Google has launched Google Pages on Google+, allowing businesses to join the social network and reach a whole new audience. Google+ saw phenomenal growth during its field testing stage, and opened to the public during September. Now, businesses have the opportunity to get involved in the social network too and it would be foolish to miss the chance to extend the marketing reach of any company.

You will need to create a Google page and link from your own website to the Google site because Google looks for the reciprocal link between the two pages in an algorithm to help Google+ Pages to show up in the new Google Direct Connect.

Direct Connect helps people to search on your brand or name and go straight to your Google+ site, simply by searching on +brandname. At present, there are few sites available to see how this works but try +Google or + Pepsi as an example in the search engine. There is also an option to add a site to your circles easily from Google+ Direct Connect which will open up new opportunities for businesses.

google+ badgeYou also need to add the Google+ badge to your site along with a snippet of code – described here.

Google+ Pages are very new and there are still some aspects under development or still to be introduced, but it would be advisable to get your page created and in front of your target audience sooner rather than later.

However, there is more to social networks than simply marketing, although many businesses have failed to realise the full potential of networks such as Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. As a customer service tool, building a strong and loyal community can help to reduce costs of supporting your customers by harnessing the efforts of your community to answer questions, offer help and so on. There is also the chance to ensure that your own staff and employees share information internally and externally using social network tools.

It is not very long since social networks were banned in many companies, but the reality is that all companies have a real world social network that allows dissemination of information, best practice, ideas and processes, and missing the opportunity to use online tools to enable better communication can only harm a business, especially if the competition has mastered the art.

As an example, the Muppets may have held a Google Hangout to promote the new film, but the truth is that Hangouts and other similar tools are as useful for internal communications as they are for marketing.

Give it a go!

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology