Google+ Pages Contest and Promotion Policies

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It is now the yesterday’s news that Google+ has launched and equivalent product for Facebook brand pages. Companies around the world are flocking around Google+ to create their brand profiles. Already I’ve seen Mobitel and Dialog has already created their Google+ profiles and in time to come we will see more local and international brands joining the race to convince us to add them to our circles. 

But how are they supposed to convince us? It’s not much difficult to guess, an intuitive strategy would be to run a promotion on Google+ to drive more followers to a brand page. We’ve seen this happening on Facebook, and I’ve blogged several times about how badly some brands violate the guidelines set by Facebook for promotions. Could this be happening on Google+ pages as well? 

Before you think of running a promotion for your page on Google+ to attract more followers, be informed that just as that there are policies for running a promotion on Facebook; Google+ has also laid down some ground rules for running contests and promotions on their platform. You can find their official Google_ Pages contest and promotions policies on this page

In their policy statement, they start by saying “You may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on your Google+ Page”. The keyword here is “directly”. If we are not allowed to run promotions ‘directly’ on Google+, it implies running a promotion “indirectly” won’t break any rules. Google actually clarifies this later on in their policy by saying “You may display a link on your Google+ Page to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted so long as you (and not Google) are solely responsible for your Promotion and for compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where your Promotion is offered or promoted”. 

So, ideally what you can do is hosting a contest, sweepstake, offer, coupon or other such promotion elsewhere on the internet (on your Facebook page? May be?) and posting a link on your Google+ page. But the big question is how do you make this ‘exclusive’ for the people who add your brand to a circle? Since the ultimate aim should be to increase your followership, you cannot leave the promotion open for public to view. 

One possible solution maybe to create a circle on your own, for the people who already added you back to a circle (Followers). Then, when you post the link to your promotion you can restrict the update to the members of this circle only. However , you cannot announce and exclusive deal for your Google+ followers and reveal what the deal is only after they add your brand to a circle (The equivalent functionality of “Like-gating” on Facebook). This will remain as a huge drawback on Google+ brand pages for a long time, if they do not introduce a mechanism for “reveal content” (You see one message before you add a brand to a circle, and the message get changed as soon as you add it to a circle). 

All in all, I see Google+ pages promotion policies are done in a hurry (just two paragraphs!) and they must be working hard in the back-end to enhance the features of Google+ pages.

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