Google+ Pages Roll-out (As Sung by Sir David Bowie)
As many have heard, the latest features roll-out from Google+ means there will be some pretty intriguing additions to functionality for brands using the budding new social platform. As is the case with most household names trying to sharpen their cutting-edge image, Google+ Pages have received a variety of responses that range from geek-fan exuberance to downright disdain. While we prefer to wait until the dust settles before making any endorsements or accusations, we thought we would share with you a round-up of some of the more comprehensive opinions on the matter:
The recent addition of Google+ Pages for business has many marketers and entrepreneurs all abuzz. For SEO whiz’s in particular, this news will have a serious impact on key search algorithms, as stated by Google, which can put your brand or your clients’ brands front and center in a sea of competitors. According to Sarah Sikowitz at AdvertisingAge, Google+ Pages “will be a hub for brands to start interacting with their audience within Google's already existing network.” The ability to work with and within the powerful network of Google tools means that many digital campaigns can be launched with increased efficiency.
With the implementation of a bevy of features like easy +term searching, consumer controlled subscriptions, simple sharing of media and the compulsory real-time comment streams, Google+ is definitely trying to meet standard expectations for a social experience while putting their own stamp of style and application integration into the mix, but not everyone feels it will be enough to beat out the other behemoth of crowd sourcing.
While some of the new features are like comparing apples to oranges when going toe to toe with Facebook, others feel that in areas that run parallel, Google+ Pages fall short. Ted Samson at InfoWorld calls the internet giant out for their lack of perspective when it comes to interactivity: “…compared to Facebook, Google+ offers very little opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers, or vice versa.”
The suggestion has been made by some that Google+ may have “oversimplified” the structure of their social platform, perhaps over correcting the feedback of those that spoke out against Facebook’s seemingly complex handling of businesses through pages, groups and individual profiles. The consensus from the nay-sayers seems to be that Google just isn’t doing enough to be engaging, however it would appear that some of the features requested are already in the works. This begs the question, are they just rolling out these new features too slowly for our fast-paced tastes and could that end up creating a bigger backlash than they expect?
At least it seems as if Google is listening. Christine Erickson over at Mashable compiled a list of 10 features that businesses really want to see out of the new Pages. Of particular note on this list is the ability for Pages, or the person behind the page, to join hangouts. The implications for humanizing a brand, at least from the consumer perspective, are huge. According to Google, they do in fact allow Pages to join hangouts and essentially function similarly to individual profiles aside from some key differences that are intended to protect the privacy of the consumer. A feature they have not yet included in Pages is the ability to have multiple administrators for a single Page which is absolutely imperative for allowing marketing departments and companies to work collaboratively on their social media campaigns.
Ultimately, Google will have to make it a point to continue listening to the needs of their users but they may have to step up the pace in their roll-out schedule. Rather than a case of “if you build it, they will come” it seems rather “if you build it right and within a reasonable time frame, they will consider coming if it suits them.” If their intention is to support the two-way communication of brands and consumers, they had better practice what they preach; giving their users the efficiency and functionality they desire in order to keep Google+ a strong contender in the social media battle-dome.