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Now that Google+ Pages for businesses have been up and running for a month, we’ve had a chance to get some hands-on experience.
While it’s still early days — Google plans to continue rolling out features, such as page analytics and the ability to schedule posts — we’ve already learned a few aspects to watch out for.
1. You need a Google+ individual profile first.
Very similar to the way Facebook Pages work, you must first have an individual Google+ account and profile before you can create a page. But unlike Facebook, as of right now a page can only be controlled by the profile account that created it. In other words, there can only be one administrator—and that control can’t be passed to another Google+ account. How to create a Google+ Page for business.
[Update Dec. 20, 2011]: Google+ now allows multiple page administrators.
2. Profiles can follow anyone first; Pages can’t.
On Google+, groups of users you follow are organized into lists called Circles. Following another G+ user is called “circling” because you follow them by adding them to one of your Circles.
When you are using Google+ as an individual, you can circle any other Google+ user. But as Google+ pages, you can only circle users who have already circled you. Add People to Google+ Page Circles.
Tip: Promote your Google+ pages once they’re created by adding the G+ badge to your site and sharing the Page link through your individual Google+ profile as well as other social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter. Once others have circled you, you can begin to circle them back.
3. Unlike Profiles, Pages can’t “+1” everything.
The +1 button is Google’s version of Facebook’s Like button. When acting as a Page, you can’t +1 another Page or content from the Web. You can +1 another individual user’s posts.
Tip: Make sure you understand the differences between what Profiles can do and what Pages can do.
4. You must choose the Page category of Local Business or Place to associate your Page with your existing Google Places listing.
This is the only category that asks for location information, such as country and phone number. When you enter your phone number, Google looks to see if it matches an existing Google Place listing and use that information for your Page.
Note: Right now, it doesn’t appear that your Place is then linked back to your Page—but don’t be surprised if Google integrates or even combines these features in the future.
Tip: If your business has a Google Places listing, choose “Local Business or Place” as the category for your Google+ Page.
5. Once your Page is created, you can’t change its category.
As of right now, once a Page is created you can only edit the following information:
- Business name
- Tagline (the line of text immediately under the business name)
- Introduction text
- Contact info
- Links to other sites
And of course you can upload photos and videos. Here’s what Innate’s Page looks like—and circle us while you’re there!
Tip: Think carefully about the category that best fits your business before you create your Page. If you want to make a change later, the only workaround is to create an additional Page in that category and then delete the original. Less than ideal, to be sure.
None of these current shortcomings, however, are a reason to avoid creating a Google+ Page for your business. Many of them will be addressed in the weeks and months to come. More importantly, Google is increasingly incorporating both the +1 button and Google+ content into its search results—which makes participating in Google+ almost a necessity for search engine optimization. Ignore it at your peril.
Are you bewildered by Google+? We’ll guide you through. Contact Innate for help creating your Google+ Page — and a presence for your business on any other social media channel, from Facebook to YouTube.