Google+ Business Pages, Because You Can

Been meaning to hit this topic for a few weeks now and finally getting around to it. About a month or so ago, Google opened up Google+ to business pages. Now, you can create a page for your business, or any interest really, with a few quick, easy clicks. I made mine in, oh, about 2 to 3 minutes, tops.

Make sure you have a Gmail account. Got one? Good. Now head on over to http://plus.google.com/pages/create and select the option to create a page. You will then be guided through the process by a set-up wizard. First, classify your type of business and, if you can’t figure it out, you do have an “other” option. It will then ask you for some information, such as the name of the page, the URL for your business, the category of the business and the appropriate audience for your page.

Come up with a tagline and image for the page’s public profile and your page is created. There is a nifty photo editor for your profile pic, so you can get the image just right.

Start filling your page with good content, much like you would with a Facebook business page.

You will be given an option via drop down arrow over on the left side near the profile pic to select whether you are acting as yourself the individual or yourself the business page on Google+, again, much like your Facebook business page. Except I found the entire process easier and far more intuitive than the process of setting up the Facebook page. So there’s that.

There have been some complaints about Google+ business pages and the obvious comparison to Facebook’s offering (hit the link here for a decent point by point). But I don’t think it is a fair comparison at all. Facebook pages, originally fan pages (remember when you would ask someone to “fan” you?) have been around for four+ years. Google’s business pages have been out for a few weeks. One of the complaints – the inability to have more than one page administrator – is apparently in the process of being addressed as you read this. I rather like the slick looks of the Google+ page and its functionality and I see absolutely NO reason at all not to create one for your business or promotional interests. Even if you don’t devote a large segment of your time to it at this stage of your game, you can reserve your spot and start testing the waters. That way, your business base on Google+  is there when you need it and, as I suspect, + pages  will only get better.

So, why not? Because you can, of course. Check out AdvantageAdvocate’s page right here. And here is a G+ page to find all G+ pages, if you’re interested. Add them to a circle to follow updates and interact, just as you would on Facebook.

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Ten Big Adds for Google + (Updated)

I have been seeing scores of posts with peoples’ opinions on what Google + needs to make it better and, for the most part, I find I disagree with them. But Martin Bryant’s post over at The Next Web  has the first list that actually notes improvements that make sense. To me, anyway. I really don’t care whether I can watch a TV program with my virtual friends on the + network.

From a lawyer’s perspective, Bryant’s suggestions would make the service a lot more business-friendly. His first, search, is a necessity. There is no way to search posts within Google +, which seems odd coming from a search giant. Why not? Wouldn’t it be great to search within Google + to find others discussing the same issues of interest to you, or sharing content you want to see? The second, improved sharing, is also needed – I struggle with sharing from the mobile applications. I am using + on both Android and iOS, and while the dedicated Android app is better, it still lacks the ability to reshare another post or get the full “link” sharing experience of the desktop. Since people seem to spend more time on their mobiles these days, improved sharing with a mobile bent would be most welcome.

Shared circles – like Groups in Friendfeed for those familiar with the concept – would be a great place for like-minded professionals to read, share AND comment on industry-related topics. And, of course, document collaboration is high on the list of most workers. Wave had it, why not +? Combine the document collaboration feature with the Hangout group video chat feature, and I think you would have a real business winner on your hands.

Instant translation and a log of your activity would also serve + well – I would like to be able to go back over the actions I have taken on + to track stuff that I liked or commented on and translation seems vital in our internationally connected world. While I am less concerned with connecting + with Twitter and Facebook, it might help initially to stave off the sense on + that it is completely unconnected to your family and friends (most of my tech friends are on + already).

It’s great that you can edit posts once you post them, but how about being able to save posts as drafts in order to prevent loss on system failures? This would make + a more effective “blogging” platform – a one-stop shop that could challenge Tumblr, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Integrating audio and maps into + would also be a, well, plus. But if you are going to get into some of the less business-worthy adds, I have one that Bryant doesn’t mention – how about getting Google Music incorporated into +? Two great services that would DEFINITELY taste great together.

Thanks Martin for the very nice list. Google, are you listening?

UPDATED: If you use Chrome (and you should) and need translation help right away, consider using the Helper for Google+ extension created by Misha M. Kupriyanov – you can get it at http://bit.ly/gplushelper . You’re welcome.