After over 4 months of waiting Google+ business pages are finally here.
Initially when Google+ launched on 28th June it was for people only, and any profiles created for a business, brand, product etc. were immediately disabled. Google promised that it was working on the business pages, and indeed a select few brands, such as Ford, were allowed to create official business pages, but everyone else just had to wait.
On Monday 7th November Google announced its launch of Google+ pages for all, with a roll out to happen gradually over the next couple of days – although many had immediate access on the Monday. Google’s launch partners for pages included Angry Birds, Burberry, H&M, Pepsi and The Muppets. Interestingly, Ford was not mentioned in the line up, despite being involved since June, and their Google+ page still shows the ‘test account’ badge.
You Need A Profile First
In order to create a page, you must have a Google+ profile, if you don’t you’ll be asked to set that up first.
Currently Google+ doesn’t allow for multiple administrators or ownership transfer – although Google has said this is something they’re already working on and it should be available ‘soon’ – so ensure that your social media manager is the one to set up the page for now, if they’re going to be the one doing the updating.
Disabled Accounts Need To Start Again
Anyone who set up a business page before they were allowed, and had it disabled, will have to set up a new page from scratch. Google has said that it will not be converting any profiles to pages.
Once you proceed to set up your business page you have a choice of 5 categories:
- Local business or place;
- Product or brand;
- Company, institution or organisation;
- Arts, entertainment, or sports; and
After that, the rest of the set up is straightforward and similar to a Google+ profile set up; you can add keywords under your page name, some images, an introductory blurb about your business, as well as a phone number and email address.
Any of this can be edited at any time, including the page name.
As with Facebook pages, an administrator can choose to ‘be the page’ or themselves, meaning that when they are engaging on the business page they can choose whether their comments appear to come from the business or from themselves e.g. from Bloggertone as apposed to from Sarah Ryan.
Fans can recommend your business page with a +1 and they can also add your page to their circles; by adding you to their circles they will see your posts in their feed, similar to a ‘like’ on Facebook. Once a fan has added you to their circle you can add them into your page’s circles, but not before.
Fans can also join hangouts and speak face-to-face with your team – a useful tool for customer service.
Google has promised a host of measurement tools from user demographics to social analytics for +1s. These don’t appear to be online yet, but should provide a lot of information for page administrators once they go live.
Unfortunately Google+ does not yet allow vanity URLs, either for profiles or pages, so currently everyone is stuck with URLs that are a long string of numbers.
There’s no word on when these will become available, but as everyone keeps asking for them no doubt it won’t be too far away.
Google has a forum set up for its Google+ business pages which is a great place to ask questions or see what else they have planned.
With 40 million users, and growing, Google+ should not be ignored by businesses. How soon will you set up your page?