In order to optimize their visibility with Google, businesses need to have a presence on Google Plus. Guy Kawasaki calls it a “land grab,” and he makes an important point. An unrepresentative minority of people are informing search on Google Plus and they need to be engaged on the platform. As more businesses realize this and want a presence on Google Plus, they may find the interface or the particulars intimidating. Enter Hootsuite.
HootSuite is one of six companies that were given read/write access to the Google Plus API last year. Despite having a few (enterprise level) alternatives, most users use Google Plus on the actual site. This is in stark contrast to Twitter which has allowed its API to be used so widely that it’s now trying to rein it in. Of the six companies with read / write access ( Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Vitrue), only one of them operates on a freemium model: HootSuite. And that is a big deal.
This past week HootSuite enabled Google Plus Page management through their product – for free. This also includes automatic posts of RSS feeds as scooped by Kim Castleberry. What’s significant about this is that HootSuite is a tool that many businesses are already familiar with (and it is very similar to other such as TweetDeck and GrabInbox). So, instead of having to learn how to use Google Plus – pages can interface with their brand page directly from Hootsuite (it’s worth noting that individual pages cannot be managed through Hootsuite). It should result in a spike of traffic and premium membership for Hootsuite, and one would hope better brand visibility on Google Plus. Hootsuite is the only place to go if you’re not buying from the company store (or spending a ton of money with one of the other enterprise-level solutions).
So far as the Google Plus experience, this is going to make interaction for businesses great but does virtually nothing to entice users to the platform. If Google is serious about increasing user traffic to the site they may have to consider releasing the read / write API for users to these third-parties. Hopefully the Hootsuite integration will prove profitable enough for both HootSuite and Google to warrant a move like that.