Last week Google released Google+ and many of us lost hours of productivity while we begged our in-the-know friends for an invite and then spent the rest of our day building our circles and using the Hangout function to video chat. If you haven’t seen the coverage, Google+ is the search engine’s attempt at creating a social network, aggregating many of Google’s products and allowing users to create distinct circles of contacts to share information with. And it’s a surprisingly good attempt. State of Search created one of the better Google+ User Guides I’ve seen so I’d encourage you to check that out if you’re looking for more info on Google+.
Read that, but then come back here. Because that’s not all Google+ has in store, especially not for small business owners.
Mike Blumenthal interrupted his vacation to share some Google+ forecasting with us offered up by Google VP of Local and Commerce Jeff Huber. In the comment section of Mike’s blog, Jeff notes [emphasis Mike’s]:
Re:tweeting — with the recent Google+ ‘field trial’ (which is going very well) and impending launch, I expect my primary voice will be there (aka http://plus.google.com/; me on Google+: http://profiles.google.com/jhuber). Let me know anyone here that wants an invite to the G+ field trial.
And pre-emptively answering a question — yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.
As a small business owner, you may have just groaned. With everything else there is to worry about, you really don’t need another profile to create and monitor. But, as Greg Sterling states on his blog, offering small business owners a Google+ page wouldn’t be another profile. It would be giving them a social media product. And if Google can find a natural way to integrate a SMB’s Google Place Page with new Google + functionality then that’s a win for everyone.
If you’re Google, you just took a serious chunk out of Facebook’s armor. Facebook is having a slow go getting SMBs to merge their Facebook Place Page with their Brand page. If Google can make it work the way Facebook hasn’t been able to, they solidify themselves as the one-stop-shop for small business owners. And what about Twitter? Jeff Huber noted in his comment on Mike’s blog that his primary voice will be on Google+, not Twitter. If Google can put that Twitter-like functionality into one integrated Google+/Place page, then that becomes interesting as a small business owner. Instead of a profile, you get a living, breathing page that you can use to interact with customers and have them maybe interact back. SMBs get a real social portal.
It’s too early to truly know what these pages would look like, but it is interesting see a glimpse of the future offered by Jeff Huber. It wouldn’t make sense for Google to give SMBs a separate Google+ and Google Place Page, so it’s likely we can expect some type of integration.
With that in mind, what would you want that integration to look like? What social features would help you interact with customers from your Place page? What would you like to see happen?
I’ve spent the last few days actively avoiding reading about Google + (Talk about social media overload!) But the notion of our Places page getting more functionality through Plus actually sounds really appealing.
Side note: I’m one of the businesses that hasn’t yet merged my Facebook place page with my “fan” page. But that’s because I read awhile ago that if you merge them, you won’t be able to have a custom landing tab for new visitors. Does anyone know if that’s no longer true?
I would like to see Google+ implement functionality that allows you to have more control over the “noise” inherent in a social network, whether it be Twitter or Facebook. I use Tweetdeck groups to keep track of the most relevant info there and my Facebook feed is still full of uninteresting crap despite how I’ve tried to “educate” it. That is what I’d like to see.
You’re right, Lisa;
Busy SMB’s don’t want to mess with adding another profile, especially if it’s pretty much a duplicate.
So many of us jump on the newest, greatest thing, spend time optimizing some of these “cool tools,” and 3 weeks later, we forget that we did it, and move on to yet another “savior.”
Admittedly, when it comes to anything Google does, most of us do stop ourselves in out tracks, and try to jump on it; after all, it’s Google!
I think that Google, and any other company that’s proposing something that’s going to supposedly help us, show us exactly how it will…before we spend our valuable time filling forms out, and all the other things that it takes these days to do online right.
Thanks for this info!
The Franchise King®
Good point, Robert. I would like to see similar and my guess is that if any co can do it — its Google. The filtering and parsing of data seems to be their strongest card. I’d like to see both of them (because they’ll both be around a long time) build a bit better customer service strategy. Google leads slightly in that, imo, and Facebook lags even the worst offenders. To be fair, it isn’t easy to keep 500 million people happy…
I don’t know if Google really took a chunk out of Facebook’s armor; SMB’s will follow the people, not lead the charge, because they/we want to be where our customers are at. After Wave and countless other attempts, nothing has really peaked my interest about Google+ yet.
I’m having fun with the Google+ Project and it’s definitely something new…far from the boring stuff you see when you log in to Facebook. I think that if Google nails this one on the social side, they’d be serious competition for Facebook, among many other sites. First, small business owners will have not only the benefits of having a one-stop hub for doing biz with people as you mentioned, but I can only guess that it somehow will have an effect with the way Google ranks a website… perhaps, they’ll prioritize the traffic coming from Google+ and if you’re not there, that would just be a major loss.. I’m just assuming.
Hey Lisa and Joel from the Franchise King. Get used to it. Small business having a presence on multiple social platforms will be rivers of gold for those that do it well. Even for those that don’t do it so well it will certainly generate more leads than traditional media strategies have delivered for years. Finally small business marketing that will deliver results and without breaking the bank!