This is the second part of IMG’s Google+ series of blog posts. Miss the first one? Check it out by clicking here. Stay tuned for more information on the new platform.
Google+ is a unique beast. It has all the capabilities of great Google applications such as Search, Documents, Photos, and Calendar right at your fingertips all wrapped up in a neat little Social Media wrapper… but it still seems to lack something. That thing just so happens to be business profiles. It’s almost absurd that a social media site with as successful as a launch that G+ has does not (yet) support business pages. Some have tried to make these profiles, but eventually Google put its foot down and told them “not yet.” Is this going to come back to haunt them? I hope not, but we’ll see.
What we know so far:
Right now we know very few details about what is actually going to be put in place that’s unique to businesses. However, we do know that there has been a rather large outcry for these business pages that even Google says that it is accelerating the program which promises an optimized business experience that Christian Oestlien, a G+ Product Manager, boasts will have “rich analytics, and the ability to connect that identity to other parts of Google that businesses use on a daily basis like Adwords.” So great, they are actually doing something about the problem, but there’s still no concrete word on just when we’re going to see it.
What can we expect to see out of Google:
Google already gives its users a wide variety of tools and applications to use every day; from businesses using Google Analytics and Google Docs to individual users using Maps, Images, and even the basic search. With all these tools under their belt it’s hard not to imagine they will roll out with something strongly focused on both integrating company employees to be in closer contact, but the actual fans and followers of the company to be able to interact in new ways.
My favorite mock-up of what these pages can actually look like comes from Sean Percival, which looks like this:
What I love about this concept is the inclusion of all the features, links, and information, but it doesn’t look cluttered at all. From just a glance at the page you are fed a lot of information: closest locations, pictures, and videos are all prominent parts of the page that really catch the eye. People are then invited to read the different sections of the page: Offers, Posts, About, Photos, etc. On the right there is even the links to other social media sites for the company, giving easy access for navigation to find out more about the business.
One feature that I really like in this mockup is the inclusion of Sparks. I would love to see the latest news and blog posts about some of my favorite companies. I could see this potentially being a problem for some companies though. What if one of the Sparks was a negative story about the company? Would businesses be able to edit the sparks on the page? Should they be able to?
But what else can Google+ bring to the table in terms of keeping the internal business tight? I believe that G+ can provide all employees of a company to communicate and channel messages to each other fast, efficient, and possibly even more powerful than a simple email infrastructure that seems to be the dominant current method. I can envision a very tight-knit company using G+ to openly share and exchange new ideas and strategies through posts and comments. The platform offers itself to be somewhat of a microblog to which users can post stories, pictures, videos, and news that pertain to the company, but there is also a lot of potential to be seen through the Hangout Feature as well. A company leader could hold digital “town hall” meetings with employees to not only discuss internal strategies and plans, but also simply shoot the breeze with them and put on a friendly face. The bottom line is that not only can Google offer up some really great services for the fans, but they could also offer up some unique functionality for people that work in the company as well.
Any reason to pack up and leave my Facebook brand page?
Of course not! Keep that goin’ as long as you can. For all we know Google might completely drop the ball on their business pages and offer terrible support after all. All right, that may be a little farfetched, but it’s still possible. Bottom line is that just because something new is on the horizon does not mean you need to jump ship or even worry about jumping ship. Google is simply offering people a new tool to help communicate with a new audience. We’ll just have to wait and see where this particular ship sinks or floats when they decide to roll out some new features.
Thanks for reading our second part of the G+ series of blog postings. Stay tuned for more information on the platform where I’ll be discussing the current social media marketplace and how Google+ stacks up against the competition.