When Google+ was launched in 2011, the community was intended as a way for people to connect, and users created Profiles.
Businesses were eager to hop on the Google+ bandwagon, though, and adapted Profiles to fit their needs. Google closed the accounts of users who were not people, but a few months later offered Pages, intended for non-person entities, like companies, non-profits, and organizations.
Pages got a bad rap when they first came out because they didn’t offer the features brands and businesses were expecting. Don’t let the naysayers dissuade you, though, because Pages have become much more robust as Google has slowly refined them.
The Simple Difference between a Google+ Profile and Page
In one sense, the difference between Profiles and Pages is quite simple: a Profile is associated with a person, while a Page is associated with a business or brand. Profiles and Pages have slightly different functionalities, so it’s good to know a little bit more about which one is best suited to your business.
Lest I give you the wrong impression, you don’t actually have to choose between a Profile or a Page. You can have both! In fact, some Internet marketing experts recommend using both a Page and a Profile. But if you’re like most people, you’re probably pressed for time and want to focus on just one, at least to start with. Let’s try to figure out the best option for you.
Google+ Pages in More Depth
There are several similarities between Google+ Pages and Profiles—both are free, have cover photos, photos, updates, followers, posts, and the +1 rating system—but here are a few key features of Google+ Pages.
Page Feature 1: Connectivity to Google Maps
When you create a Google+ Page, you will choose one of five categories:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution, or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment, or Sports
Among these categories, “Local Business or Place” is the only category that is eligible to show up on Google Maps. If you run a brick and mortar business or have a physical storefront, then you should absolutely take advantage of this automatic connection between Google apps and set up a Page for your business.
Imagine the following scenario: Jane Doe has searched “coffee shops” in Google Maps on her mobile phone. She’s deciding between your coffee shop and your competitor, a block down the street. She clicks the link on Google Maps to your shop’s Google+ Page and reads your hours and reviews. When she sees photos of your coffee shop and discovers that you brew her favorite artisan beans, she decides to come to your coffee shop.
Simply put, it would be foolish for a brick and mortar business to not have a Google+ Page and take advantage of the Google Maps connection.
Page Feature 2: Multiple Page Managers
Another reason you might want to focus on a Google+ Page is if you want to establish multiple page managers. Google+ Pages allow up to 50 managers, so you can easily spread the social media posting if there’s no specific person who is the figurehead or you have multiple people on your social media marketing team.
Page Feature 3: Built In Analytics
The Google+ Page dashboard features built-in analytics tools, including the top search terms that lead people to your Page, a map showing where users are located, and “Insights,” which track the success of your Google+ posts. If you’re interested in capitalizing on analytics, then a Page might be right for you.
Why You Might Want a Google+ Profile Instead of a Page
With all the aforementioned features, you might be thinking that a Page is the way to go. However, there is one big reason why a Profile might be better for you than a Page: people perceive Profiles as more personal than Pages, which makes it easier to grow your following using a Profile.
Think about it: people are more confident interacting with other people than with a faceless corporation, though they may love the corporation’s product or services. In the online realm, knowing there’s a person behind post goes far in building connections.
Profiles are great options for authors, bloggers, speakers, or anyone whose business is based on a specific person as a brand. If your business would cease to exist if you stepped out of the picture, then you’re probably a good candidate for a brand.
On the other hand, if your business is more about the service or product and less about a specific person behind it, then a Page might be better option. But remember, there’s no right or wrong answer here, and you can always have both a Page and a Profile. One strategy of savvy business marketers is to build up a Profile following, then direct followers over time to your Page.
Now that you know the difference between Google+ Profiles and Pages, have you decided that one is a better fit for your business? Which one?
Should you use a Google+ Profile or Page for your small business? (Click to Tweet)
Page or Profile: Learn which one is best for your small business. (Click to Tweet)
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