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About a week into November, Internet giant Google added a feature to it's recently developed Google Plus social network'Google Plus Business Pages'that it projects to be one of the most valuable online marketing tools for companies yet. David Amerland described it in his article on Technorati.com as having the intention of allowing 'businesses and brands to create the same close, personal connection with their potential customers as individuals who have been using the social network, since it opened, have done with each other.'

This certainly does sound exciting, but just as many were hesitant to invest the time to create a personal profile for yet another social network, many businesses are asking what the unique benefit is to taking advantage of this new service. After some online research, it seems that the majority of the blogosphere is optimistic that the added options for businesses will add value to marketing efforts. But the question remains'how? Here's what we found: Google Plus Business Pages is often compared to Facebook Pages, but it seems that their names are the most similar element of these two services. While marketing over Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized online marketing, it falls short in the fact that efforts via these vehicles only reach those to whom they are already connected. In other words, only those who 'like' a page for 'follow' an account will receive a company's message disseminated over these networks. Amerland claims that Google Plus Business Pages differs in that it 'can shorten the path [to a company's site] by quite a bit, creating a winning proposition for brands which want to attract more customers, businesses which want to be found locally and marketers who want to help their clients succeed.' With Google Plus Business Pages, business can be sought out by online consumers and engage in conversation with these potential customers. They can then be directed to the company's page where they are provided with more information and the option to add a badge and receive updates. Any +1 activity can be extended to positively affect Google search results. Considering Google is the largest, most popular search engine used today, it's not a bad idea to team up with this winner. Generating excitement for your brand on the Google Plus Business forum is rewarded with improvements in SEO. Not a bad deal. With Google Plus Business Pages, companies can share breaking news, updates, promotions and more with the different people interested in their products or services. Brands can also promote their business with the +1 service all across the Web. And like everything Google does, the results can be measured with analytics provided by the service to help monitor a page's progress and effectiveness. While the true value of Google Plus Business Pages has yet to be seen, under a name like Google, it's likely that this could just be the next big thing. The marketing landscape has undergone drastic changes in the past five years, but this evolution is far from over. Don't be left behind as the rest of the world enters the next stage. Check out Google Plus Business Pages and decide for yourself if it could help your company reach the next level.

-Written by Savannah Harper, LB Wordsmith