Google+ Pages may sound reminiscent of Facebook Pages, and they are, albeit with a few important twists. (Josh goes into depth about how Google+ could one-up its rival in the battle over Pages here.) As one might guess, Pages offers brands and businesses a similar experience to that of individual Google+, in that brands can place people into Circles to share content with that select group, launch video hangouts to have face-to-face conversations with their customers, and it all works through the site’s mobile app.
As G+ Pages roll out to all users, Google wants to give businesses looking to managing their Pages a set of integrations that will enhance their experience on the platform and give them increased flexibility. Today, Google+ announced that it is launching a pilot program that will essentially allow businesses and brands to manage their Google+ Pages using a number of third-party applications, like Hootsuite and Buddy Media, to name a few.
In total, six social media companies will get early access to the Google+ API to, in Google’s words, “test Google+ functionality in their management tools”.
These six companies, which include Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Vitrue, will make a subset of their tools available to Page owners to enable them to manage circles, publish to Google+, access insights, and monitor usage. According to Google+ these six companies were chosen because of “their extensive experience helping brands and businesses manage and assess their presence on social networks”.
Though it’s still early, these social media integrations seem to offer the beginnings of what could be some extensive functionality for Page owners, specifically in terms of targeting, advanced Page management, and analytics.
As one can see from Heresay’s announcement, for example, the company’s partnership with Google+ will allow Page owners to schedule posts and campaigns across brand pages, use the company’s CRM tools to manage customer relationships, and take advantage of social analytics to view metrics across every brand and local page.
And perhaps more importantly, Heresay will allow its users to target content to specific Google+ Circles, allowing marketers to post (and schedule) campaigns that reach specific demographics within their audience. (Hootsuite, too, offers similar message-tailoring to specific subsets of a business’ audience.) For example, marketers would be able to create a “Loyal Customers” Circle and be able to blast out specific messages, deals, etc. to those power users.
Because Google+ doesn’t allow multiple users to access and manage one particular Page, it seems this new integration with these social media companies will be a great substitute. Now, it’s just up to Google to open this kind of functionality up to personal accounts.