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Google Plus launches business accounts

After launching in late June, Google Plus experienced the fastest start of a social network on the planet. But it refused to allow businesses to create branded pages — many media companies started accounts only to have them removed — which is arguably a key reason why Google+ usage has slowed in recent weeks.

But today, Google launched its much-anticipated business accounts, working with a small handful of brands as “early examples” (including +Breaking News, which is my real job). The business pages are nearly identical to personal accounts, but with one difference: users can +1 your account, which will likely accrue to your business website. In other words, running a successful G+ business account will help your SEO.

After a couple hours, Google opened it up to everyone. You can create a page here. And here’s a quickly-growing list of news organizations on Google+.

In the battle of social networks, this is important enough to justify the investment in Google+ — at least as an early experiment. I’ve been moderately successful growing my personal account, +Cory Bergman, which has now exceeded 90K “followers.” But I’ve watched how engagement-per-user has dropped significantly in the last couple months. Business accounts will be a big test for the future success of the platform.

Update: Now that I’ve had a change to play around with the new business pages, here’s a tip for those of you planning to launch one. The page is set up similar to Facebook in that there’s a page administrator (who has a personal account) as well as the page account itself. So you can post as the individual or post as the page. For now, there’s only one administrator allowed (Google says they’ll allow more in the future), so everyone on your team who plans on contributing to the business page must have access to that administrator account. It appears, however, you can launch multiple pages per administrator.

Your thoughts? Please share any G+ insight in comments…

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