Google+ does not yet have the same reach and visibility with prospects and students compared to other social media platforms, but it does bring invaluable SEO benefits to your college or university. Google+ will contribute to better visibility and general brand awareness, and a higher integration with other platforms you may be using (YouTube, Google Maps, etc.).
Here are 4 quick steps to create your school’s Google+ page and start leveraging those benefits: (Infographic from http://www.chrisbrogan.com/gplusinfographic/) 1. Create your page using a Gmail address. Make sure this is not a personal address. Indeed, if you use an employee’s personal address, they will become the owners of the page, which may be problematic if they were to leave switch departments or leave the organization in the future. You can create a general company email address or use one that already exists. You will be given a choice between different types of pages. Choose Company, Institution or Organization. Enter your website address, your tagline (10 words that best describe your school), an email address and phone numbers. All you have to do then is add your school’s logo and banner. This infographic includes all measures for all social media profiles. You now have a Google+ page! You will be able to access it through the upper-left corner of your email as “You+”. Make sure the branding of your Google+ page fits the branding of your other social media profiles and your global message.
2. Determine how this new profile could fit your social media marketing strategy: in other words, give students a reason to meet you there by sharing content that you do not share elsewhere. Here are some examples:
- Some schools choose to highlight the successes of their former students or current teachers, promoting their student groups, introducing new students to current students, or showcasing the research being done.
- Give a sneak peek into upcoming events or contests
- Give students one-on-one time with professors in Google+ Hangouts!
- Share anything that you feel is specific to your school and makes it stands out.
3. Promote your school’s Google+ page
- Start by creating and organizing your circles. Google+ makes it easy to protect users’ privacy through their Circles. Every Google+ account comes equipped with five Circles already set up (Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Following, Colleagues) with the options of creating your own customized circle. As you add people, you can filter them into one fo these circles. Nobody can see what circles you put them in and you can choose what you wish to share within each circle.
- Leverage your other social media accounts: a shout out on Facebook or Twitter telling your students why they should follow you on Google+ could go a long way.
- Connect your Google+ page to your website, and vice versa.
- Share content regularly. In Google+, keywords do matter: the more keyword-rich your pages are, the better. That will help your SEO efforts and will increase your brand visibility on Google.
- Look for your school’s partners in your area. It could be sister schools, potential employers, industry leaders for some of your programs. By using the Google+ search bar, you can find tune your search using criteria such as what to search (Everyone, People+ Pages, Google+ Posts, Sparks, Hangouts, etc.) from whom (Everyone, My Circles, Me) and where (Everywhere, or a Specific Location). Share their content when relevant.
4. Manage your Google+ account efficiently:
- You will get notifications at the top right every time someone shares your content:
– If someone shares your content, take the opportunity to thank them and start a conversation.
– If someone shared a post with you, it was probably for a reason. Look at the post and respond if it makes sense.
– If someone mentions you in the comments, read the post and jump into the comments thread as well.
– If someone adds you to a circle, take the time to go through your new additions and add people into your circles if you feel they would make good connections.
- See what others are saying about your school and respond:
– Search for your brand/name/keywords related to your school. Filter to only show Google+ posts so you can see what people are talking about.
Please share below how your school use its Google+ page!