Google is now officially allowing businesses, brands and other organizations to join the Google+ social network. Initially, Google+ was only open to people; Google deleted any accounts that tried to use a personal account for their company. Companies and brands are now welcome on Google+, which will open up a whole new world of social media marketing tactics to explore.

Create Your Page

Business owners can now use the Create a Page tool, found on their Google+ homepage to create a page for their company. Like Facebook, you must create a business page by using a personal account. The owner of that personal account then becomes the sole administrator of the page. Unlike Facebook, Google+ only allows one person to be the administrator of a page. However, this is expected to change in the coming weeks. If you have a social media manager for your company, be sure this is the person who creates the Google+ company page.

Once you click the Create a Page button, you will be prompted to choose between the following categories:

• Local Business or Place
• Product or Brand
• Company, Institution or Organization
• Arts, Entertainment or Sports
• Other

Determine which category your business best fits in and create your page.


Local Business Pages

Local Business Pages are different than the other pages on Google+. These pages are meant to allow followers to connect easily with the physical location of that business. Local business pages include a map to show people where to find the business location as well as the address, phone number and hours of operation. Even if you’ve already claimed your local business on Google Places, you still need to add your business to Google+. The two are completely separate applications: Google+ is a social network meant to engage and build relationships with fans whereas Google Places should be used to help potential customers find your business location when searching on Google.

Using Google+ as a Page

Once your page is created, you’ll have the ability to choose whether you want to act as yourself or your business page. When you’re acting as your page you’re able to do many of the same things you can do using a personal account, such as share photos, videos and links, conduct hangouts, etc. One restriction put on pages is that you cannot follow someone as a page until that person adds you to one of their circles. Here are some more things to pay attention to as a page on Google+

• Like Facebook, on Google+ it’s okay to create multiple pages on one personal account.
• Pages show the +1 count on their page. This shows all the people who have +1’d the entire site.
• Google will be launching a new badge for brands to share online (on their site, blog, etc.) to encourage people to add them to circles and +1 their business.
• If someone searches for your business using the Google search bar with a + symbol before the business name (i.e. +local splash) they can be taken directly to the Google+ page where they can follow the business.

Google+ for business is still very new and many of the kinks are still being worked out. Some features are expected to be added, enhanced or even possibly removed in the next coming weeks so be sure to pay attention to this growing social network.