A week ago today, Google released Google+ Pages for businesses, and I was anxious to see if it had lived up to all of the things I had thought up. You see, I have been thinking about the implications Google+ will have on business since the platform opened and Google mentioned the release of business pages. In case you haven’t heard much about what Google+ Pages are, here is a quick video. Although we are a fairly small company, we decided to test the waters as soon as Google+ opened its doors to companies last week, but it is already becoming quite a headache to manage our company’s presence while keeping up with our other social networks. Because of this, I wanted to discuss what I hope Google+ business pages will become, and how it could really impact the manageability of marketing efforts.
I believe there is a huge opportunity for Google to provide a streamlined approach for managing a business’s online portal. Some of these items I will discuss are already present, but I feel could use additional features. Others are just on my wish list, and maybe Vic Gundotra is listening. 🙂 The benefit to using Google to manage all of your online resources is everything just works and is synchronized as one unit. Facebook business pages don’t offer this as all of its services are tied under one umbrella. With all of Google’s services and products for business, they have the advantage of offering everything in one place. We already post our videos on YouTube, our locations to maps, and run ads to promote our content. There are numerous entry points into a company portal or page if Google merges everything properly.
I was really hoping to have some YouTube and Google+ integration by now, especially for business pages. Within the YouTube control panel, it would be nice to see an option to share the video straight to your video tab on your page. A similar interface could also be on your video tab to show a listing of all of your YouTube videos, and it would be helpful if there were opportunities to select which videos are displayed on your page and a way to drag and sort them. For example, a company introduction video might always stay first then the most recent or most popular items after that.
Google Places has always been a little rough around the edges for managing your local page in Google Maps. It would be great to have a “Location” tab on Google+ business pages where a listing of all of a company’s locations could be found as well as a map of the country with pin markers and primary information for the headquarters. When logged in, you would have a listing of all your local business place pages. Local pages would have the ability to inherent content from the parent company in terms of photos, posts, videos, etc. This would save a considerable amount of work in terms of updating and managing profiles.
Reporting & Analytics
Google Analytics has a rich feature set and already brings plenty of reporting to the table in terms of social traffic. I would like to be able to tie a Google page to an Analytics UA ID to enhance reporting. As far as reporting inside of a Google+ page, I think a report for followers similar to Boris Veldhuijen van Zanten’s Social Statistics would be great.
Some timelines, behaviors, and activity as shown on my Google+ data developed by Gerwin Sturm would also be a nice feature. We have similar reporting in Google Reader, and it makes a lot of sense here as shares and +1’s are a good way to measure performance.
A way to showcase featured products or services would be terrific. I would be a little afraid to directly integrate Google Products right into this page simply because of the volume of content that could be present. However, a link to the seller information would be sufficient.
Google Offers is the relatively new Groupon & Living Social competitor. Google Offers would be tough to integrate into Google+ Pages as it is still very early in its beta version; however I could see it fitting in nicely in locations or as a separate tab on a page. Once again, this could be implemented company wide or web offers would be inherited down to local pages, and local pages would be able to have their own offers.
Taking a page from Facebook, events are popular. With Google Calendar, the integration should be pretty straight forward; this feature is already present in Google Sites. Open houses, hangouts, contests, upcoming product show cases, and job fairs could all be utilized here.
Sites & Conversions
A conversion opportunity would tie this altogether and allow for a quick contact method for customers/users. The ability to embed a short Docs web form for a conversion contact method would make this almost a fully-integrated solution for small businesses to have a complete “site” right inside of Google Pages, complete with location information, contact information, photos, videos, products and offers.
What do you have in mind for Google+ Pages? In my world as a developer and webmaster, some or all of these items could be game changing and really help push Google. This is my vision as to what I could see Google doing to tie all of its services together and make it easier to market a business.
At minimum, I would like to see the videos and locations cleaned up, especially with the inheritance or I have a lot of work for myself.
Agree or disagree, have any other ideas? Circle me or Bastian Solutions and leave us your thoughts.