Monday, November 7, 2011 | 10:04 AM
(Cross-posted on the Inside AdWords blog.)
Editorial note: Many of you have already verified your Place page via Google Places for business. We encourage you to continue maintaining the information in your Google Places account to help ensure that potential customers can find accurate information about your business on Google Maps and local search. You may also want to supplement your Google Places account with a Google+ Page for your business, which provides you with additional ways to engage and directly interact with customers using Google+. Currently, however, Google Places accounts and Google+ Pages must be managed separately.
Since the initial launch of Google+ just a few months ago, we’ve welcomed over 40 million people and introduced more than 100 new features. For all these people, one important part is still missing - your business.
We want to help you make the same kinds of lasting connections with your customers online the way you can in real life. That’s why we are introducing Google+ Your Business, a collection of tools and products to help you get closer to your customers. At the heart of this is Google+ Pages, your business’s identity on Google+.
Google+ Pages: Have real conversations with the right people
To get your business on Google+, you first need to create a Google+ Page. On your page, you can post updates and news about your business, engage in conversations with your customers, send tailored messages to specific groups of people, and see how many +1’s you have across the web. Here are a few features of Google+ Pages that we think will help you build relationships:
Sometimes you might want to chat with your customers face-to-face. For example, if you run a bookstore, you may want to invite an author to talk about her latest novel, or if you market a cosmetics line, beauty specialists might want to hold how-to sessions for makeup tips. Hangouts make this easy, by letting you have high-quality video chats with nine customers, with a single click. You can use Hangouts to get product feedback, help solve problems or simply get to know people better, all in real time.
Circles allow you to group followers of your Page into smaller audiences. You can then share specific messages with specific groups. For example, you could create a Circle containing people who are your most loyal customers and offer them a special discount.
+1 button and Google+ badge: Inspire current customers to recommend new ones
Google+ Pages also help you deliver your great content to users in a way that’s easy to share with their friends. We introduced the +1 button as a way for your customers to recommend your business across the web - on Google search, in your ads, on sites across the web and on mobile devices. Now, your customers can +1 your Page, recommending your actual brand -- not just an individual ad or a site -- directly to their friends.
To help your customers find your page and start sharing, we have two buttons you can add to your site by visiting our Google+ badge configuration tool:
The Google+ icon is a small icon that directly links to your Page.
In the coming days, we’re introducing the Google+ badge, which lets people add your page to their circles, without leaving your site, to start getting updates from your business via Google+.
Make your +1’s count, improving the performance of your ads
Coming soon, we will also make it possible to link your Page to your AdWords campaigns for your site, so that all your +1s -- from your Page, your website, ads and search results -- will get tallied together and appear as a single total.
Consumers will be able to see all the recommendations your business has received, whether they are looking at an ad, a search result or your page, meaning your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day. In the coming days. you'll be able to link your page to your AdWords campaigns by following the instructions in the AdWords Help Center.
Or, if you're using AdWords Express from your Google Places account, you can link your ads to your Google+ Page by simply selecting the option to direct viewers of your ad to your Google+ Page, and entering the Google+ Page URL in the appropriate field.
Bringing Google+ to the rest of Google
Our ultimate vision for Google+ is to transform the overall Google experience-- weaving identity and sharing into all of our products. Beginning today, we’re rolling out a new experimental feature, Direct Connect -- an easy way for your customers to find your Google+ Page on Google search. For eligible pages, when someone searches for your business with the ‘+’ sign before it Direct Connect will send them directly to your page. For example, try searching for ‘+YouTube’ on Google. Users will also be prompted to automatically add Pages they find through Direct Connect to their circles. Direct Connect will not work for everyone.
Just the beginning
We wanted to help you get your business on Google+ as soon as possible, so we’re opening the field trial for Google+ Pages to everyone today. Creating a Google+ Page only takes a few minutes. To get started, you’ll need a personal Google+ profile. If you don’t have a Google account, it’s very quick and easy to join. And if you are looking for inspiration, check out some of the companies that are already starting to set up their Pages:
To learn more about how Google+ works for your business, check out the Google+ Your Business site. We’re just getting started and have many more features in the coming weeks and months. To keep up to date on the latest news and tips, add the Google+ Your Business page to your circles. If you have ideas on how we can improve Google+ for your business, we’d love to hear them.
Posted by Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages