11 Nov, 11 | by BMJ
Google+ Pages were announced on Monday, allowing companies of all sizes to post updates about themselves and their products or services. Similar to Facebook, people who follow a Google+ Page can comment on or share the company’s posts, creating running conversation threads. However, businesses can also set up Hangouts where they can chat directly with potential customers.
Rather wisely, Google launched Google+ with a focus on individuals. This seems logical: to build a social network in which individuals can connect with brands, you first need individuals. Those individuals, of course, aren’t solely interested in liking a brand or posting messages on a celebrity’s wall; their primary objective is to interact with real people. Now that the paint has dried on Google+ and a significant user base has been established (40 million sign ups so far), the time is right to let brands in.
As Google+ rivals Facebook and Twitter already know, corporate accounts are an important piece of the fabric that makes up a social network. Businesses want to connect directly with their customers and customers are more than happy to shower affection on brands they like (particularly if those companies respond with deals and freebies via their social-networking sites). On Google+ Pages, businesses can start sharing information about themselves, and invite customers to chat with them over the service’s Hangouts videoconferencing technology or begin conversations by simply asking questions seeking feedback. Already, the service has companies such as Toyota, Macy’s, H&M and Pepsi using the service.
“People search on Google billions of times a day, and very often, they’re looking for businesses and brands,” Vic Gundotra (Senior Vice President of Engineering) wrote. “Today’s launch of Google+ Pages can help people transform their queries into meaningful connections, so we’re rolling out two ways to add pages to circles from Google search.” The first is simply integrating Google+ Pages in search results. Google is also adding a feature it calls Direct Connect that allows users to quickly call up a Google+ page by adding a “+” before their search term. So if comic book shoppers are interested in learning more about Marvel publications from the company’s Google+ page, they can search “+Marvel” and be directed to the publisher’s Google+ page.
For more information on how the new Google+ Pages work, check out the introductory video below: