As yet, Google+ doesn’t allow businesses to have pages. They are planning “brand pages” for the future. However, there are simple ways of using Google+ for business social media already, and the savviest firms are doing just that. Mashable is one prominent example. It is a personal page, under the name of CEO Pete Cashmore, yet in terms of output, to the 15 thousand plus with Pete in their circles, it’s regular stream of Mashable news and handy bits of information.
Of course, the nifty thing about Google+ is its clear sense of boundaries when it comes to separating personal and professional information. All the Mashable news pieces seen by Pete’s followers – and the casual viewer – are those that he shares publically. He could still be sharing pics of Friday night on the town with his own circles, and we’d be none the wiser.
Of course, the Google+ separate sharing facility does require some mindfulness when choosing who we share with. I predict that over the next few years, accidentally sharing private information publically and cringe-worthily via Google+ will become the new accidental “reply to all” in email. Of course, unlike email, you can actually delete Google+ posts, so the damage or embarrassment factor has less potential.
Google plan to roll out their brand pages proper in the near future, and promise us that “there will be a product very soon that has businesses’ interests in mind… We want to give them the features businesses expect.”
If you do want to make use of Google+ before the official brand pages launch, there is one caveat to be very aware of. If you set up a page for your business at this stage, Google say they won’t allow you to transfer over to a brand page when they launch. So with this in mind, any Google+ page you use as part of your business social media campaign needs to be firmly a personal profile to begin with. Main profile pictures, for example, must to be of your face rather than a company logo. Google also have quite a strict policy requiring that users display their real names.
As well as sharing news and content, businesses can make use of Google+ features. The hangouts function provides a useful setup for video conferencing, and Google chat may become your instant messenger of choice.
In terms of setting up your personal profile, there are a few small yet important steps you can take to ensure that it works for corporate social media. You just need to make sure that you include your company name under the “employment” section on your profile, and maybe in the description under your name. You can also add your business name to the “nickname” section on your profile, helping search engines to find your page based on that name.
So overall, Google+ can already be a very powerful tool for social media marketing and networking, especially if you have something that appeals to it’s currently highly-tech savvy demographic. Use it well, but ensure that you set up a clearly personal profile to avoid being stung when Google+ launches brand pages in the next few months.
How is everyone currently using Google+ to promote their brand? Please let us know via the comments section if you have found any additional uses, or even better, if you have got any business from the network?
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