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Google Ushers in New Year with Plus Changes

The social media platforms are gearing up for a brand new year, in their own special way: by expanding functionality in all the right places, and fixing things that users have been griping about since, in the case of Google + Business Pages, their inception. As we reported this morning on our Facebook page, Google has come out with some exciting new Google + updates – including multi-admin access – just in time for the new year. Cyber space is also abuzz with rumors that Facebook is testing a change that is equally as exciting for avid brand engagers – private messaging between brands and their likers (like DMs on Twitter!). And, though Facebook users are likely experience “change fatigue,” with the recent widespread roll out of Timeline, we think this change will be very welcome among the user community.



Google + Changes

Over the next few days, you should be noticing some pretty hefty (but great) changes on Google +. One of the most interesting changes – well, I find it interesting at least – is the fact that you can customize, or, in a sense, rate whose posts appear at the top of your “Stream” (the Google + version of the Facebook News Feed). When you are looking at the stream for each particular circle, a slider at the top lets you alter how those posts in that circle show up in your main stream. This allows you to customize whose thoughts and posts you are reading first, before the other stuff that shows up on your main stream. This is a really helpful feature, and really isn’t something other social networks have mastered quite yet. Bravo, Google!

Google has also made some changes to photo sharing on Google +. But the most in-depth changes have occurred in your notifications: with the revamped Google toolbar, you’ll be much more aware of new things happening on Google + that concern you. Once you click on the red number containing your notifications, you’ll notice that there are “sneak previews” that show you exactly what’s new and how it pertains to you. You can also see how your posts have been received by peers, as the new notifications will show you the +1s and shares that your posts have received.

Now to get to the good stuff…

Google + Pages

Even though these just became available early last month, already there are significant improvements available to Google + Pages administrators.

The first, and arguably most important change that Google made, was to add multi-admin access to pages. You can now have up to 50 people act as admins for your pages. These people are “managers,” and Google says that “A new notification flow will ensure that these managers stay in the loop on all the activity that takes place on a page, giving managers the ability to stay involved in page conversations.” This is huge, as this is one of the main qualms people had with the Google + Pages as they were. Clearly, Google is listening.

Google will also now give companies a better idea of how they are doing when it comes to engagement: “We’ll now show an aggregated count of users that have engaged with your page, either by +1’ing it or by adding it to a circle. This way, both you and your page’s visitors can get an at-a-glance summary of who is interacting with your page.” This is good, but there’s still a long way to go when it comes to page analytics – companies want to be able to see value from the pages, which will likely call for more in-depth analytics (as is reflected in Facebook’s relatively recent “Insights” overhaul). “At-a-glance” won’t cut it for long!

Overall, though, these changes definitely put Google + on the path to greater success. Though many businesses have created pages on the social network, not as many have been inclined to actively engage users there. Hopefully, these changes will bring them one step closer to easy and effective usage of the promising Google + Brand pages.


Facebook is Testing Private Messaging Between Brands and Users

Rumor has it that Facebook is currently testing private messaging between business pages and their fans (but only in Asia!). Apparently, you don’t have to be a fan of the brand to privately message with its page. As a user, you can message any Facebook page that you want to; the pages, however, can only directly message a user who has interacted with them on their walls or initiated the direct message conversation.

Beyond being a cool new way to interact with brand advocates, this new messaging capability could impact customer service engagement. As it stands now, Twitter is really the top social platform for customer service issues and interactions among brands and users; however, with this new Facebook functionality (which is hopefully coming to America, and soon!), Facebook could become a one-stop shop for promotions, customer service, engagement and more.


More Information

Looking to learn more about Google +, Facebook, or Twitter? Want to read more about SEO? Revisit our blog for regular updates about current events in the interactive marketing world as well as free tips for optimal optimization of online brand presence. Have questions that are more specific to your particular business? Give us a call at 770-481-1766.

Related Information:

ESI’s Jason Hennessey Discusses The Link Between Google + and Businesses

12 Things We Lived, Learned and Learned to Live With in SEO This Year

Google +1 Button Changes, Twitter Redesign Up the Ante on the Web

Google Plus Thanksgiving Day Commercial: What Does it Signal?

Digital Atlanta: Discussing the Usefulness of Google +

Google + Brand Pages Are Here!

Google + Brand Pages Coming Soon

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