Google+ Launches Pages: What You Need to Know

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO

TAMPA, Fla.—Now that Google+ Pages have finally arrived, they have been rapidly adopted by companies, including many eyecare providers. They highly anticipated Pages provide business similar functionality to Facebook Pages such as publishing frequent updates, engaging with patients and other businesses. Up to this point only people were allowed to have presence on Google+. Now eye and vision care practices can be on Google+, and I’ll tell you why they should.

Google+ was launched in July of this year as a direct competitor to Facebook. Greeted with much skepticism due to Google’s failure with previous social endeavors and Facebook’s massive size, the new network has been a shocking success. It has been the fastest growing social network in history, with over 40 million users. It’s sleek, simple appearance, circling method to organize connections and integration with other Google products have been cited as reasons for its growth. Read my coverage of the Google+ basic here.

At first glance, Google+ Pages look almost exactly like Google+ user profiles. This was intentional to provide consistent user experience. The layout includes a profile picture, space for additional pictures at the top, and followers and share tools on the left. Updates of text, links, pictures, and video are posted on the center of page and are sharable to everyone, or just selected followers.

ECPs may question the benefit of creating a Google+ Page if they already have a Facebook Page. After all, Facebook has more social history and more users by far than Google does. However, Google has more users of its other services such as Gmail, Google Apps, and YouTube, all of which are integrated with Google+. Even more importantly, Google is the Internet search leader and a presence will increase the ease of which your patients can find you on the web. And because Google+ is new, it is yet another way to differentiate your practice as high-tech.

Fortunately, it is extremely easy to create a Google+ Page. All you need is a free Google+ personal account and basic information and images for your profile. I set up a Page for my practice, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, in literally less than 5 minutes. For branding consistency, I used our logo as the profile picture. To maintain emotional connection with patients and used some high-quality pictures of myself, my wonderful staff, an nice exterior shot of the office. I also included a picture of some Tiffany and Co. sunglasses to show that we carry quality products.

Although there is an option to share your new page with others immediately, it is recommended to provide some content first: a welcome to new followers, a post linking to your website, some engaging photos or videos. I included our welcome video and some recent TV press coverage that we’ve gotten. Because Google+ is integrated with YouTube, this very, very easy to do.

Ready to promote your business on Google+? You can click here to get started building your Page.

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, Tampa, Fla., is an optometrist specializing in the vision of infants and children. A social media evangelist, he helped create "Peripheral Vision" which educates eyecare professionals about social media. Dr. Warford was a featured speaker at this year's CLICK Conference where he addressed the expanding influence of digital media. He is the chair of the social media committee of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and is chair of the Florida Optometric Association's Children's Vision Committee. He founded Foursquare Day in March 2010.