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If you are not familiar with Google+ consider reading my previous article –
8 Reasons that Make Google+ Better than Facebook and Twitter – for an introduction.
This article is about the differences between Google+ pages and Google+ profiles. This way you can use each of them to represent and market your freelance business properly.
Broadly speaking a page usually represents an organization, while a profile can represent only a person. For example Darren Rowse is using his name, not his blog's name as the title of his Google+ id and therefore he is using a Google+ profile. On the other hand, FreelanceSwitch is using its blog's name as the title of its Google+ id and therefore it is using a Google+ page.
You can follow the FreelanceSwitch Google+ Page for updates on new content we release, as well as to freelance related news from across the web.
In the image above, the small square icon represents the logo of a page. Profiles don't have this symbol. This is a quick way to recognize whether the id that you are viewing is a page or a profile. To quote Google+ Help Center:
Pages are extremely similar to profiles, but they have some key differences.” - Google Support
We will look at those differences in detail here. Although the Google+ Help Center lists ten differences in the above link, we'll focus on those that have the greatest impact on freelancers.
Pages Can Have Multiple Administrators
A profile can be owned and operated upon by only the profile owner. A page, too, is owned by a single person, but it can be operated upon by up to 50 managers. Therefore a total of 51 people can operate a page.
Managers enjoy almost the same powers as the owner with only two exceptions: a manager cannot delete a page and cannot replace the owner of the page, i.e. a manager cannot transfer the ownership of a page from one person to another.
See the screenshot below for a detailed comparison of the power capabilities of page owners and managers.
Pages Have the +1 Button
Suppose I read and liked a book and I want to show some gratitude to the author by endorsing his page. But I do not wish to receive any updates from the author. Liking the author's page on Facebook will spam my stream with his status updates. This problem is eliminated in Google+ by the use of the +1 button. Only pages have the +1 button. Profiles do not.
When you +1 a Google+ page, its posts do NOT appear in your stream. Its posts will appear only when you add that page to your circles.
When somebody circles your page, the page gets an automatic +1 by him. But when somebody +1's your page, he does not automatically circles it.
Pages Can't +1 Other Pages, Nor Can They +1 Stuff on the Web
Google+ pages can only be +1'd by other profiles. They cannot be +1'd by other pages.
While searching something on Google, you might have noticed a small Google +1 icon in search results. This icon only appears when you are signed into a Google product.
Now, you can click on the +1 icon only via your profile. Even if you are using Google+ as a page, your +1 clicks will be registered as being done from your profile and not from the page.
In case you are not aware, clicking on a +1 button means you are publicly recommending it for those who have you in their circles. When they search Google for a keyword then web pages +1'd by you will appear higher in their search results, provided they are signed into a Google product.
Pages Don't Have the Option to Share to 'Extended Circles'
Let's say you have circled A, and A has in turn circled B. Then B is said to be in your 'extended circle'.
If A chooses to have B visible on his profile among the people of his circles AND you choose to share with your extended circles (see the image above), your content may appear in B's stream. This is a nice way to spread your content to as many people as possible.
But this option is available only for profiles and not for pages.
Pages Can't Hangout on a Mobile Device
In case you don't know, hangout is a Google+ feature that enables you to do a video chat with multiple people for free.
If you have a Google+ page, you will need a web cam for hanging out. Instead, if you have a profile, you can easily hang out on mobile devices also.
Local Pages Have Special Fields that Help People Find the Business's Physical Location
You can integrate Google Maps with your Google+ page, if you so wish. This helps people to find your business easily because a map is displayed with the proper location of your business.
If someone clicks on the map, then he is taken to the Google Maps website where he can view the map with more flexibility.
But this feature is not available on profiles. In fact, not even all Google+ pages have this feature. Only the 'local pages' – a special category of pages - enjoy this benefit.
So, in the end, a question arises. Which is better – a Google+ profile or a Google+ page? The answer will depend upon your requirements. I have showed you all the important differences between the two forms. Now you can pick and choose how to use each to best suit your freelance business marketing strategy.
Let me know in the comments below which of the two you think is better and how you plan to use them to promote your freelance business? I'm curious.