After months of waiting, businesses can finally create Google+  business pages.

This latest development is a very big deal as it has been highly anticipated by online marketers wishing to expand the presence of their businesses online.


 

Rocky Road for Businesses on Google+
Ever since Google+ launched earlier this year, many brand marketers took the initiative and began creating company branded Google+ profiles for their products.

There was one problem though… The act of opening a Google+ profile for a business is against the terms and condition of Google. 

What did Google do?

They began scouting the network, taking company names and shutting down profiles… Ouch.

A brand new day… Google+ Brand Pages

That was June 2011… Jump to November and Google+ Brand Pages have launched and are now available for businesses.

To claim your own Branded Google+ page for your business, simply visit the following link:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/pages/create

If you need any help in creating your page, here is a handy guide on How to Set Up a Google+ Branded Page.

The new Google+ Brand pages look identical to Google+ Profiles, except for a little icon that clarifies that it’s a Page rather than a user Profile.

The jury is out on whether Google+ Branded pages are better than Facebook business pages… Still, factors such as high search ranking for Search Engine Optimization purposes, being able to access Google+’s actively engaged audience and just being on top of the latest Social Media trends make the Google offering very interesting.

Only time will tell if Google+ will have as big an impact as Facebook pages, but at this moment many businesses are jumping at the opportunity to claim their place and protect their brand name on Google+.

Google+ Brand Pages Still Very Raw

Although these new Brand pages allow for creating pages for your business, they are not for everyone… Yet.

For starters, they only allow one person to “own” or “post to” an account. Unlike Facebook where you can have multiple admins, there’s no way for a social media team, customer service team or other people to split up duties.

Another problem… what would happen if the primary page owner leaves a company or something happens to them? You’re basically tied to that primary owner for the page… not effective for anything beyond a one-man show. There is a great post from Mashable .com on the top 10 feature users want from Google+ Brand Pages.

Here is that top 10 list, ranked in the order they’re published at Mashable, along with my thoughts on each one and how I’d rank them:

  1. 1. Multiple Admins (This is an absolute MUST – My #1)
  2. 2. Vanity URLs (Nice to have and necessary to protect your brand My #2)
  3. 3. Ability to Join Hangouts (Cool additional feature & differentiator from Facebook Pages. My #9)
  4. 4. YouTube Integration (Very important. My #6)
  5. 5. Google Analytics (You’ve GOT to be kiddin’ me. No analytics integration? My #3)
  6. 6. More versatility with circles (Current weakness with regular profiles also. My #7)
  7. 7. Blogs and Websites (Would add value to the offering but not critical. My #8)
  8. 8. Mobile usability (This is DEFINITELY critical. Facebook has major head start on this. My #4)
  9. 9. Full API Access (Very important if the platform is to grow. My #5)
  10. 10. Google Places integration (Important but I can wait… My #10)

 

Even with all these current limitations, Google+ Brand pages will continue improving and they hold a lot of promise. Smart, forward-looking digital marketers should definitely be looking at how they can leverage them for their own business.

I’m already working and analyzing how to best use Google+ Brand pages for HSM and World Business Forum, I encourage you to take a look and do the same for your business.