Google has now released its ‘Pages’ functionality for business and other organisations on its social networking site, Google+. The site was previously restricted to individuals with real names, with Google stating that the Pages required additional testing before they were happy to launch it.
Many people in the tech industry jumped on board to get an early look at Google +, but the shine seems to have worn off a little. When the majority of your friends, family & colleagues are still on Facebook, and Twitter as your go-to-source for breaking news (and running commentary on currently airing TV shows), it’s hard to justify adding another social media presence into your day … something else to check, somewhere else to post. But maybe the introduction of Pages will change that?
According to Google +, there are some great reasons to have a Page for your business, place, product, brand, company, group or other organisation:
- Start face to face conversations with Hangouts: This is Google’s on demand video conferencing service. Do you have staff who are in a position to interact with your clients on demand? Would that be beneficial to your prospective clients?
- Create Circles to share the right messages with the right people: This is a nice marketing move. If you could segment your prospects into types, you could target an advertising message specifically for them e.g. mortgage brokers can write about improving property value for investors and also write about paying off your mortgage faster for first home buyers.
- Help people recommend you on Google Search and ads with the +1 button: This is another integration point with Google Search. The +1 button has also made a very quiet appearance, but it will become more and more important to Google search results. It gives Google another competitive advantage over rival search engines, as this feature is unique to Google.
Business owners have been frustrated by the changes to Facebook’s pages, so Google+ may be very tempting. A valid question to ask is ‘where is your audience’? The jury is still out on the effectiveness of Facebook for business-to-business promotions, but will Google+ be different? It is still too early to tell, but it may come down to the uptake of Google+ by your target demographic. Your Google+ Place and its content will be publicly viewable to people who don’t have a Google+ account, but to comment or interact with you, they will need to register their own Google+ account. Is that something that your target demographic would be happy to do, or are they still social media-shy?
What Google+ does have in its favour (and always will) is its link with Google Search. Google Search results are now starting to display Google+ Pages and this may be the best reason to create your own Page. Google may change the algorithm for how it ranks your page in the search results, but it will ALWAYS favour content that it finds within other Google products (such as Google Places). Google will be hoping that your audience will click on your Pages search result link and be tempted to sign up for Google+. Therefore, if you are at all interested in ranking well in a Google search (in the free result listings), you’ll want to give some serious thought to Google+.
Facebook may now have a reason to be very nervous - not because Google+ is necessarily a better social media site, but because Facebook doesn’t have a ‘Facebook Search’ equivalent that’s as widely used as ‘Googling’.