Google+ Pages Opens For Business
So Google+ is now open for business... literally. Big names such as Toyota, Macy's and The Muppets are among the first big name brands and companies to set up Google+ shop.
We all knew this day was coming - the day that Google+ removes the shackles from their No Business Allowed edict - yes, I know some businesses like Ford have already been Google+ ing for some time but now it's official as companies and brands like Fox News, Good Morning America, the Dallas Cowboys (pains me to write as an Eagles fan) as well as the aforementioned Toyota, Macy's and The Muppets and a few others are now busy populating their Google+ Page will all sorts of vital content. Well, maybe not vital right away but surely that is the intent, right?
As per the post on the official Google Blog announcing Google+ Pages...
"For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face. All you need to do is start sharing, and you'll soon find the super fans and loyal customers that want to say hello.
For you and me, this means we can now hang out live with the local bike shop, or discuss our wardrobe with a favorite clothing line, or follow a band on tour. Google+ pages give life to everything we find in the real world. And by adding them to circles, we can create lasting bonds with the pages (and people) that matter most."
Good Lord... can this be any more mushy and touchy/feely? I know this is a big deal but "Google+ pages give life to everything we find in the real world?" Life to everything we find in the real world? C'mon, seriously? Why do I get the feeling that if he were alive today, Google would've hired Mr. Rogers to do a commercial for Google+ pages using those exact same words?
Hello boys and girls... Today I want to tell you about Google+ pages. They give life to everything we find in the real world..."
So since Fred was not available, this is the spot - not sure if this is for broadcast TV or not, that Google created for Google+ pages (at least this is the one they are showing on their blog):
Ok, I like it... simple, direct, to the point. Where do I sign up for a Google+ page? Well I see a link on the Google Blog post, I think I'll click on that.
What's this? This the message I get:
Check back soon? What? Wait, why do I have to check back soon to find out when I can set up a Google+ page? Why can't Google let me know? Seems that getting access to set up a Google+ page is hit or miss as it’s a random rollout. But once you gain access, you’ll be asked to create a page in one of five categories: Local Business or Place, Product or Brand, Company, Institution or Organization, Arts, Entertainment or Sports and Other.
So even though it appears the majority of us will have to wait to set up a Google+ page a little while longer we can still glean some info from the above screen capture. For instance we can see there will be a local option and according to Google's own help page on this very topic..."Local Google+ pages are unique from other categories of pages because they have features that allow customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation."
Advertisers And Marketers, "Direct Connect" Your Way To More Business...
Another new feature for businesses with Google+ page is the ability to have their pages found through “Direct Connect” via a Google Search. This will happen for any business that Google determines is particularly relevant for a search, if someone searches for the business with a + symbol in front of its name such as if someone searches for +Toyota they will taken directly to the Toyota Google+ page where they can follow of course. Now all Toyota and all other advertisers and marketers have to do is provide compelling enough content to make people want to follow them. Easier said than done...
Differences Between Google+ Pages And Google+ Profiles...
Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land does a fantastic job at explaining all about the new Google+ pages including the differences between Google+ pages and Facebook pages - such as no vanity URLs as for right now for businesses so they're stuck like the rest of us with those hideous numerical URLs.
Danny also touches on the differences Google+ pages and Google profiles including the fact that a page, unlike a profile where you can follow anyone you want regardless of whether they follow you - cannot follow someone until they themselves have been followed. As Danny puts it... "It’s not unusual to see business accounts on Twitter follow a bunch of people, just in hopes of getting a reciprocal follow-back. Google+ won’t reward such behavior."
Here's a link to some other minor differences between Google+ pages and Google+ profiles.
The Future Of Google+ Pages...
Obviously we are just now at the top of the iceberg when it comes to Google+ pages and how businesses will use them and how effective they will and how they will integrate them into the overall integrated marketing strategy from a social media perspective along with Facbeook, Twiter, et al.
To those advertisers, marketers, businesses, brands and companies all chomping the proverbial bit to set up your Google+ page just remember the same basic social media rules apply and chief among them is: When It Comes To Social Media, Companies Need To Look In Before Looking Out. That's the title of a post I wrote not long ago and it basically is a caveat to all advertisers, marketers, businesses, brands and companes to look inside, at themselves first to see if indeed what they are selling is truly a viable commodity for if it is not and their product, well... sucks, a new Google+ page, as well as the rest of the social media won't do a damn thing to help them and their bottom line.
Now, assuming their product, service or ware is of a good quality and priced accordingly, great. The next step, in the context of social media, is to provide your fans, your customers, your prospects with something of value for those times when they do come knocking at your social media door.