Everything you need to know about Google+ Business Pages

Google finally unveiled their business pages a few days ago, and here’s what you need to know.

First, a quick “why should I create one?” video:

What are Business Pages?

They’re very similar to personal profiles, with a few key differences:

  • You cannot create an account for a business page; you create it via your personal profile (similar to Facebook).
  • You can create multiple pages from a single profile.
  • Each business page can only be managed by the profile that created it, so choose carefully the right person in your organization to create the page. Support for multiple admins is “coming soon”.
  • Pages cannot add users to a circle unless the user adds them first. This is an awesome anti-spam move by Google.
  • There aren’t any vanity URLs yet (like plus.google.com/pepsi), but those are presumably coming in the future.

Direct Connect

Tied to this release is a new feature called “Direct Connect”.  If you begin your Google search with a +, it’ll show brand pages that match the query in the auto-complete results, as shown here:

Over time, it’s possible that this could become a trendy thing to promote.  I can image someone like Pepsi having something like “Google +Pepsi” for more at the end of a TV ad.  If it does take off, it’ll be important to get your page listed there.  But how?

Badges

Today, Google released “badges” for business pages.  These allow you to add nifty widgets to your page, and people can add your brand to their circles directly from your website!  It’s pretty slick.

Even more important is the snippet of code that they have you put in the <head> section of your site.  This is there to prove that the page in question is really yours and will qualify you to show up as a Direct Connect option.  No word on how soon those will start appearing, but it’d be wise to get yours connected so you can show up in Direct Connect as soon as possible.  You can learn more about badges from this Google blog post.

Have you built a page yet?

Have you built a page for your company yet?  Leave a  link to it in the comments and show us your work!

Google Apps accounts can now use Google+ (and a bunch of other goodies)

Today is quite a day for Google+.  The big news is that Google Apps users can finally use their business account to access the service.   Here are a few other neat items.

A new “what’s hot” button:

 

“Ripples”, to see how posts spread:

 

“Creative Kit”, to have more fun with your photos:

All in all, it’s quite a day!  What’s your favorite new feature?

Google+ business pages still coming soon, but not real soon

One other tidbit from the web 2.0 summit — business pages are getting closer, but are more than “a few days” away.  Google is said to be “overwhelmed” by the interest in business profiles and they’re working on getting all of the pieces in place for them.

The fact that Google said they’re coming “imminently” but “not in a matter of days” leads me to think they’re probably a few weeks out.  I’m hoping we see them released before Thanksgiving.

In any case, I think it’ll bring a surge of traffic to Google+ as millions of small businesses sign up.  Whether they stick around will be a big key to the long term success (or failure) of Google+.

Using Google+ to help find a job

While LinkedIn remains the best place to go online for job hunting and leveraging connections to help get your resume in front of the right people, Google+ already has a few things in place that can help take it a bit further.

Mashable has the full article, which has some nice (though rather basic) tips.  They include:

  • Organize Contacts with Circles.  Not only is it a good way to share messages with industry contacts, but Circles are also useful to make sure that those contacts don’t see other items.
  • Host a Relevant Hangout.  This can take some work to set up, but can be a great way to literally get in front of someone and show how you can bring value to their company.
  • Use Sparks to share your expertise.  One great way to use social networks when job hunting, particularly Twitter, is to show that you are staying current with your area of relevance.  Using Sparks and sharing articles from time to time can help with that.
Do you have any tips to take it further?

More updates on Google+ for business

Google’s Christian Oestlien has just put out some more updates regarding the use of Google+ for businesses and what we can expect to see in the future.

Just a quick update on our Google+ test for businesses:

As you may recall, I posted an update last week on our policy towards businesses in Google+.

If you have not already, please be sure to submit your business for our test phase. You can apply to be a part of this test here: http://www.goo.gl/KR7z5 . We will be closing this form on Friday (July 15th) at 6pm PST. To the thousands upon thousands of businesses that applied to be a part: THANK YOU! We won’t be able to accommodate everyone, but your interest has got us very focused on accelerating our development plans.

+Dennis Troper (product manager for business profiles), myself and the rest our team will focus next week on selecting a diverse set of business partners for the test period. We will be communicating with these partners next week, and will let the world know who they are soon thereafter. Please note that we are still actively closing profiles that are being used by businesses today. Stay engaged on Google+ with your personal account and continue to send us your excellent feedback. We’ll continue to be very proactive in communicating with everyone around our plans for businesses.

Support for businesses on Google+ is coming later this year

Google’s Christian Oestlien has officially announced the support for businesses will arrive in Google+ later this year.  You can read the full post here, but I’ll post it below for those of you still waiting for access to Google+.

We have been watching Google+ take shape over the last week and we’ve seen some really great companies get involved. But frankly we know our product as it stands is not optimally suited to their needs. In fact, it was kind of an awkward moment for us when we asked Ford for his (or was it her?) gender!

How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands, and we want to create an optimal experience for both. We have a great team of engineers actively building an amazing Google+ experience for businesses, and we will have something to show the world later this year.

The business experience we are creating should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses. We just ask for your patience while we build it. In the meantime, we are discouraging businesses from using regular profiles to connect with Google+ users. Our policy team will actively work with profile owners to shut down non-user profiles.

Over the next few months we are going to be running a small experiment with a few marketing partners to see the effect of including brands in the Google+ experience. We’ll begin this pilot with a small number of named partners. If you represent a “non-user entity” (e.g. business, organization, place, team, etc.) and would like to apply for consideration in our limited program (and be amongst the first to be alerted when the business product launches) you can sign up here:

http://goo.gl/zq95C

Please keep all of the feedback coming, we are listening and really appreciate the time everyone is putting towards helping us build a better social experience through Google+.

Two important things to note:

  1. They’re building support for businesses that will integrate well with other Google products such as AdWords.
  2. They’ve again requested that businesses not try to squeeze their business into a consumer profile.  Just wait, as it’s coming soon.

Also, here is a video of Christian explaining what they’ve got coming:

Business Pages are coming to Google+

As it stands right now, Google+ is for people only — no businesses.  In fact, Google has made it very clear that brands and organizations should not have a presence on Google+ at this point in the field test.  However, business pages are coming soon.

Search Engine Land has the full details, but Google’s Bradley Horowitz made it obvious:

Let me be clear – and I’m sorry if this wasn’t obvious – we are not currently supporting brands, organizations, and non-human entities in the Google+ field trial. While we should have been clearer about this, there are some fields in the registration form (asking for a first name, a last name, an age and a gender) that indicate that.

Supporting these non-human entities is an obviously great feature – we have no allergy to it at all! It’s just not part of the system we are currently testing.

The field trial has limitations that I know are frustrating – ranging from lack of “obvious” features to inability to invite the people you most want to share with… We weren’t kidding when we said this was early and a test… and if the product leads to more frustration than you can bear, then that’s understandable and I promise that you will see fast and meaningful progress… and you can jump back in when we meet your bar for minimum viable functionality.

More importantly, Google’s head of Commerce, Jeff Huber, said the following in a comment on Mike Blumenthal’s blog:

And pre-emptively answering a question — yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.

So they’re coming… eventually.  Given Google’s rapid development pace so far, I expect we’ll see them fairly soon.  I sure hope so.