The Future of Google+: Integrating Brand Pages with the Social Network’s 40 Million User Profiles
Posted by: Micah Pratt, director of social networking r&d
Last Wednesday at the Web 2.0 conference held in San Francisco, Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Google+, discussed the possible changes coming to the social networking site. One of those changes included the idea of Google+ brand pages for companies anxiously waiting to reach out to the more than 40 million users. Here is an article from Mashable.com on what Google+ brand pages could look like when made available to companies.
Just as Facebook was announcing its tweaks, though, Google was on track to add brand pages to Google Plus. Though it looks like that will happen any day now, the integration hasn’t been announced yet. Meanwhile, a handful of brands, including Ford, are already enjoying the possibilities.
There are several barriers to designing brand pages for Plus. For one thing, it’s hard to stand out the way Plus looks now. The somewhat rigid format has a leveling effect. But Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny, one of the agencies that accepted our challenge, says there are potential advantages to Plus, too. “A primary gripe among Facebook and Twitter users is that brands bombard them with messages they don’t want or care to see,” said Murphy. “In its current form, Plus doesn’t solve that problem, but Plus Brand Pages might, if they implement Public Circles.”
Skinny outlined how this might work with a hypothetical example for Mini, the auto brand. In this case, a Mini Countryman fan could join the Countryman circle and see just Countryman updates in her feed. “This level of selectivity isn’t possible on Facebook or even Twitter, unless of course you are a fan or follow the specific product you’re interested in — but there’s a major drawback to that method because the user has to seek out content streams,” Murphy says. “With Google+ it’s all in one place, and the all the admin has to do is feed pertinent content to the appropriate circles.”
In addition to Skinny, Fantasy Interactive created some fictional Coca-Cola and Starbucks brand pages. Are these on the mark? We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime, let us know what you think of these agencies’ vision of how Google+ can accommodate brands.