How Google business profiles should work

first_imgI was floored when less than 24 hours after I was on Google+ I started seeing businesses with profiles. I was angry, because it meant that those lucky enough to have an invite were wasting them instead of letting actual users into the service. I was confused too, because it showed me that the users who had created these profiles didn’t “get” Google+, and how that strategy wouldn’t really work here.It wasn’t a great day for me, especially since some of my closest friends own and run businesses, and were doing this right in front of me. After Google made their public statement that Business profiles would be coming later, and that existing business profiles would be getting deleted, I stood strong as I blocked and flagged my own friends and business partners. It hurt feelings, I am sure, but I couldn’t help it. That wasn’t the point of Google+, and those that figured it out benefited greatly. Google just closed shop on their open invitation for businesses to partipate in the beta when it was ready, which really made me think more about the service. What exactly did Google intend to do to make business profiles fit into Google+?The personal interaction of Google+ is what makes it so successful. You have people in circles, and you focus on those circles at your leisure. Because of this, the Twitter and Facebook style of blasting links to things and asking for the most amount of “likes” on something for a contest is something that is just plain unsustainable in the current format. Those who figured out that by engaging users on a personal level, and by adding their face to their marketing, got much better results.Would you rather hear about a new product from the Dell Computers Google+ account, or from Michael Dell himself? Would you rather see  the latest article from Geek.com’s Google+ profile, or from our super editor Sal Cangeloso’s account? Google+ takes the experience out of the hands of the blank entity and adds a face and a personality to it.So, if the personal interaction is king, how do you make the business profile work? After thinking long and hard about how I use Google+, and discussing with as wide an audience as possible about how they use it, I came to a single conclusion. Google+ for business needs to exist on a completely different layer above the personal layer. The Geek.com Google+ account, for example, would be a place in which employees of that company/site would be added. Once they are added, their account is noted in some way, and their personal account is given a “Geek.com Business” circle. When the user publishes something to the Geek.com circle, the business profile publishes it as if to say “Here’s a thing that Sal has to say on our behalf”. This way, the existing social system is maintained, and there’s little extra maintenance on the side of the business.What about users looking to add Geek.com to their circle? When this happens, the note will say which user made the post. Take, for example, all of the posts we’ve seen from Googlers since the service started. Many of these users I now rely on for very specific information, not just information about Google. If I want to just see information about ChromeOS, I know I want to add Google to my circle, but I want to focus on posts that come from the ChromeOS community leader. This way, I can choose to view Google’s stream in its entirety, but I can also break off specific parts into their own circles for when I want to read just those parts. Now Google is a great deal larger than most companies using the service, but the beauty of circles is that the service can be scaled based entirely on how many sections the business decides it has.How does this benefit the business? The tools that would then become available. Sharing and posting is the storefront, really just for the users benefit. Where the account really draws in the business is in the heightened potential for collaboration. Look at the black bar. Email, Documents, Calendar are already part of a Google business account. Tie them all together with a group chat and a video conferencing services and you have a complete productivity suite that works across multiple OS’. Oh, and at least for now it’s completely free. What business would say no to that?Being able to exist in this “layer above” is important, because it also paves the way for the rest of Google+. I’m talking about games, productivity tools, and multimedia enhancements as well. By existing above the social layer, users would be able to simply filter out the bits they don’t want into circles. Personally, I doubt I will be into games. I really didn’t like them on Facebook, and knowing that Google is planning to bring games to the platform has bothered me somewhat. In this format, however, I would be able to simply hide games away and never see them. If this is, in fact, how Google plans to bring about the rest of Google+, the service will cease to be thought of as a social network, and more closely compared to the evolution of the all-in-one web experience.last_img read more

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