Google recently launched their business pages product. The product is not without serious flaws or issues. Most importantly, officially you are only allowed to have one person as an admin of a page. The page must be attached to one, and only one, personal account. At the agency level this makes Google plus pages nearly impossible to work with. Having multiple administers serving several different functions is a basic requirement of social networks in 2011.
There are several reasons why businesses need to have multiple, and replaceable, administrators that are obvious at surface level. When working within an agency there are even more reasons. Community Managers, Clients, Media Teams, Digital Strategists, Account Executives, among others might have a need to log in as an administrator of a page. In fact for most businesses, more than one person needs to have access and control of a social channel. Google, as a company that recently switched CEOs, should have realized this reality. The Spam controls are great for the network as a whole, however, they are well beyond what is needed from the first iteration, mostly because pages didn’t NEED this much functionality at launch.
The fact that the Google plus business product is missing this core administrative feature is probably most disappointing, because it represents a failure Google has been able to avoid since the inception of the network. Until now Google has not re-created the Facebook wheel. The administrative rights alone indicate that avoidance of early Facebook mistakes may have been more luck than skill. Had Google launched nonfunctional pages with just an avatar, static info, and multiple admin rights it would have been better for everyone. Almost every feature they have is 3 or 4 steps beyond the basic administrative level, and shows an inability to fully understand challenge of running a business channel on social media.
I reached out to Google to ask if the Facebook pages 1.0 solution, *creating a business profile that has no activity for the purpose of managing a page*, was acceptable. The response, “there will be no terms of service exceptions.” With the real name profile policy on Google Plus the Facebook 1.0 solution out of contention. Google seems to be serious about their terms of service, unless of course, a brand spends a few million in ads every year or it is Google themselves. If you are not in this category or, you don’t value your adwords, Google Docs, Google Analytics or Gmail accounts, it is probably not worth breaking the rules.
At this point Google Plus has nearly the same number of active users as Foursquare and Get Glue’s user-base put together, or about 20% of active Twitter users. Until the admin issue is resolved, or the network explodes additional resources are best used for the following purposes.
- Keeping an eye on brands that are messing up/ creating fire storms on the network
- Looking for bright spots
- Investing in developing a strategy for organic growth (few brands are doing this at all and it is very possible, that is a different blog post)
- Clocking post life
- Analyzing ripples
- Personally using new engagement functionality no social site has ever brought to a brand
- Learning the Terms of Service, Google has shown they are not gun shy about closing down anyone, even big name players! (Looks at Ford)
- Looking at the SEO considerations
Google Plus Pages is hardly a complete or even adequate product for large organizations at this time.
Mike Handy has been working in Social Media since Facebook was only for college students. He started his first blog in 1999 when most people were still figuring out this “Internet thing”. These experiences paired with his background in advertising and data-centric approach provide him with a unique view of social media. When he isn’t working he is probably watching, playing, or doing something hockey related.