Google+ finally launched the ability for business and brands to set up Google+ Pages this week.
Businesses and brands, used to the functionality and ease of Facebook pages, were antsy to hop on board from the get-go. The last several months, Google has been dragging their heels and announcing that not only are pages on the way, but they’ll be worth the wait.
To try and answer whether it really was worth the wait, I went in and set up a Google+ Page on behalf of Ecreativeworks to see what all the hype was about.
My first thought was that the process was very intuitive. After signing into my own personal (and neglected) Google+ profile, I simply had to click Create Google+ Page on the bottom right and the interface instructed me to create a page in one of these categories:
- Product or Brand
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
Like Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages can only be accessed through a personal Google+ profile. To toggle back and forth between your profile and your page, use the drop-down on your profile’s image.
As difficult as it was, I tried my hardest not to compare Google+ Pages to Facebook Pages. Here are a few of the more notable features and shortcomings:
- You can’t add a profile unless that profile has added your page and a page can only have one owner or admin.
- No vanity url capability. As you’ll notice, Ecreativeworks’ Google+ Page’s url isn’t particularly sexy —–> //plus.google.com/u/0/b/101107649723707374640/
- The ability to lock posts so it can’t be shared — puzzling feature but interesting nonetheless.
- The ability to hide a page’s follower count — could be useful if you are working to get your page up to speed and want to appear larger than you are
- Adding favorite links to the “Links” section of the page — you can share all of your business or brands’ favorite sites or social media presence. You can designate whatever text you want to appear, giving you complete freedom. Also! They are dofollow links with anchor text of your choice.
- Much like profiles, you can set up circles for your page and tailor the message you send to specific circles (pages default to Customers, VIP’s and Team Members)
- Scrapbook photos — also taking a cue from Facebook’s “Top 5” photos, you can lure potential followers in with your clever display.
- Page owners have access to data about visitor demographics, post shares, use of Google’s +1 button, as well as other analytics data.
So, you set up your company or band page, now what? Well, be patient. I definitely noticed a few bugs and quirks setting up the Ecreativeworks Google+ Page. Many of the features that users are complaining about, for example, pages ability to have only one page owner; Google plans to address in the near future. I suggest that you begin by adding relevant other Google+ Pages to your circles and start sharing as your new page.
Even if you question whether you have the ability or the need to maintain a Google+ Page for your company or brand, it could be valuable to set one up as the pages are indexed and crawled, potentially adding a great deal of SEO benefit. Also, take advantage of the ability to add a Google+ Page badge to your website that links to your Google+ Page. Additionally, Google announced that the badge is a requirement for Google Direct Connect, a new feature that makes users able to find Google+ Pages in Google Search by typing in “+” before the company or brand name.