It seems like Google+ Pages for businesses have been a long-time coming, even though Google+ was released into “invite only” field testing on June 28th of this year and just officially rolled out to the general public on September 20th.. That’s not even five full months at this time. Weird, huh? But it really seems like businesses have been waiting forever.
The reason it feels so delayed is that the need for businesses to leverage social networking is so great. Additionally, many businesses feel the there is a significant benefit in being an early adapter to any fashionable technology. Google+ created an enormous amount of buzz in the social market and businesses have been clamoring for commercial access. And while the benefits of social media – as they relate to commercial endeavors – are generally quantifiable in many situations, there are those who claim that Google+, for all its initial fanfare and hype, is seriously lacking in the race behind Facebook and Twitter. Some say that Google+ is poised to fail (following a reported 60% drop-off in day-to-day traffic from early October) and that the addition of business pages has been in response to ailing dwell time and loyalty.
So, what does Google have to say for itself in this matter?
“So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people,” said Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra in a recent blog post. “But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about – from local businesses to global brands – so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.”
Based on his response, it’s a fair assumption that Mr. Gundotra knows something that he’s keeping to himself. It’s also a safe bet that he’s been pondering a little-known mathematical formulation known as Reed’s Law (and this is where it gets interesting). Developed by Dr. David Reed, an Adjunct Professor at the MIT Media Lab, Reed’s Law asserts that the validity of a social networking site ultimately depends on how well it promotes the formation of groups. In other words, it’s not all about making connections between individuals. Whether your interest is in the businesses you favor, brands, products, artists, causes, or entertainment, the groups and fan pages that support those interests will drive dwell time, growth and loyalty for a social networking site.
Need proof? Look how easily Facebook battered MySpace into near obscurity.
Google+ Pages for businesses is the first in what will no doubt be a number of additions to Google+ that should allow people to organize better. Those sticking to Google+ will begin to create and join fan pages (communities) based on their business and personal interests. When you look at the issue from a marketing perspective, it’s all a numbers game: the greater the community number, the tighter the hold. A good example at the moment is Eminem, a celebrity with huge drawing power, who has 7 million Twitter followers and 48 million Facebook fans – but cannot be found on Google+ whatsoever. What Eminem is doing for Facebook and Twitter is invaluable to the longevity of those social networks. And you can bet that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey love every new follower and fan that Eminem draws.
So where does this leave Google+ in the business pages mix? Time will tell. One thing we know for certain is that Google has the funding and the talent to create and grow business interests overnight. They have already started, with this YouTube video:
To get started on a Google+ Page for your business, go to https://plus.google.com/pages/create and follow the directions.