The differences between a Google+ business page and personal profile


Following my articles on Google+, someone asked,

With Google+, are you better to run a business page or connect via a personal page? And what is the difference? I am quite new to networking on the net so thanks for starting this

Before I answer these questions, let’s make one thing clear. According to Google’s rules, you can only set up ONE personal profile page under your real personal name. That means you cannot set up a profile page under a business or brand name. Fictional personality names (e.g. Superman, Batman, Sherlock Holmes) are not allowed too. Also, you cannot have multiple Google+ profile pages. Actually, this rule applies to Facebook too. But for whatever reason, Facebook is unable or unwilling to enforce them.

Now, I’ll answer the second question first because that will naturally answer the first question…

These differences between a profile and business page can be reduced to issues of privacy and normal social boundaries between a non-personal entity and a person. For example, it’s perfectly okay for you to like a restaurant, but weird if that restaurant likes you.

Unless you are raving personality like Britney Spears (or insert your own celebrity), it is better to set up a Google+ Business Page. For most businesses, the brand/business name is not a person’s name. Therefore, it makes sense to set up a business page. In any case, it is against the rules to set up a profile page that is not your real name.

Even if, by rare chance, that your business/brand name is your personal name, it still makes sense to set up a business page. The reason is because people come and go, but a business remains—even if it is your own business. One day, you will retire, die (touch wood), pass on the business to others or just want to quit your business. If your personal page is your business page, you will not be allowed to have an exit strategy as far as your business’s Google+ presence is concerned. Can you imagine Dick Smith using his profile page for his business’s Google+ page? Today, Dick Smith is no longer part of the Dick Smith brand. The Dick Smith brand and Dick Smith are separate entities and therefore, they should have separate Google+ identities.

If you happen to be a public figure, it makes sense to have a business page that is separate to your profile page because you do not want to mix your public and private together.

Technically, here are some of the differences between profiles and business pages:

  1. A page can’t add a person to its circles unless it is first added or mentioned by that person. This follows the normal social convention that a non-person entity can’t like you first.
  2. By default, everything the business page posts is public. For a profile page, the default is private.
  3. People can +1 (recommend) a page but cannot +1 a profile.
  4. Profiles can mention other profiles and pages in comments. Pages can only do so to people who are following or mentioned them.

One last point to note: multiple people (profiles) can manage a page. This is very handy feature for businesses. Employees come and go and different people can be assigned to manage the page.

Finally, I’ll answer the first question: is it better to use your Google+ business page to influence subjective search? From the differences, you can see that a page cannot initiate connection with another person unless that person initiates the connection first. Therefore, if you want to be proactive in reaching out to other people, you have to use your personal profile to do so.

Google+ business

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  • Terence, I just created a business page using my own name, as that is better known than my company name. The challenge is to get people to migrate from my personal profile (which has the same account name). I’d prefer to use the biz page exclusively and have Chrome recognize the page as the default. Any words of advice? 🙂

    • Hi Elaine! I have a few ideas:

      – In your business page, include your company/brand name into the name. Brainstorm a few combinations that sounds or look good. For eg, “Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad”. This way, people will not confuse between your business page and personal page. That way, you can also start to introduce your company/brand name to your audience.

      – Change the picture on your personal page to something that’s more ‘casual’. This will further reinforce the idea that this is a personal page.

      – Change the picture on your business page to something that’s more formal and maybe include the logo of your company/brand.

      – Announce in your personal page that you are moving away from it and redirect your followers to your business page.

      – For stragglers still visiting your personal page, post from your business page and than ‘share’ it in your personal page. This will be another hint that you are moving away from your personal page.

      • These are great ideas, Terence! Thank you so much!! I appreciate your taking the time to reply with concrete suggestions.

  • Ink5

    Terence, I just created a Google+ personal page in my real name and then created a Google+ business page for my business.  Will my personal page remain separate from my business page?  For example, when people view my business page and follow, add comments would they be able to also see/go to my personal page on only my business page?  I appreciate any input you may have.

    • Yes. As long as the URL for both of them are seperate and distinct.

  • DebbieMiami

    Hi Terence – When the public clicks on a Business’ profile, can they see any info from the personal profile it is associated with?

    • No, the public wouldn’t see the associated personal profile.

  • brockbot

    Hi Terence,
    I inadvertently set up a G+ page for my business that should have been a Profile, but I set it up as a Page. My Profile has started gaining followers already – is there any way to convert to the correct Page type without losing my followers?

    • Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to transfer your followers from your personal profile to a business page (or vice versa).

  • Andonisr

    Hi there,
    I wonder why Google has made this soooooooooooooooooooooo….complex!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ve been struggling to figure out the correct set up between my personal profile page in google, and my branded pages!
    This is what I’ve done so far please: I have my personal page, on which I have created 2 collections for my 2 businesses, (probably wrong)! I then somehow created a ‘Branded Account’ which I have set up my Business 1. In that account I have 1 collection where I share my blog posts from my website.
    However, when I hit the google+ share button in my blog post, this goes to the Collection of Business 1 in my Personal page – not my branded account Business 1 page..!? I do not have the option of sharing it in my branded account!
    Follow me..? Probably as lost as I am…please help me figure out this labyrinth..!