Originally posted at the Likeable Media Blog.
The social web is abuzz with the news of Google+ Pages finally being launched yesterday. After initially deleting personal profiles set up by brands, Google is finally allowing them to set up pages similar to those already available on Facebook. But are these pages really ready for primetime? What could they be doing better?
Right now, only one person can be the admin of a page. That means whoever creates the page is the only one who can post to it. This poses a pretty serious issue for most brands who currently rely on a team to manage their social media presence. You’ll either have to share the Gmail account that created the page, or just leave it to one person to be your go-to Google+ guy. And keep in mind that even if you do decide to share that Gmail account, you won’t be able to keep track of who is posting what!
The +1 Button
So you find a page that you want to follow. On Facebook, you’d normally “Like” the page, so on Google+, you’d click the big shiny +1 button below the profile image, right? WRONG! Clicking the +1 button on a Google+ page has the same effect as clicking the +1 button on a website or in a Google search. It doesn’t affect whether or not you’re following the brand and receiving their updates; it just tells your friends that you’re interested in the brand. That’s all. To actively follow the brand, you have to add them to your Circles. For me, that’s a little confusing and unnecessary. I spent my Monday night exploring new Google+ pages and clicking +1, thinking that the “Like” metaphor would apply. Now I’ll have to go back and Circle those pages. And what Circles do I put them in? Maybe I’m spoiled by Facebook, but I don’t want to evaluate which Circle makes sense for each brand I follow. I just want to click and forget it!
How do I know what’s working for my page and what isn’t? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all offer pretty robust Insights into who your fans are and what content they find most interesting on your page. Right now, Google+ offers no such thing, not even on a basic level. You’d think Google Analytics would come bundled with your Google+ page, right? Well, apparently not. At least, not yet. We’ll see what happens there. But until brands can take a critical look at their performance (and while we’re at it, peek at the performance of competitors), it’s going to be really hard to set benchmarks and accurately gauge success.
These are just a few of the biggest issues I have with Google+ pages right now. Will they be fixed eventually? I’m sure they will! Who knows? They may even be fixed relatively soon! But for now, they’re definitely worth considering before you pull the trigger.
Do you see any problems with Google+ pages? What features would you like to see? Is there anything they could they be doing better? Sound off in the comments below!