimated update for when this might change.
- Want to change your name? Unlike Facebook, you can change the name of your Google+ Page whenever you like. The only caveat being that if you have verified status, you will have to re-verify with your new name. So it still makes sense to choose your name wisely.
- Google is launching a new icon you will be able to use to encourage people to follow your page.
- Use Direct Connect search to get directly to a Google + page. Just use the [+] in front of the page you are interested in and it will take you to the page automatically.
If you have questions about how Google+ Pages can benefit your business, please contact Qiigo today!