A lot has been written about how to set up a Google Plus page, and reports are starting to come in about some of the best brand implementations. But we’re interested in how to administrate and manage a G+ brand page – and how easy it is (if at all) to moderate and manage user content. This is important if you’re a brand about to create a presence on a new network.
The first problem we saw – that of single admin rights – is, we’re told, being addressed by Google in Q1 of 2012. This is probably the biggest barrier to brands managing their pages properly.
Reporting inappropriate content is fairly straightforward. There are different options depending on what you want to do: report a post, a comment, or provide feedback on page copy.
Pages: In the corner of each page is a ‘send feedback’ button, where you can highlight the part of the page you want to report and submit it to Google (you can also black out anything – like personal information – that you don’t want to send, which is a neat feature). It seems this is designed to report technical issues primarily , but it might be used to report abusive content, in which case a way to categorise what you’re reporting would be useful, so that more serious complaints don’t get lost among minor technical issues.
Profiles, posts and comments: You can report profiles, with a categorisation choice of spam, nudity, hate speech or violence, copyright, impersonation or fake profile. There should also be a category for pornography (some initial searching has revealed some fairly blatant pornographers with profiles on Google Plus) and, sadly, one for child abuse. (Note, you don’t get notified of any action that Google takes as a result of reporting content.) You can report posts with the arrow at the top right corner, and you can flag comments.
You can’t pre-moderate comments on a brand page (nor can you on Facebook). Interestingly, a search for ‘moderation’ or ‘moderate’ in Google Plus Help brings up no responses, and there isn’t yet a profanity filter option (which Facebook does have). Google has announced that a handful of social media management platforms (Context Optional, Vitrue and Buddy Media among them) have been given access to the Google Plus API, so management tools are likely to be on their way shortly.
On a brand’s own posts, you have the option to edit, delete, link to or lock the post (an improvement on Facebook which only allows you to delete or hide a post); and to disable comments post by post (this differs from Facebook, where you can only disable comments for the whole page). You can also block or ignore users.
There doesn’t appear yet to be the option to post directly onto a brand’s Page (as you can post onto a Facebook Wall), but you can comment on individual posts. This means that the brand has to initiate the conversion – something that brands might prefer, but that I suspect consumers won’t. Many people have discussed the advantage of Google Plus Circles for customer service – but if a customer can’t initiative a conversation, that suddenly doesn’t seem such a good option.
When Google Plus attracts a larger number of consumers – and reduces the age limit to 13 (it’s currently set to 18), then reporting, moderation and management tools will become more important to block abuse, spam and other unwelcome or illegal behaviour, to ensure that content adheres to the Google Plus content policy. Of course, how well this reported content is managed and how quickly it will be taken down remains to be seen. Let’s hope it does better than Facebook.