Google+ just opened its doors to the world by enabling open signups and moving to the beta, testing phase. The nascent social network is still thin on features and ways for businesses to properly use it, but its minimalist approach has gained Google+ millions of users in a very short period.
If you've tried it out for yourself, you'll know that making your way around Google+ is a simplistic, uncluttered experience compared to that of Facebook.
Back in July, Google promised that business profiles and features would be coming later, and as we get a little closer to when they are supposed to be announced later in 2011, it's time to position your business to take advantage in advance.
What's Coming for Business in Google+?
Google is preparing Google+ for businesses, as Christian Oestlien, Product Manager for Google+, explains in the video below. Rich analytics and the ability to connect to AdWords will be among those features.
Advertising will likely happen when Google rolls out business features, as Oestlien has stated that AdWords will play a part in the new business features. The ability to extend an existing advertising campaign into Google+ where you can target your client's interests will be invaluable. This will also extend Google's ability to advertise to local users for businesses that only offer services within a specific geographic area, exactly as you can on Facebook.
Stake Your Claim on Google+
Google has asked businesses to hold off on claiming user profiles for their businesses on Google+ until it rolls out certain features. This means that companies will likely have their own pages as they currently do on Facebook. As soon as Google+ business features are announced, you'll want to claim your company's home on Google+ by tasking someone in your company to watch for the announcement and setting up your Google+ business profile as soon as it comes.
You'll also want to stick with your company's real name. While it will be tempting to grab other names, such as keywords related to your business or misspelled versions of your company name, I suspect this practice will very likely be against Google policy. In addition to being your home on Google+, your business profile will be a valuable back-link for search engine optimization purposes.
If you've logged on and noticed that someone has taken your company name, don't panic. What they have created is not a business profile, and those are likely to be a little harder to establish than a user profile. This person is likely not from Coca-Cola, for example. Google has been actively cracking down on people who aren't using accounts for personal use only, and you can expect to be shut down if you try.
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