As we revealed earlier this week, Google has rolled out Google+ Pages – the official business accounts on the search giant’s new social network, Google+.
Since the launch, we’ve been brimming with excitement as Google begins to eek out more details about how Pages will operate and the additional features that surround them. It’s fair to say that, for the geeks out there (and there are a fair few in the EML Wildfire office), there’s some really interesting stuff to ‘geek out’ about.
Here are nine things about Google+ that marketers need to know and which also shed a bit of light on why this move has the potential to be revolutionary:
- Segment by circles – potentially one of the most fascinating features for companies (as I alluded to at launch) will be the ability to segment users in Circles and only communicate certain information to each – be they customers, prospects, VIPs or other influencers.
- New power for +1 buttons – the +1 button that many sites have already rolled out has now become even more powerful. If configured correctly, a +1 will now reference your brand’s Google+ Page when someone clicks.
- Promotions and competitions are frowned upon – think Facebook takes a tough line on promotions? You haven’t seen anything yet. Google+ just doesn’t allow them. Full stop.
- Link your page to your site – Google is encouraging site owners to ‘link’ their site to their Google+ Page by adding some HTML code. This is yet another step towards allowing Google to embed its new brand of social functionality throughout the fabric of the internet. In the short term it will enable you to allow site visitors to add you to Circles without them having to visit Google+ itself. Links to Adwords campaigns are next on the agenda apparently. This is also a key step in enabling Direct Connect – another very intriguing feature that will allow your Page to be displayed in main Google search results. It’s rolling out gradually, but this page explains what you need to do/know.
- You can add Pages to circles – have partners or other companies you associate with? As a brand you can add another Google+ Page to one of your Circles.
- A user has to +1 you before a Page can reciprocate (or mention them) – at first this seems a tiresome, but there is method behind the madness. For a start, it puts paid to the spamming that goes on with Twitter when a company follows a gazillion accounts just to get a few extra followers.
- Pages are forced to uncircle a user if they are uncircled – linked to the last point, if a user uncircles a Page, the Page will be forced to uncircle the user if it is following them.
- Google Pages show up in Google+ searches – all Pages automatically show up in searches on Google+ – just something to be aware of if you have started a Page but aren’t really posting anything on it yet; there is nowhere to hide…
- You can’t enable multiple users – another slightly frustrating aspect of Pages at the moment. I’d expect this to change but, for now, if you do want multiple people to be able to login and use the Page, I’d suggest starting a new Google account for this purpose rather than using a personal one.
It’s still early days – there is a very good chance that many of these restrictions are just temporary. Since the launch of Google+, the company has been quick to roll out new features and functionality. If you want to see exactly how far Google wants to take this, then just check out this fascinating blog post! This quote in particular is very telling:
“Our ultimate vision for Google+ is to transform the overall Google experience – weaving identity and sharing into all of our products.”
Watch this space – Google is in this for the long-term. That’s why we are all geeking out, but this could extend far beyond the geeks very soon.