12 Most Vital Things for Google+ to Include in Business Pages
First, Facebook created groups and we all ran like lemmings (including me) to start a group for our business and grow it as quickly as possible. We could message our group members and create events that enabled us to invite everyone in the group with a click of a button. The messages and invites were only text based, but we were ok with that. Life was good. Not great, but good.
Then we realized that all of our group members’ names were out in the open and easy for competitors to cherry pick. Then we were told that groups were going away and we thought “sh*t”. But we didn’t have another option, so we rushed to migrate everyone over to a fan page where people had to “like” us. We could no longer invite fans en mas to events and if there were over 3,000 people invited to an event, we lost our ability to message them. Eventually, Facebook completely took away the ability to message fans. We could only post on our wall and hope that via some unknown algorithm, the post would show up on our fans’ walls.
We were in a dysfunctional relationship that we couldn’t get out of because we didn’t have any other options. ’Till now! Google+ has come into town on its white horse, ready to sweep us away. Here are a few things that Google+ can do to woo droves of businesses away from an option that just isn’t working any more.
1. Ability to easily extract and use contact information of people who choose to join our page
I’ll talk more about opting-in for various communications later, but if someone makes the choice to join a business page, they are opening the door to a relationship. Relationships are gold and so is an easy way to contact them.
2. Option for group members to opt-in to receiving various communications
As long as Google+ is up front with people when as they join pages and makes them aware that their contact information will be shared, there’s no problem with Google+ sharing contact and other information with the page owner. It would also be a benefit to have new members opt-in to various types of communications; eg: event invites, informational updates, sales and promotions info.
3. Make sure that joining page is a choice, not a default
Speaking of opt-in, I would hope that Google+ business pages don’t follow Facebook’s lead when it comes to automatically adding people to groups. The ability to invite people to a Page should come with the ability to send a short note, explaining the group and why the invitee has been invited to join.
4. Page wall posts should show-up by default on members’ walls
Business page wall posts should show up on members walls by default or desire, not some random algorithm.
5. Robust email platform
How wonderful would it be to be able to either easily import member contact information into an external email platform or for Google+ to build one. At the very least Google could leverage its email platform editing and formatting capabilities. They could even turn this into a profit center, charging for the use of the system if it were as robust as an Emma or Constant Contact.
6. Event invite management
This would include ability to invite all business page fans with a click of a button and not one by one. This would also include the ability to message confirmed guests as well as those who haven’t responded regardless of the size of the invite list.
7. Non-flash apps / common coding language
Need I say more?
8. Kick-butt live streaming
The only live streaming I’ve experienced on Facebook has been through clunky apps that are slow and don’t do well as traffic increases. I’d like to see a powerful live streaming in the group setting. Google+ has done well with this already with general chats.
9. Private groups or sub-groups
This would include the ability to hide group member’s names and information. I have a traditional direct marketing background and am not happy with several aspects of having an open environment. On one hand, I see the benefits of strengthening a network via letting group members share, I also see the setbacks of having a network open for poachers to come in and cherry pick members.
Integrate the same functionality as individuals have on Google+ right now and I’m a happy camper. Especially if the tagging is searchable and we can tag more than people’s names.
11. A graphic and short copy should show up when posting links to the site
Facebook took this ability away, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back and inspired me to write this post. We have this ability back on our individual walls, but when posting on fan pages only the link shows up (as of 10:16pm CST September 5th, 2011). Who is to say how it will work by the time this post goes live.
12. Integrate customer feedback from both small business owners and large brands
Last, but certainly not least, I would hope that Google+ integrates all of these ideas as well as the ideas in the comment section of this post and feedback from multiple focus groups that are comprised of seasoned business people. Sometimes I feel like Facebook makes its changes randomly as a result of all night hack-a-thons spearheaded by 19 – 24 year olds with no practical marketing experience. No disrespect to the 19 – 24 year olds. I’m sure I could learn volumes from them when it comes to a lot of things, but nothing replaces the value of 15+ years in the marketing trenches learning what works and doesn’t work.
So that’s my Google+ Business Page wish list. I’m sure there are many more ideas that I haven’t thought of and I’d love to hear what you all would like to see in Google+ or other social networking sites business pages. Social media is here to stay and I’d like us to all have a voice in how it looks moving forward.
Featured image courtesy of GabrielaP93 licensed via Creative Commons.