Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creating a Google+ Brand Page--Even if You Aren't a Brand

Google suggests that you can create a brand page for a product, brand or even a project. That’s true, but it’s not as easy as it sounds, and I wanted to share a few things I learned in the process of setting up a page for the new edition of our Internet marketing textbook.

Google has a blog post with a chirpy little video about how useful the brand pages are. It includes an early-stages list of brand pages, most of which are global brands in spite of the fact that the video is for a local bike marketer. Looking at some good pages is useful, but it’s definitely not all you need to know.

The good news is that the set-up is easy. If you look at the initial page, you see the business categories, which should fit any need. I selected product or brand, which seemed fine. However, at that point, I had already made a mistake.

I had been following the advice of early users so I carefully signed out of all my Google accounts and set up a new one. I simply couldn’t disassociate my name and post on the new page as administrator. I just kept being Mary Lou, not what I wanted. So I closed the new Google account and tried another tack.

I used the personal website I’ve had for quite some time, following Google’s instructions to verify that I owned it. That was easy. However, I had never set up email services on that site and I had to have an email address to set up the page. For two frustrating days I tried everything, following the hosting services instructions to set it up and Google’s to verify. Nothing worked. Then I called the hosting service and found that free email services were no longer available in spite of what my account management page said. When I purchased the service for one email box—voilá, it all worked fine!

That may be overstating it a bit. When you sign out of all Google accounts—as all the advice correctly recommends—and go to the Google + page for business, you find the first thing you have to do is to sign in with a valid Google account. You don’t want to sign in with a personal account; that associates your personal profile with the brand page and you don’t want that. I could sign in with my (verified) website address, but I still had to fill out a profile as a person, not as a business. Then I got the Create a Page icon on the right bar and could actually set up the brand page.

I created the page, wrote a profile that explained it was for people who’ve adopted our book for classroom teaching, and wrote a post. All was working fine, but at this point you’ve got various accounts and email addresses floating around, so be sure to bookmark the page so you can get to it easily. You’ll probably want to activate multiple accounts sign-in, which makes it convenient to switch from your personal account to your “business” account.

But you still need to be careful when you post. You have a personal profile/page that is linked (inextricably, I think) to your business profile/page. If you post when +your name is showing it goes onto your personal page. In order to get it on your business page (+your business account) you have to hit the blue Manage this page bar when you first enter the page. Then you’ll see +your business account in the upper left bar and you’re good to go.

Things you need to keep in mind:

1. This is probably easier if you have a Google Places local business account. Try working through that instead of the Product or Brand tab I used and see if it’s easier.
2. Even if you use a Google Places account sign in, it seems that G+ wants to associate all brand pages with a person, so you may still have the issues of multiple profiles.
3. Moving back and forth on a single page seems impossible. In other words, if I’d like to post part of the time as +your name and some of the time for really official stuff as +your business account, you just can’t do it. I had the same issue on a Facebook page for which I was an administrator, so this one is easy for me to believe.
4. And perhaps the most important of all: you can’t add people on a brand page; you have to invite them and only if they choose to add your brand page to their circle will you be able to see them.

You can see the current version of the book’s G+ page—and if you are an Internet marketing instructor, please add us to your circle!

Article first posted as Creating a Google+ Brand Page Even if You're Not a Brand on Technorati.

4 comments:

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Mary Lou Roberts said...

Would be delighted to have you as a follower! @mlr001 All my posts are fed through to T.

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