Google+ has just introduced its very own official Page guide for the brand new Google+ Pages revealed just yesterday. Through this new landing page, potential brands can easily register for a Google+ Page while studying up on how they can share, promote and measure the effectiveness of their unique content on the platform.
Why do Google+ Pages matter?
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When Google+ first revealed the new officially branded pages, I questioned their unique value. What is the distinctive usefulness of creating an officially branded page on Google+ as opposed to Facebook? Likewise, how is this different from using a verified Twitter account?
Here on The Next Web, we’ve already mentioned that brands on Google+ aren’t allowed to run promotions directly on the platform and must, instead, link out towards the promotion being run elsewhere. This could prove to be inconvenient for some companies who might prefer to run contests etc directly on the service (similar to Facebook promotions). I can only guess this is to either prevent the flooding of promotion spam on G+ user streams, or perhaps to provide better search engine optimization for companies and brands utilizing the network. Google+ is, after all, the social hub of Google’s main search feature.
After taking a peek at a post by the official Google+ page, however, I feel I have a better understanding of how these pages work. The new Google+ branded pages appear to offer equal value to the consumer or the customer of the brand, rather than just the brand itself. This isn’t to say that the brand won’t experience some benefit, but to know that Google+ created these pages with its core users in mind rather than the big companies alone appears to fall in line with the “frictionless” experience all the big social channels have been buzzing about lately.
What Google+ wants us to know about Pages
- You can +1 a Page to show support or add them to your Circles.
- No Google+ Page can follow you until you follow them.
- In fact, Google+ Pages can’t even mention you unless you’re connected.
- Google+ Pages unfollow you automatically if you unfollow them.
- You can find Google+ Pages in Google+ Search.
The key thing to take away here is that Pages on Google+ work in sync with those following the brand or company. I’d wager that this will promote better consumer loyalty and heighten engagement between brands and their key influencers or users, rather than simply flooding the platform with information some might find to be spammy or useless.
I’ve definitely seen instances in the past where companies on Twitter have followed several thousands of users simply to boost their “follow-back” count, then unfollowed these users later to misrepresent their popularity and vanity ratio. With Google+’s more-strict policy on who a brand can follow or interact with, this no longer a problem. Also, there goes the spammy “check out our new promotion!” notifications and mentions I usually get on Twitter from brands hoping to get a brief mention back.
Also included for official G+ pages are various analytics measuring social and +1 data, as well as how these statistics might affect a brand’s bottom line. Facebook offers a similar sort of transparency for pages on its own network, but Google+ seems to hint towards offering something more. In regards to its current public API, it states, “We’ll be keeping a close eye on your feedback and will release more APIs into production as soon as they’re ready.” So get that feedback rolling in if you’re excited to see specific changes.
The silver lining for brands
While official brands might be annoyed by current sharing restrictions on Google+, limiting who the brand can interact with to only its most loyal followers or consumers can actually be a very good thing. In the long-term, a brand’s follower count on Google+ will hopefully be a more accurate representation of who is actually dedicated or eager to engage with the company. And hey, enabling brands to utilize Google+’s Hangouts feature to interact with their dedicated followers doesn’t hurt, right?
Google+ is effectively connecting brands to their key influencers in a more synchronized and user-friendly fashion through G+ Pages. For brands, this represents an opportunity to create better social strategies through which they can reach out to their followers in a more effective way, especially knowing that those users following them on Google+ are looking to be actively engaged or are open to possible brand-to-consumer interaction.
As for how beneficial Google+ Pages will actually be for brands and their consumers in comparison to social channels like Twitter or Facebook, only time will tell. To sign up for your own Google+ Page, be sure to visit the official Page guide. Or just watch this video.
If you’re on Google+, be sure to join us on The Next Web’s brand new Google+ page here.