Ever since Google launched its latest foray into the world of social networking in late June, it has become increasingly apparent that Facebook finally has a formidable competitor on its hands. While past attempts to penetrate the social networking market have crashed and burned (yes, we’re talking about you, Buzz), Google+ has been receiving more praise than criticism in recent weeks. Most news stories have focused on features and the growing popularity of Google+ for consumers, but what about businesses? Google+ Product Manager Christian Oestlien recently uploaded a YouTube video and post on Google+ to give us an update on the billion-dollar company’s upcoming plans for business profiles.
“How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands, and we want to create an optimal experience for both. We have a great team of engineers actively building an amazing Google+ experience for businesses, and we will have something to show the world later this year,” says Oestlien. Although Google is urging brands to hold off on creating profiles, many well-known brands have already joined the network, like Ford, Breaking News and Mashable. Google’s policy team will be actively working with these existing profile owners to shut down non-user profiles, while reinforcing that exciting developments are in the works. “It will include things like rich analytics and the ability to connect that identity to other parts of Google that businesses might use on a daily basis, like AdWords,” reports Oestlien.
As the company did with Google+ for consumers, it plans to launch a “small experiment with a few marketing partners” to test the business profiles over the next several months. While reading about Google’s plans for brand-oriented accounts is exciting, it’s a curious move on their part to not be prepared to support both social users and the company’s that follow them. It seems that in their urgency to establish a respectable presence in the online social networking community, they neglected to respect the importance of optimizing the Google+ experience for brands.
For now, companies will have to temper their excitement to get in on the latest buzz-worthy social site, but we’ll be hearing plenty about ongoing developments as we make our way into the latter part of the year. Google+ is sure to have a significant impact on interactive marketing, especially in the world of social media marketing. Coupling Google’s powerful search engine marketing with Google+ for businesses has the very real potential to pull advertisers from Facebook. It is sure to be a pivotal year for the world of social networking; will Facebook suffer the same fate of MySpace? We’ll just have to wait and see!