Google is particular about how to set up Google+ accounts that are associated with a business or location. Now that Google+ is here (and here to stay, apparently), the mighty search engine has essentially made it mandatory for anyone wanting to mange a business page to first set up a personal Google+ profile. This post explains how to go about doing that, as well as some additional tips to keep in mind before you start this venture (we’re hoping it will clear up some of the confusion).
1. You must sign up for a Google account.
This is your portal to enjoy the various products Google offers, from Gmail to Drive to YouTube (commenting, uploading, subscribing). As mentioned, itas also a prerequisite to creating, claiming, managing, or owning a Google+ Local or Business page.
Most people probably have Gmail (and thus, are eligible or already signed up for Google+), but in case you do not, visit accounts.google.com/SignUp to create a new account. It’s important to use a real name, as opposed to Davis Photography or even Jack Morris, PhD., because Google refuses to allow accounts that do not represent a single human to manage a business page. If you break this rule, by the way, your account can be suspended, so don’t do it. If you as a business owner are hesitant to associate an employee’s name with your brand, there are ways to grant management roles without transferring ownership. Stay tuned.
2. You are limited to how many accounts you can create.
Google requires you to enter a phone number for the verification process of your account. A given phone number can only be tied to a small number of accounts, this is to prevent spam registration.
3. Once you have an account, you will need to create a Google+ profile.
Each account can only have one Google+ profile. Once you are set up in Google+, you are able to “own” up to 20 business pages. In the rare scenario that you have more than 20 businesses to “own,” you will need to create another account.
4. Know the difference between a Google+ Business page and a Google+ Local page.
Think of the Business page as home base for social updates and general brand information; there might be 5 locations of an auto repair shop in one city, but the brand will have a central Business page for the social. Google+ Local pages allow each location to receive reviews specific to that particular shop. Sometimes there are reasons to set up additional Business pages for a brand. For instance, if each location emphasizes different service lines there should be a business page that is specific to the service line. Additionally, large franchises often will have a business page that caters to a geographic area (e.g. Jan’s Pizza Parlor – Greater Houston).
5. You can assign up to 50 Manager roles per brand page.
However, only one Google+ profile can act as the owner. Managers are able to edit the pages to which they are assigned. Ownership can be transferred to another manager.
6. Each business and local page must have 1 unique phone number and address.
Unique phone numbers and addresses are the two tools Google utilizes to establish the owner of a business. Granted, there may be special instances wherein more than one location uses the same phone line or multiple businesses reside in one location. In case one is more complicated, Google provides you with two options. However, keep in mind that these currently are your only two options for confirming business ownership.
7. Verification for Google+ Businesses pages might take some time.
You may have noticed that some big brands have a gray checkmark next to the name. This means the brand’s page has been verified. Google has several requirements a brand must meet before requesting verification. A few include:
- Linking Google+ page to company website
- Linking company website to Google+ page (either by adding a badge or a snippet of code)
- Acquiring a meaningful number of followers
- Authorization by the entity the page represents
Google surely revels in knowing business owners must sign up for Google+ if they want to manage their brand’s Local and Business pages. While it might be a complicated task, the benefits will pay off in the long run, especially if you make an effort to ask for reviews on your brand’s Google+ Local page. In the meantime, we hope you’ll stay tuned for most posts about cooperating with Google+ to merge Business and Local pages.