Google+ Profiles for Business Apps are Here!
After months of waiting business profiles for Google+, Google’s social network, are here. Google has, in its usual limited-access fashion, made it available, in the first instance, to those who have Google Apps for Business (the service costs $5 per month to use and you do need to have a website) with the intention of ironing out the bugs before it gets rolled out to everyone else, later in November.
For Google Apps users the service needs to be enabled manually from within the Google Apps account and then it takes a little tinkering to configure access and sharing rights. The roll out of the Business Profiles for G+ gives us a first look at what we might expect by way of functionality.
Complete Control and Privacy Settings
G+ users are already used to the way they use Circles to segregate who they share content with and how and also who sees the content they share. On the Business Apps Profile for G+ the same, flexible way of sharing and segregating content is in place plus the ability to seamlessly communicate within the company with specific groups or departments, share data and collaborate through the initial exchange of information. Essentially this is like having a company intranet with added functionality available through your Google Apps profile.
Hangouts, the ability of G+ users to jump into an impromptu video chat comes in the Business Profile with the options of sharing screen shots and collaborating in real-time on a Google Doc. This, again, takes company communications to a brand-new level leveraging Google’s stability to create a stable enterprise solution for the small businesses which could not afford anything like this.
Obviously the feature becomes even more powerful when it comes to connecting with customers and communicating to them, with the ability of a small sales team to provide complete multi-media communication with customers on a personalized basis.
Portability of Data
Although Google specifically asked businesses to hold off from creating business profiles on its network until the Business Profiles were ready the company knows quite a lot of people have set up private profiles and used them to share content and market their businesses. For those who have done this all is not lost. Google is working on a migration tool to allow those users to port their data over to their Business Profile on Google+. This will be available, hopefully, by the time the Business Profiles are rolled out globally so there should be little time lost.
One quick word of advice, because Business Apps Profiles are designed to be controlled centrally, you may want to think twice before porting all your data (and email messages) across as your central administrator will have access to them, including the ability to restrict which Google services you can access and how you can port or not data across services.
Dominant Network for Business
With Google+ Business Apps Profiles Google is aiming straight at the business user who needs to interact with customers and business people within his industry. With the network’s ability to control access a Business Apps Profile means you no longer have to put up with fluffy kitten pictures as part of your daily G+ routine, nor do you have to switch your chat off or pretend you are not there because some online friend with time to burn wants to shoot the breeze while you are chasing a deadline.
This may well make Business Apps Profiles on G+ the predominant means of B2B connections, posing –suddenly- a real threat to LinkedIn whose functionality, despite recent improvements simply cannot compete.
When it comes to its Business Profiles Google has promised analytics integration with the option to track just how your social interactions on the G+ network pay-off plus the ability to see how far they reach as Google’s search picks up your public postings and creates a global online marketing campaign out of a relatively low-key interaction. The integration of Analytics raises the possibility of taking things to an entirely new level and socialising Google Ads, which is what a seamlessly created social company presence needs. This fits in well with Google’s plans to add the Google +1 button to its display network ads.
The nuanced approach which Google had promised to make available in its socialising of services is there allowing marketers to decide just how and when they interact with their online public and measure the results. In the meantime the Google development team is working hard at a global roll out date of Business Profiles, wait, prepare and get ready to move in the moment Business Profiles become publicly available.
David Amerland's latest book is "Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Gets Your Company More Traffic, Increases Brand Impact and Amplifies Your Online Presence" which can be ordered from Amazon or any good bookstore. He is the author of: 'The Social Media Mind: How social media is changing business, politics and science and helps create a new world order' ...
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