I am so giddy with excitement that I could not even wait until tomorrow to tell you about this! As you know, Google announced today a solution for brands, the new Google+ Pages. WOOHOO! Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let me tell you why I LOVE LOVE LOVE it and why I think Facebook has some serious competition on their hands. (Not to mention that I predicted a little over a year ago, Facebook will become the AOL of social networks within the next 5 years, make that 4 now).
At a high-level it allows you to create a brand page (for profit or nonprofit) as long as you have a Google+ personal account (so that’s the first step). Simply log into your account and on the bottom right side there is an icon labeled “Create Google+ Page” – couldn’t be more straight forward.
Here’s the link to create a Google+ page.
1. You get to separate your VIPs, Customers, Following, and Team Members into circles. Meaning you can market to just your VIP customers (I foresee a boat load of marketing opportunities here), just your Team members (think “collaboration” or team updates), your Customers, and then anyone you are Following (think prospect customers).
Note: Similarly to Facebook, you cannot put your customers in these segmented circles until they add your company page. But unlike Facebook, Facebook doesn’t even give you the choice to do this back. A plus for Google (no pun intended).
2. As previously suspected, they’ve recently integrated YouTube on the far right of all pages, and also Google Docs for brand pages (see Hangouts with extras below).I suspect more Google products integration to come.
3. Unlike Facebook, Google+ Pages is a little more forgiving if you make a typo in a post or suddenly decide you don’t want people to leave comments or share with others – you can edit the post or change that setting AFTER you’ve posted. Giddy up!
4.Hangouts – as a brand page you also have the ability to create Hangouts which can be huge to create that community. I’m thinking it’s a great way, especially for celebrities, to make that connection to their fans.
5. AND, (it honestly feels like Christmas!) for a limited time you can get a sneak peak and try “Hangouts with extras” which has integrated Google Docs, allows you to name your Hangout, share notes and sketchpad, and allows Screensharing for total collaboration. I’ll do a post in a week or two with this feature so you can get the full look and feel.
6. Your bio allows you to put in your entire service offering. Make it count. It even has a full WYSIWYG editor so you can bold, underline and italicize your text, input hyperlinks, bulleting and numbers. Check it out.
7. Link to all of the social networks your brand has a presence. It not only allows you to add the link, but you can customize the name of the link. Take a look at Social Strand’s.
I am foaming at the mouth I am so excited about this. You can look forward to more in depth posts over the next week or so on certain features.
Lastly, Google also rolled out another new feature called Google Direct which allows you to follow a company page easily. All you need to do is type “+” in Google Search, followed by the brand or business you want to follow, such as +Social Strand Media.
For more on Google Plus Direct, see Mashable’s article.