Google launched business pages today and boy, you really are going to want to do this. Why? Because it’s going to give Facebook a SERIOUS run for it’s money. Combine the power of Google search and business pages and this could be very, very interesting.

The announcement of Google pages for business came just as people were beginning to bail on it as a time-waster, but this is clearly a direct assault on Facebook pages. As I scanned my Google Plus stream it quickly became clear that it was way more than that. People are creating topic pages where they will share information that they used to share with circles.

For example:

  • Friend Mike Elgin created a page where he and his wife plan to share their new diet called The Spartan Diet and he says he’ll be sharing on this page instead of to the circles of foodies he had created.
  • CJ Brasiel created a page for questions about San Jose real estate and she plans to use it as a Q&A channel as well as a place to post news and information about real estate in the south bay.
  • Save the Children UK launched their nonprofit page and did a great job setting off their profile with moving photos (hmm, just like Facebook pages eh?)Save the Children UK - Google+
  • The online social media magazine Social Media Examiner didn’t waste any time creating a page, and neither did most of the regular users of Google Plus. How could we resist?
  • As for me, I’ll be sharing as, guess what, Social Media Coach and post tips and tricks, starting of course with a series of video tutorials to show you how to make use of these new pages.

There is a avalanche of new pages being created at the moment as everyone starts the land rush to save their favorite names and protect their brands, and just like with “fan” pages i expect there will be some tussles over who owns the rights to what. It’s Probably not a good idea to create a fan page that uses a brand name for example. Google says “Google reserves the right to restrict the content on your Google+ Page at its discretion.” and I expect they won’t stand for copyright violations like using a Brand’s name in your page, and any contests or promotions must fit within the Google + Pages Contest and Promotion Guidelines.

As many cool new features as there are with the new Google+ pages there are an equal number of questions popping up from my clients. I’ll cover the most frequently asked ones here and then if you want help, just post your questions to my new Google+ page!

How do I create a page?

(3) Google+How do I find my pages again after I build them?
See that little teeny arrow next to your avatar? It’s a drop down list of all the pages you own. Select one and you are now using Google plus as your page.

Can I make someone else an admin of my page?
Nope.┬áNot yet. According to reports from the Google engineers they’re working on this.

Can I share content between myself and my page?
Here’s a trick for that. Create a circle called “Me” or something creative. Add only yourself and your pages to this circle. Now you can simply share your information between your pages and yourself by sharing only with that “Me” circle.

Do I really have to use that silly long numeric user name?
Nah. You can use a URL shortener to get you a nice tidy URL to share with your friends. Here’s a quick video showing one option for a shortcut URL to your Google business page.

Is there a way to connect my pages with my web site?
You can grab the G+ Widget from the right side of the page when you create your page or create your own with your Gplus avatar and a link to your new page. Once you leave this page, just click “Get Started” under your avatar and you’ll find a place to create a custom badge for your website as well as some good advice from Google about making the most of your page.

How do I find business pages?
If you know the brand you want, say, Toyota or Angry Birds, just type a + before the name in the search bar on Google’s home page and it takes you right to their Google Plus business page! . This is part of Google “Direct Connect”, and for the moment is in beta, so it only works with Particular brands. Give it a try. Go to Google’s search page and type on +Toyota and see what happens.

Do I have to create a whole new set of circles?
Sort of. I feel like this is just a glitch, but for the moment you can’t share a circle with your own business page. Your profile settings overide the page and if you already have people in circles the page will not let you create one there too. You’ll have to find somebody else with a similar circle and ask them to share it with your page. Note that once the circle is moved it doesn’t automatically update, you only get the people that are in the circle at the time you move it.

There is a particularly amazing spreadsheet maintained by Google that lists all of the publicly shared circles, from A-Z right here.

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