Google Plus Pages Can Now Act Like Real People

Beginning yesterday (27 December 2012), it appears that Google+ has been rolling out to brand Pages the ability to comment on, +1, and re-share posts from personal profiles of people who have not circled them.

This is news because until now brand Pages had no ability to interact with the posts of people who had not first circled them. Pages are still prevented from adding someone to their circles until that person has first circled the Page, but at least they can now interact with a “stranger’s” posts.

An early testing of this was first spotted by popular Google+ user Denis Labelle. Denis alerted Talking Moose Media owner Nikol Murphy, who along with Ronnie Bincer began testing, looking to see if the small test spotted by Denis would be rolled out more widely. As of last evening they were ready to announce that it was indeed being rolled out, and appeared to be a new feature, not a bug.

To confirm, our Virante Search Marketing page on Google+ is now able to comment on and +1 the comments on posts of people who do not (yet) have us in their circles. We’ve found that for now at least, we can only +1 or reshare the post if we first open it in its own tab (by clicking the time stamp on the post). For example, see our comment on this post by Monica Wright, Community Editor at Marketing Land.

monica-wright-google-plus-post

Commenting by our brand page on the post of Monica Wright, who does not have us circled

Comments from other brand page owners testing this overnight indicate that it appears to be rolling out to US pages first (as is typical for a Google+ update rollout), and that various aspects of it seem to come and go for now for different Pages.

Lifting of this restriction on Pages may have been foreshadowed in the introduction of the Communities feature to Google+ earlier this month, as brand Pages were surprised to find that not only could they create their own Communities, they could also join and interact with others’ Communities even if they had no prior relationship with their owners.

What Does This Mean for Online Marketers?

As might be expected, first reactions, from both personal users and brand Page owners, to this news were mixed. Most Page owners seem to see it as a plus for their ability to expand the reach and potential fan base for their Pages, something most agree was severely hampered by the prior restrictions.

But some users were worried that this change will mean an influx of new spam on their posts.

For example, from popular Hangout On Air host Yifat Coen:

yifate-coen-comment

Or this, from regular Google+ user Jay Day:

jay-day-comment

Obviously there is the potential for both: great benefit to brands who can now reach out to more Google+ users, and also great potential for spam and annoyance for Google+ users used to being protected from unwanted interaction with commercial interests.

What do you think about this move by Google+?

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Google Plus Pages Can Now Act Like Real People by

Mark is Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. Mark helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals. He has a special reputation as an expert on Google+ and Google Authorship. A former teacher, Mark has worked directly in Internet marketing since 2005, but has been involved in social media and online community formation since the mid 1990s. When not helping Virante clients improve their online presence, Mark participates in competitive storytelling, plays with a Dixieland street band, and (surprise) spends more time on the web.

Comments

  1. Interesting move by Google here. Its good for brands though, now they can interact as the brand rather than representatives. And that I think is a good thing. Just like on facebook :)

  2. I haven’t had SPAM like this with posts on my Facebook Page, and that is great! And I have had an occasion to write to a Person as a Page and Facebook simply doesn’t allow that. Page to Page or with Fans of Page who write Posts. I have to write to the fan as my Personal Profile if I want initiate a conversation.

    So, I am guessing this might be where G+ wants to differentiate and close the gap with Facebook? Would you agree?

    Glenn

    • Glenn, yes I would! I think between this and Google+ starting the Communities feature available to Pages from day one shows that they are realizing that they’ve got to step up things for brands or fall too far behind in that part of the social market.

  3. I’m a small fish in a large ocean of online marketers who has been testing Google+ for marketing. This expansion of the field will bring both good and bad. Based on recent activity by Google in their flight to quality. I don’t think we will experience or see much in the way of spam without Google clamping down on it quickly.

  4. I think this is a good move for Google. It will encourage more companies to invest their time on Google +.

  5. This is a good move by Google+ and good for brands using Google+. Facebook has done something sort of similar where I can now post comments as a business page using the Facebook comment pluggin which is a relatively new phenomena. Both will be a good way for brands to build exposure while adding to the conversation on Google+ and Facebook. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hey Mark, glad to see this post on Google plus. Our CEO Alex Mandossian was just on a show with Yifat the Goolge+ Gal and it was great to see her mentioned in a graphic on this post (small world) Look forward to additonal insights from you cheers- happy 2013

  7. Hi, great article and I watched one of your recent Hangout videos… I don’t seem to be able to comment as my G+ page though. I actually found your comment on Monica Wright’s post (in your example) and as a Page I cannot post, but as a Profile I can. Am I missing something?

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  3. [...] This screenshot below is taken from Mark Traphagen‘s post: Google+ Pages Can Now Act as Real People. [...]

  4. [...] now not only can Pages interact on Google+ like “real people,” they can do so with Communities. And it’s in the latter that I see the best [...]

  5. [...] What Does This Mean for Online Marketers?As might be expected, first reactions, from both personal users and brand Page owners, to this news were mixed. Most Page owners seem to see it as a plus for their ability to expand the reach and potential fan base for their Pages, something most agree was severely hampered by the prior restrictions. But some users were worried that this change will mean an influx of new spam on their posts.  [...]

  6. […] Google Plus Pages Can Now Act Like Real People – Mark Traphagan […]

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