Google + have added some new features this week that allow a company, band or musician to create a page. While the social network still has some improvements to make, this is definitely a big step in the right direction. So how can Google + work for artists?
Find our page on Google + here
Targeting specific audiences:
One of the main features on the network is the ability to put your contacts into ‘circles’. This can work for bands that want to target different audiences with different information and updates. Say you have fans in the UK, France and Japan. Put the fans from the three different countries into three different circles, and you can then specifically target each group with news that relates to them. You can change the language on your updates, so if you want to tell your fans in France that you have a gig coming up, you can just send a message to that circle, which removes the annoyance of spamming fans that wont understand your French announcement. With the new Google Analytics integration, Google + will be able to put your fans in circles for you, meaning it does all the hard work – that just leaves you to utilise this info for your benefit.
The Direct Connect feature at the moment only works for huge brands like Google, Pepsi etc. but they plan to extend this to include a huge host of other brands and companies soon. Google are now including Google + pages in search results. All you have to do is search ‘+name’ (for example + Zimbalam) and the Google search engine will take you straight to the page. Google will then even add who or what you’ve searched for to a circle for you. So how can it work for bands? Well, people that hear your music can type you into Google search, and then be taken to your site, and add you to one of their circles, so they receive all of your update, and you can target them with news too. Fans can also recommend you to their contacts by using a +1.
G+ v Facebook:
There’s been a lot of talk online since Google +’s new features and improvements about whether it will eventually overtake Facebook, and take its place at the top of the social media tree. While Facebook has the numbers and the established features, Google + has the potential to be the one-stop shop of fan pages. Google owns YouTube, has Google Docs, is a search engine (which they are already utilising with the Direct Connect feature), has Google news, places, Gmail – the list goes on. If they can combine all of these features then they would certainly overtake Facebook in terms of being useful to bands and brands.
Google + badge/icon:
This is like the Facebook or Twitter icon that websites have that, when you click on it, takes you to the facebook/twitter page of said website. Use in the same way that you would a Facebook button, to link people through to you G+ band page and start forming those circles. The Google+ badge, which is a similar feature to the Facebook ‘like’ button, is apparently in development too.
Google has been using The All American Rejects page as an example, check it out here
The people over at Google are definitely going the right way with all these improvements, but there are a few things that they haven’t sorted quiet yet, but that they are (hopefully) working to do so.
Only one admin per page – at the moment, there isn’t a way to have more than one admin on a professional band or brand page. The band or brand page needs to be attached to an individuals Google + page, and at the moment you can’t add people to that.
No exclusivity – This may be harder to solve. Anyone can make a page with any name. So there could be ten or more pages with the same name and no way of telling which one was the correct one you were looking for unless you go through all of them. Not so great for bands with the same name, but hopefully they will find a solution to this….
No custom URLs – One solution would be to have custom URL’s, much like MySpace does. But at the moment this isn’t possible, you just get a code that Google + gives you when you created the page.
A few other issues include not being able to rename a photo album; brand pages becoming detached from individual pages (which we fixed by logging in and out a few times) and the disappearance of the helpful guidance tips when you first sign up. Also, when searching for a brand page using ‘+’ on the search engine, its not as easy as it looks (when we searched for +Zimbalam it didn’t come up) BUT these are all issues that they are working on, or will do so in the near future.
In conclusion, Google + still has some way to go, but if they keep doing what their doing, they are very much pointed in the right direction.
This post was written by Zimbalam blogger Jess Boyer @jessroseboyer