Google+ and brands are now in a relationship.
But let me preface the above statement by saying be careful of wearing your heart on your sleeve for this newest tryst.
The reason why you should keep your emotional wall intact is because while Google+ sports more than 40 million users, it is a fad…for now.
Google+ is the newest social network created to combat social media giants Facebook and Twitter. Launched this summer, Google+ has more than 40 million users, but falls short in its number of users compared to its competitors (800 million on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter).
Let’s face it, Google+ is a fad. At one time Facebook was a fad, Twitter was a fad, MySpace was a fad, etc. But as of now, two of the above social media networks have flourished (Facebook and Twitter), and have solidified themselves as social staples. As for MySpace, well, when was the last time you heard anyone mention it?
Facebook and Twitter got serious about their product, and thus have built a long-term social relationship that most likely will end only with ‘til death do you part.
To garner further attention and expand its audience, Google added Google+ Pages this week, allowing businesses, organizations, special interest groups and other brands to create their own profiles.
Google initially held off from allowing brands/businesses from doing this, but now that it’s available, Google+ Pages gives these groups a way to interact with their audience.
Now the question is: Should your brand rush to build a Google+ Page?
This social network is still in the honeymoon phase for many, especially for brands, so it’s imperative one gets familiar with what Google+ and its Pages feature offers, or doesn’t for that matter, before making a decision.
But I will say, it is another way to spread the word about your name/brand.
So before you decide to give your heart to Google+ Pages, here are a few of my likes and dislikes (excuse me, +1s and -1s), and hopefully these can help with your decision.
By the way, “+1” is the equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button.
- Hangouts: This feature allows multiple users to interact through video chat. Now this technology isn’t new to the social world, however, what I like is the intimacy a brand can have with its audience. Using this tool to field questions from customers, and subsequently answer them directly, has the ability to make them feel special.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google is a search engine giant, and by adding Google+ Pages, brands can now optimize their visibility on Google’s search engine. When logged into a Google+ account, you will begin seeing +1 buttons in your search results. Clicking this button, means you “like” the page, post or website you are viewing. Thus, the more +1’s something receives, the higher the ranking it will have in a search. Also, you can +1 content using Google’s browser Chrome, so it’s not exclusive to Google+.
- Direct Connect: Again the “+” symbol comes into play here. Direct Connect allows for a brand’s Google+ plus page to be accessed directly, increasing visibility once again. When searching for a Google+ Page on Google, you place a “+” then type the first letter or two of the brand you are searching (see screenshot). Brands with “official” pages should be available to click and view, reducing the number of steps in searching for a Page. Now as for what constitutes an “official” page, see the “-1s.”
- Domain squatting: Currently, Google+ Pages do not have a way to verify an “official” page. Anyone can create a page and label it as “the official page of Coca-Cola” for example, even though it may just be Jane Doe of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who created it. A lack of a vanity URL address hurts, too. A vanity address coupled with a verification process would give solid credibility to a brand’s page.
- No Page analytics: Facebook’s analytics, called Insights, gives Facebook Page owners the ability to understand and analyze trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content. Page owners are better equipped to improve their business and create better experiences on Facebook. Google+ does not have this ability at the moment.
- One administrator: Now that brands can market themselves with the Pages feature, the drawback is that only one person can be logged into an account at a time. I am sure this will change over time, but for now it goes into the -1 category.
So with all of that said, how do you feel about Google+ Pages?