Google+ Business Pages
The big news this week has been the much-anticipated release of Google+ Business pages. The pages function in a similar way to that of a regular Google+ profile, allowing the administrator to add people to circles, share, +1 comments and photos and host and join Hangouts. As with a profile, the owner can perform all of these activities and only the owner. The rule of only one person “owning” your business page makes it hard for your company’s social media team to distribute duties since only one person will be able to update the account. As one blogger put it, “if the brand needs to say something to customers in a high-touch, high-service business like ours (we have customer service people posting and answering phones and talking on chat 24 hours a day 365 days a year) they will need to wake me up to get me to post something? Really?”
Another drawback for the business pages is the inability for fans to directly post on your wall, as currently they can only offer comments on a post that you have already made. Isn’t one of the main initiatives of business pages that customers can interact with you?
Pages can follow people but can only do so once they have been followed. But once you have been added, you can add them to a specific circle and tailor your communication based on location, interests or other relevant categories, which is a great feature. You can also lock posts within a certain circle, making the content exclusive to them. Another way of making content exclusive is by hosting a Hangout with say your breaking stories, enticing people to want to be a part of your Hangouts if they want the inside scoop. The Muppets got creative with this feature by offering a chance for followers to chat live with Miss Piggy.
What will you offer in a Hangout with your company? Get creative, the possibilities are endless!
I do think that Google+ business pages have really great potential to be a strong brand communication tool. Facebook pages obviously have a head start with their already existing communities, but Google+ pages have a one up with its search features, I mean its parent company is Google! Google+ Direct Connect will immediately take you to a Google+ page just by putting a “+” in front of your search query and once you are there you are given the option to add the page to your circles.
Although this feature is not widely available to all pages yet, once it is, it will be a very direct and easy way for fans to get information right from the brand, creating the opportunity for Google+ business pages to be a strong source of information and brand communication.
As for hosting giveaways and contests, Google+ has banned these actions and are currently only allowing you to display a link to where your promotion is hosted. I can understand that Google+ is doing this to protect themselves from any potential liabilities associated with promotions but since Facebook is now allowing Apps for hosting promotions, it will be interesting how long this policy lasts and how it will unfold.
Videos on Social Networks
How often does your company create and share videos? What kind of content are you putting in them and are you seeing positive results in return? If not, check out this Infographic for some insights.
Also getting a lot of attention this week has been the use of social media for bullying. Teens have a very dominant presence on social networking sites, which opens a new channel for them to be bullied; sadly making it a reality that bullying doesn’t end when the school day does. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute and supported by Cable in the Classroom found that the majority of teens using social media are having positive experiences but unfortunately there are still those that are facing negative experiences. Below are some of their findings.
It’s unfortunate to see that younger teenage girls and black teens are having the hardest time on social networks but its not all bad news: 27% of teens online will defend the victim who is being harassed and 20% will tell the person to stop being mean and cruel.