Google+ Pages have already been set up by 61 of the world's top 100 brands, though many have yet to take full advantage of the new business feature.
In a study released yesterday, social management company BrightEdge found that though 61 of the companies had already set up their Google+ Pages less than a week after the feature debuted, only 12 of those had displayed a link to those pages from their Web sites, which BrightEdge sees as a key way to round up followers.
Among the top 100 brands, Google had 65,000 followers on Google+ when BrightEdge compiled its data earlier this week, the largest number of any brand. But the report found that other top brands, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Verizon, each had only about a dozen followers at the time. Futher, more than two dozen of the top brands had no followers at all when the report was generated.
The list of the top 100 brands used for the study was taken from BrandZ's 100 Most Valuable Brands (PDF).
Comparing Facebook business pages with Google+ pages, BrightEdge discovered that the top 100 brands collectively have 300 million Facebook fans and only 148,000 Google+ followers.
"Brands have been quick to embrace a presence on Google+, but clearly there is a long way to go in establishing social networks that really have scale and deep user engagement," BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu said in a statement. "Now the real work begins for these brands if they want to extend their social presence on the Web from Facebook to the new Google+. And it will be interesting to see how these communication and marketing channels will grow in a way that remains meaningful for the world's top brands."
BrightEdge certainly makes a valid point that it's important for companies to do more than just set up their Google+ pages. They also have to promote them from their own Web sites and other electronic media. They also need to tap into features such as Google Badges, which let them link their Web sites with their Google+ pages to cross-promote them.
But it's way too early to be comparing Facebook with Google+ Pages. Facebook's business feature has been around for several years. Google+ Pages are a little more than a week old.
Already, the number of Google+ followers has risen for some of the brands cited by BrightEdge. Rather than just a dozen followers each, Coca-Cola now has almost 500, McDonalds has 160, and Verizon Wireless more than 150. And although those numbers still sound small, it naturally takes time for a new page to get off the ground and for companies to learn how to attract followers on a new social network.
Updated 11:50 a.m. PT with source for 100 top global brands.