Google yesterday announced that they are rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide, allowing businesses and not just individuals to use Google+.
So, should your business have a Google Plus page? Probably. I now recommend that all my clients add a Google Plus page to their social media marketing mix.
Granted, Facebook still seems like a better place to be, with more exposure and a higher ROI. But what’s especially intriguing about Google plus is that Google Plus is essentially about tying social to search so that Google can provide users with better search results based on their social connections. This is powerful – and the main reason for brands to join Google plus.
Google+ Direct Connect lets users quickly navigate to a Google+ page, and add that page to their circles, when using Google Search. Try searching for ‘+amazon’ and your search will take you to the Amazon Google+ page and give you the option to add the page to your circles. Google+ Direct Connect is still not widely available (to pages or to users), but no doubt it will eventually be.
The only caveat: After Google Buzz failed miserably, everyone is wondering whether Google Plus will actually take off or fail too. It’s too early to tell, so if your resources are very limited, don’t spend too much on a Google Plus page – but it’s still a good idea to create one, add a button/widget to your site or blog, and start posting to your Google+ page, even if just occasionally for now.
Facebook has announced that it will change its privacy controls, so that they appear right next to each posting. This would enable users to choose who sees individual status updates, photos and profile info — when they share or afterwards.
“With most of your controls now up front, your privacy settings page has been simplified,” explains Facebook.
Even though Facebook will never admit it, it seems quite clear that this change is in direct response to Google Plus. I recently asked my Facebook friends, “Are you using Google Plus?” Most said,”I’m on it, but don’t use it” but a few said they do use it and that they like the ability to separate friends into circles, getting more precise control not just over the information you produce, but also over the information you consume.
One of them said, “I use Google+ and I like it. I like that you can really customize the groups of people that you chat to about the subjects that you are in the mood to talk about. For example- I like to read what the “Big kids” have to say on social marketing and new ideas but I don’t want to wade through all of their tons of clutter and noise when I want to chat with my friends. So they have all been swept up into their own tidy circle for when I want information. Sort of like reading the newspaper. When I want to interact with friends, I open a different circle. It gives everything a very controllable flavor.”
With the risk of more and more people discovering that they like the better control that Google+ offers them, and its apparent respect for users’ privacy (something Facebook has been notoriously bad at), no wonder Facebook is making changes to give users exactly what Google Plus gives them- more control, while trying to establish that it *does* care about their need for privacy.