The differences between a Google+ business page and personal profile

Google+

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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I am a Technology Consultant, whose passion is to help small businesses reach their full potential through mastery of digital technologies, strategies and marketing.