Quite recently, I have read an Italian article about Google+ failing. An interesting reading although I don't agree with the author's position, especially considering recently - last Monday - Google announced Pages, a new Google+ integrated service.
Much like Facebook Pages, Google+ pages are dedicated to the business entities that would like to promote their image on the social networks with the intent to directly interact with their fans and critics.
And YES, if you created an account for your company earlier than Monday, you have clearly disobeyed to the service guidelines.
If you believe there is not any difference between Facebook and Google+ pages, so any reason to invest time creating your new page you are getting this wrong.
To support my statement, you have to consider that Google+ has been recently (no more than two weeks ago) made available also for Google Apps, thus expanding the number of their potential users. And that’s the point.
We all now the additional value of Google Apps and the extensive usage many companies are doing of the Google cloud services; from Gmail to Calendar and from Google Docs to Google sites (Ok, maybe not the latter).
Now, try to imagine at Google Pages to an extra layer for your company, and all the possibilities underneath, and you suddenly may realize how half an hour of your time is a good investment.
For instance, the possibility to combine your “fan” information into a nice email template to be sent via a Gmail automated script through a script (you can configure this using G Spread) or perhaps with MailChimp (that can be easily integrated in you application pool). This is just an example, but I think usage may be wise.
Another interesting thing about the page is the direct relationship Google+ Pages has with the search engine. In this case I’m talking about Google Direct, which is the possibilities for Google Pages to appear in the instant search above any other suggestion if the query is preceded by a plus (+) sign.
This also explains why some weeks ago Google announced the plus to not be anymore a search operator.
Some questions on Google+
I’ve to be honest, at the moment I am not in the position to have enough time to create and manage my own page because I don’t have a business to promote. Not yet.
That means I barely touched the button “create a page”.
However, I’m curios enough to look around what the digital marketing sphere has to offer, so yesterday I met a Google specialist to who I have asked some question collated online via a groups of followers.
Below the questions:
How many administrators can have each page?
At the moment, just one. Therefore, the person who creates the page is automatically responsible for managing the content. Despite this is not a priority, the number seems it will be increased, probably starting from next week (I can’t guarantee).
Is it possible to personalize the URL?
Not at the moment, and because of Google Direct, this is not a priority at all. Clearly this is not a good thing for the page promotion in third party search engines, but we have to consider this is a Google service, therefore Google is not interested to facilitate their competitors, pretty much like Facebook which blocked it’s content to search engines for a long time.
**Is it possible to customize the graphic template or create an application? **
Re the first question, the answer is no, not via the option settings. As for the second one, again the answer is no.
However, Google+ APIs have been made available. Despite I’m not sure something is available to allow this customization, it may be possible for programmers to look around what it can be done. I also don’t exclude the possibility the best customization or any application that can be made to be integrated in the future.
A sort of new market space is now open and best is to suppose to win … as usual.
**Can Google+ Pages be synced with other social networks? **
I can see the rationale behind this question, but as you can imagine this is not an objective for Google at all. So, this is a task for some coder.
**How many pages can a user create? **
It looks like the person who asked this question didn’t spot that once a page is up, user can press again the button for a new page. I'm not sure whether or not there is a limit, but unless you don't have so much free time it is unlikely to being able to manage a lot of pages at the same time.
Something else you may consider before carrying on with the creation of the page
Google Pages and Google Places are very good friends. While creating your new page, Google+ will use some of the details you input to look into their database and see if a previous business place has been created.
If something exits, a selection may appear for you to select the most appropriate item.
By selecting the item, Google+ pages will be automatically filled in with the details available (regardless you are the administrator of the places).
Please be aware that Google+ Pages are not meant to promote and host contests, therefore if this is your intent it is at your own risk going on.
Finally, it appears recently a change in the Google Analytics policies has been made and sooner Google Pages will be provided with Google Analytics to help you collecting information and insight of your users.
Your page is up, remember to continue using it
Pretty much like you Facebook page or your twitter account, if you do not use your page, you will not get results.
No fan, no followers, no engagement at all.
So whilst creating a page is a good suggestion, please consider how many resources you can dedicate upfront so to scale up your time rather than squeeze it and get into troubles.
Also, remember to have a look at a quick guide which outline what a Google+ pages can or cannot do in comparison to Google Profile.