A week after unveiling Google+ pages for brands and businesses , Google has invited a handful of social media management companies to test integration of Google+ in their tools.
The six companies—HooteSuite, Buddy Media , Involver, Hearsay Social, Context Optional, and Vitrue—will be able to offer Google+ circle management, publishing, and monitoring to a subset of their brand clients who already manage their social media presences with their products.
“We are committed to working on enhancements and innovative features to offer businesses more flexibility and power to run their pages,” Google product manager Sarah McKinley wrote in a blog post . “We are currently working with these companies so that we can experiment and get feedback. They were selected based on their extensive experience helping brands and businesses manage and analyze their presence on social networks.”
Roland Smart, senior director of product marketing at Involver, told Adweek that each social network is different, and it's clear to him that Google is bringing its "pedigree" in advertising to its development of Google+.
While Facebook started as a purely social environment and then became an advertiser-friendly space, he said, Google has the advantage of bringing its strong advertising background and full suite of products to bear from the very beginning.
"One thing that will resonate with marketers . . . is [they] will have the opportunity to do retargeting in much finer grain segmentation than on other social platforms," he added.
Since launching Google+ pages for brands, Google has not disclosed the number of brands and businesses that have joined the site. While some industry observers  have suggested that lack of user engagement on the social network might have an impact on businesses' willingness to embrace it, others say that its ability to attract more than 40 million users since launch is a promising sign.
“Now that Google+ Pages is opened up for brands, we see a great opportunity to help brands create sustainable communities and power connections,” Michael Lazerow, CEO and founder of Buddy Media, said in a statement. “Our integration of Google+ into the Buddy Media social marketing suite will enable brands and agencies to roll out Google+ page programs at scale within their organizations."