Is It Hip to Be Square?

G+ for Business

The great debate is upon us thanks to the launch of Google+ for Business. From Jim Long’s social media survey to Debra Askanese’s well debated post on Google+’s benefits and detriments, voices across the web are debating whether it’s hip to be Square (Corporate brands are denoted by squares on Google+).

The reality of the situation is even from a simple brand reputation standpoint, it’s time to get your square and protect your brand integrity. The last thing you want is someone else owning your brand on Google+! What if it actually takes off? Or worse, what if an unforeseen blogodrama savages your brand reputation on Google+?

Beyond that, there is the very obvious search value of being on Google+. Pete Cashmore said it best, “Now those little +1 votes being cast around the Web are starting to change the order of Google’s search results, helping to keep Google in line with the social trend.” And if your content isn’t integrated with +1 technology, you are hurting your organic search possibilities.

In fact, Google is actively redeveloping its entire ecosystem to revolve around Google+, as Google Reader users can attest to. The only way to natively share outbound posts beyond email is Google. This integration is systematic, and we are seeing the next generation of the online behemoth evolve before our eyes.

From a strategic communications perspective, Google+ is real hit or miss. It is still an early adopter’s social network, with testosterone driven techies riding its ether waves. Most mainstream brands will find the network wanting. Further, if you want to market towards the “Mommy Tsunami,” the demographics are generally not skewed well.

Additionally, real advertising on Google+ remains in the wings and the application programming interface (API) is still read only. Right now the only Google+ business offering is a participation game with a profile. You have to connect with people, which means your brand has to invest the time to build relationships and cultivate a following. Otherwise, you will be posting in silence.

But, all things in consideration, it is time to stop experimenting and at a minimum set up a business outpost on Google+. It may never beat Facebook, but Google+ is unlikely to fade into the night the way Buzz and Wave did. The last thing you want is to be caught with your pants down on a social network. Just like other networks, own your real estate, and take advantage of the search benefits Google+ has to offer.

What do you think of Google+ for Business?

17 thoughts on “Is It Hip to Be Square?

  1. Well said, Geoff. I think businesses and nonprofits should claim their space. But then I look at my page and wonder if it’s a plus (*grin*) to have a page with out-of-date posts…

    Guess I better update mine. :)

  2. One issue I’m personally wrestling with right now is that I already have a personal G+ page highlighting my professional expertise. Should I also get a business G+ page? What would be the difference?

    • Even if it just points to your personal profile, yes. You want to protect your brand name.  As to content, if you intend to scale you will eventually need to be more than just you, so consider content that is less personal.

  3. I know it is very early but has anyone attempted to list up the best Google+ brand pages yet?

    Since the Page name is just numbers, to what extent is a Page Brand grabbed? For John Doe – Photographer … can there be just one?

    Looking forward to see your Page launch Geoff. I see your note about “capacity” here and I hear you.

    I have a lot of improvements to make on my personal G+ profile but one step for anyone would be to optimize your “Employment” to other than “self”.

    • Funny, my bio reads “Self.”  As I am self employed, and am not interested in building another company at the moment, you won’t see a Page from me.  But I am suggesting that clients do it!

  4. All I keep thinking is ‘feed the beast.’ I recognize that it’s time to stop dipping and start doing. But I remain unconvinced that the Plus is a game changer. I don’t know how you put the cart before the horse and then expect the coachman (or woman) to drive. Google is truly defining what a ‘user experience’ is in the sense that the company has figured out how to get the user to do its dirty work for it. And therein lies one of my key problems with the Plus. I don’t like doing other people’s work for them while they reap the rewards. At some point, the field needs to be leveled. 

    • I can see where people feel that way. I consider it the price of free. Because much of my work is Google tool dependent — free tools — I find myself increasingly drawn to Plus.  Just once a day on average, but more so than a couple of months ago.

      • I agree. But the price of free can be quite costly, no? I try to visit it once a day. But I have engagement issues and so I wonder how a brand will fare? I see its utility for education, pharma and health. Less so for an Ivory or a Pepsi….

        • Yup, for some it will be better to set up an outpost and simply use a URL to send them to a more active site.
          Sent by Billy Bob Thornton (my iPhone)

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