Businesses and organizations can now create their own Google+ pages on the Google+ social network. To get started, make sure you have a Google+ personal account first, and then visit the Google+ create a page. Note that if you are a Google Apps user, your admin will have to enable the use of Google+ first. Once you are logged into your Google+ personal account and start the create a new page, you will have the option of creating a page in one of the five categories:
- Local Business or Place (this includes special options, including the ability to add a phone number)
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
One major difference from personal Google+ accounts: a business can have multiple+ pages. You can separate out divisions within your organization or create pages for different products, if desired.
In order for a business to be added to a circle, visitors will have to select the "Add to Circles" button, the +1 buttons will not cause a business page to be followed with Google Plus. New badges and verifications are being rolled for businesses to use on their websites as well (allowing badges to be created that links to your Google+ page).
Currently, only one person can manage or own a Google+ page, so there is the potential for others outside of your organization to make "your" page. Verification is available for big brands, and the Google+ page must be connected to a website before the new badges can be used. Additional verification and administrative options will likely be introduced in the future.
Some key features of how the Google+ pages work include:
- A user can +1 a Google+ Page or add the page to their circle.
- No Google+ page can follow you until you follow them.
- Google+ pages cannot mention you unless you are connected (to help prevent mention spam).
- Google+ pages unfollow users if they unfollow the page. The user is in control here.
- Google+ pages can be found in Google search. A new feature called Direct Connect, allows searches by typing the + first, followed by the brand name.
Google+ has launched a new online guide for sharing, promoting, and measuring the impact of your new Google+ page(s). The option for face to face video chats could be particularly valuable for businesses.