What Google+ Brand Pages Mean for Marketers


DIGITAS – Google has just announced the rollout of brand pages on Google+, their social networking platform. Though some brands started pages when the platform launched earlier in the year, Google had shut down all but a handful of beta partners. Now they have opened the floodgates to any brand to start their own page on Google+.

This is an excerpt from a client letter issued recently by Noah Mallin, vice president/group director of social marketing with Digitas.

While the Google+ platform has grown to 40 million users and counting, it is still unclear how many of them are active. In addition, the main elements that differentiate Google+ from Facebook and Twitter (Circles and Hangouts) come with their own set of hurdles for a brand page versus an individual’s profile. Google is expecting to evolve many of these features over the coming weeks and months, and Digitas will stay close to these developments as well as our partners at Google. We will continue to provide updates as we have them.

For marketers, this news is a bit of a mixed bag. For organizations that are already managing profiles (in some cases multiple profiles) across social platforms that range from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to Tumblr, Foursquare, Instagram and others, the prospect of adding Google+ to the mix may seem daunting. These are the considerations marketers need to keep in mind when thinking about Google+.

• Impact on SEO: Google is making a huge effort to tie social to search results, and in turn is using the power of search to potentially drive users to Google+. The two most obvious ways this is happening are through the +1 aggregation on brand pages (which may be read as incoming links – a good thing in Google’s search algorithm) and Direct Connect which allows users to search for brand pages from Google search by putting a + in front of the brand name.

• Connect with tech influencers and those that are influenced by them: Google+ has become fertile ground for this group. Brands that covet their seal of approval may find this a welcome environment in which to interact.

• Test content: Google+ has some slick analytics tools that leave both Facebook and Twitter’s standard tools in the dust. Particularly when it comes to content getting passed along generationally, Google+ may be an effective testing ground.

• Competition is good: Whether or not your brand launches a page on Google+, the addition of a well-funded competitor may push Facebook to offer things like better analytics or built-in publishing granularity to compete with future iterations of Circles.

• Hangout for customer service: One area where Hangout’s restriction on participants won’t be a hindrance is customer service, which ideally is one-on-one. For some brands, being able to demonstrate solutions live may be a boon to their ability to troubleshoot for customers.

• Use Hangouts wisely: The first widely publicized broadcast Hangout so far was for The Muppets, and for many, it felt like a commercial. Brands should consider what to do with the nine slots they have and how to distinguish the Hangout format from a regular livestream or canned video content.

• Managing Google+ takes work: Currently only one Gmail account can be linked to a single brand page, which means either a single page administrator or multiple people using a specially created Gmail account to allow them each to update from the brand page. Google claims they will have the ability to add multiple administrators to brand pages very soon but in the meantime brands should create a protocol to manage this.

Similarly, many brands use a content management system to vet updates internally before publishing on social profiles. Google+ currently isn’t set up with an API that would allow such systems to work, so an internal process needs to be in place for many brands to insure that only approved content gets posted.

Where to get updates: Google recommends circling the following profiles: Google+ Your Business, Google+, YouTube, Think.

This is an excerpt from a client letter issued recently by Noah Mallin, vice president/group director of social marketing with Digitas.

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