Hello, Google+ Brand Pages!

The wait is finally over! Google+ Brand Pages are upon us. Have you got one for your business yet?

GeoLocal has one, so be sure to add us to your circles! If you’re already following me on G+, you should have seen the message.

But wait! Before you run off like a kid that’s just heard the ice cream truck, here are a few things you should know about the G+ Brand Pages…

Tied to a Gmail Account – Yep, you read that right. As of right now, these brand pages are linked directly to a Gmail account. So, if your business doesn’t have a “yourawesomebizname@gmail.com” address, now would be a great time to get one. The Gmail account that creates the page is the only person that will be able to make changes.

It is unclear as to whether or not G+ users will be able to create multiple pages, like users on Facebook can admin several pages. So, while the email address might not matter, it’s still sound advice to keep things separate, wouldn’t you agree?

Look like G+ Profiles – The brand pages have the same layout as the G+ Profiles, with a few new options, like page sharing and +1.

Ugly URLs – For example, this is what the GeoLocal URL looks like: https://plus.google.com/107931383586099514689/posts. Anyone familiar with SEO knows how much wasted space those numbers take up! There are some URL shortener services, but nothing officially endorsed by Google itself.

Direct Connect - Try going to Google and typing in “+ Cowboys“, and you’ll see that their G+ Brand Page appears before you’ve finished spelling out the word. Google worked specifically with a few companies (Toyota, Pepsi, for example) for its initial page rollout. The best part is that Google can automatically add this brand page to your circles. Not available for all pages yet, but one can reason that it will come soon enough.

All other G+ services - Brand pages can still do Hangouts, upload pictures and video, and share posts. If your company is really techy, think of how a Hangout (live chat) could do wonders for your customer service efforts.

You’ve got the lowdown, now where do you get one? Easy, http://plus.google.com/pages/create. It’s only a few steps: pick your business category, fill in the profile information, upload some images, make a post, and invite people to your circle. If you’ve already got a place page, it’s even easier to connect the two.

What’s that, you ask? Why bother? Fair question. The short answer is that Google+ Brand Pages won’t be a relevant medium for every business. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But Google is hot right now. And for a search engine to own over 60% of the search market (sharing the other 40% with a boatload of other search engines), that is something worth paying attention to.

Google is making the effort to stay ahead of the curve by trying out new things and stepping into social media. While Google is facing an uphill battle against Facebook, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Or are you still updating your MySpace Page?

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