Google+ looks promising for businesses

In recent years, hefty portions of businesses’ advertising budgets have been allocated to social media platforms, Google ads, SEO and analytics. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the announcement of a new Google social media platform, designed to rival Facebook, has brought up big questions about the impact it will have on the way brands reach their consumers.

However, while the future of Google+ for businesses does look promising, it’s got off to a shaky start. Google+ is still very much in its testing phase. And while the long-term goal is to create company profiles, they are not yet available as Google is trying to test business profiles on a limited basis.

Despite this, many brands have jumped the gun and attempted to create profiles intended for the use of ordinary individuals for their brands. Because they will not be able to import information to the new business profiles when they are released (Google will not be building a migration tool for this purpose), companies are being urged to wait for the full business profile.

However, there are still ways for certain types of professionals, for example recruiters, to take advantage of Google+ as it stands.

For those who can’t wait for the new business profiles, a small loophole has enabled them to get to grips with the service as it allows individual people who represent companies to share content that way. This works particularly well for individual recruiters when combined with another promising feature – the ability to create “circles”.

Whereas on LinkedIn or Facebook, there’s an “all or nothing” approach to sharing content, the circles on Google+ will enable individual recruiters to select groups of people. For example, an IT recruiter could create different circles for different skill sets and advertise jobs this way – recruiters can start using Google+ for this now, before the business profiles have even been launched.

For bigger brands, Google bosses have promised to get business profiles up and running within the next few months. And while Google is keeping very quiet on exactly what these profiles will include, we know to expect to see a level of analytics already familiar to businesses through other Google products as well as a “nuanced approach to how things are shared,” according to a spokesperson.

Combining the service with existing analytics will probably be the strongest commercial case for Google+ as many marketing departments already have analytics experts who are familiar with Google tools.

Although little is known about how Google+ business profiles will work, this has not diminished the hype surrounding the new features. While it remains to be seen whether or not there is any substance to the growing excitement, Google seems adamant that the new accounts will most definitely be worth the wait.

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Maggie Berry runs Womenintechnology, a leading online job board and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She has been involved since Womenintechnology's inception in the autumn of 2004 and manages all aspects of the Web site and the networking activities Womenintechnology organises.