After a private beta test period, Google is releasing on Wednesday a suite of business tools for Google+ users.
The tools are available for free through the end of 2013, but users will then need a paid subscription to Google’s cloud-based software for businesses, Google Apps, for continued access.
Here’s a rundown of the new features:
In a blog post, Google said these new features were just the beginning. In the coming months, the company is planning to introduce a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise, as well as additional administrative controls.
Once you’ve set up your brand page, you access it through your personal Google+ profile.
On your home page below your name and avatar pic is a drop down menu.
Open this menu to see your page, click on it to access it.
You can’t add a person to a brand page’s circles unless he has first added your brand page to his circles.
To see who has added your brand, go to the “Circles” tab and click on “People who’ve added you.”
You can now add these folk into relevant circles.
Google gives you your brand page’s URL on set-up, but if you need to find it again, click on “Get started” under your name and avatar on your brand’s home page.
This takes you to a useful admin info page which includes a “Tell the world” section, under which you’ll find your URL.
There aren’t many customization options for Google+ pages, but one thing you can do is remove extraneous tabs.
f videos and photos aren’t relevant to your brand’s page you can choose not to display them.
Go to your profile page, click “Edit Profile” in the top right corner and then click on either “Photos” or “Videos.”
Here you can decide to hide one or both of these from view.
Google offers easy-to-use code and various G+ buttons so that you can link your site to Google+.
In addition to pointing people to your shiny new social space, this also means your linked site is eligible for Google Direct Connect.
To find the code and buttons, go to the “Get Started” option under your brand’s name and avatar on your home page.
Google+ offers the ability to lock posts within a certain circle.
Before you share your post, click the drop down arrow underneath the four icons on the right.
Here you can “lock” the post so it can’t be shared further.
Don’t forget it’s still possible for someone to copy and paste or screengrab the content though — so it’s more a way to send a “don’t share this” message, rather than an infallible privacy solution.
While you’re building your brand’s presence on Google+, you might want to hide your low follower count.
On your home page, click the “Change who is visible here” option.
You can now choose to hide how many people have added you to circles.
You can add links to your “About” page on Google+.
The good thing about this feature is that you have complete freedom.
Whether you’re pointing people to other social profiles or flagging great sites, you can do it in your own words.
To add links, click on “Edit Profile” when you’re on the “About” page and then click “Recommended Links” to open the edit options.
Google+ has given you circles. Don’t be square — use them.
Whether you’re grouping people by location, interests or other relevant categories, you can broadcast your brand’s message in a tailored fashion to relevant circles.
This will mean people are seeing content from you that is relevant to them, and will be more likely to engage with your brand.
To set up new circles, go to the “Circles” page and create from there.
The ability to display photos at the top of your profile page is great, and offers a quick, visual cue for your brand.
The photos that show up in this space are your first five Google+ “Scrapbook photos”.
Have fun with this. Get creative and you’ll make people smile as they land on your brand’s page. They may even be tempted to add you to one of their circles!