When Google Plus initially launched, both personal and business users flocked to the site. But before long those business users were told that their accounts weren’t welcome on the social network yet and that they would be deleted. Instead Google wanted to roll out a separate feature or profile type for businesses and brands — Pages.
After what felt like a painfully long wait, Google Plus Pages were finally recently unveiled. But were they worth the wait? Let’s look at both sides.
On the surface, of course they were worth the wait. And any business that really wanted to reach Google Plus users would have waited even longer and still found a way to make the site work for them. Despite some of the controversy around Google Plus, Pages were still an anticipated tool.
This gives businesses access to basic Google Plus tools that they were waiting for — from Circles to Hangouts. Another great feature is the addition of Direct Connect. It’s a way for your fans or customers to find your social updates without having to sort through regular search results or go through your company website first. Instead they can just type “+YourBrandName” as a Google search, and they’re taken directly to your Google Plus Page — very easy to integrate into existing marketing and ad campaigns.
On the other hand, Google Plus Pages seem somewhat light on features. With the delay I think I expected much much more from them. For example, one of the biggest problems at launch time was the fact that a Page still had to be tied to a personal Google Plus account. You couldn’t assign administrative rights to other users (like an employee or a consultant helping you manage your social media profiles). If the administrator of the account is fired, quits or dies, is the account in limbo?
Other big drawbacks were a lack of analytics (something Google’s already mastered, so integration at launch time would have made a lot of sense) and the fact that Google doesn’t want businesses using the site for contests and promotions. In other words, some pretty basic elements of social media marketing don’t mesh with Google Plus Pages.
So was it worth the wait for Google Plus Pages for businesses? Maybe so if your goals fit within the scope of what the site now offers and allows. So far it feels more to me like an afterthought. I’m left scratching my head wondering exactly what they were doing between the initial launch and the release of Pages (which still seem far too much like users’ personal accounts).
What are your thoughts? How do you plan to use it for your business, and what changes would you like to see? What do you think should have been ready at launch that wasn’t? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.