Back in June 2011, Google launched Google+ to counter the increasingly powerful and influential Facebook. According to Google, 40 million people have signed up for Google+ which equates to about 8 million new users a month. Not a bad effort but a long way to go to reach the 800 million Facebook users.
The launch of Google+ saw a number of complaints from consumers, especially related to applications whose functionality was changed or users being forced to give up pseudonyms to continue sharing.
Corporations also complained because they were unable to connect and build relationships with consumers, something they have been able to do and do successfully on Facebook.
Some companies did try to create business pages on Google+ but they were rejected, with a request to wait.
Well the wait is over with the launch today of Google+ Brand Pages. Now firms can connect and engage with consumers through corporate pages. Although Google+ Brand Pages doesn’t operate that differently from Facebook, it will have to form a part of any corporation’s social media strategy.
One neat feature not available on Facebook is Google+ Direct Connect. Simply by putting “+” in front of a brand’s name before making a Google search, will ensure searchers are directed to the firms Google+ page.
Google’s open approach also means that a brand can now have a business page that is integrated with Google search, Ad words, Google places and YouTube.
Critically, I also expect Google+ profiles to have a significant impact on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and search results. And once Google starts to provide metrics for pages via Google analytics, we may see Facebook’s crown slip.