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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

Colleges Join In For Google+ Pages Launch

08 Nov 2011

written by Mike Petroff

Colleges Join In For Google+ Pages Launch

Yesterday, Google announced that they are rolling out Google+ Pages. According to Google, “this means we can now hang out live with the local bike shop, or discuss our wardrobe with a favorite clothing line, or follow a band on tour. Google+ pages give life to everything we find in the real world.”

At launch, only a few Google+ Pages were available but more will be coming soon. You can check out the the Google+ Page create page if you plan to create one for your school. Access is somewhat limited but the Page creation option should be open to all users soon. Quick tip: Only ONE admin per page is currently allowed, so it may be better to create a Google+ Page using a department Google account (and not a personal account). Multiple admins should be coming soon.

After one night of some searching and crowdsourcing, I found about 20 schools that have already created Google+ Pages. If you’re a Google+ user, you can view a Shared Circle I’ve created to collect and showcase colleges with Google+ Pages.

UPDATE: Huge thanks to Travis for sharing this Circle from  filled with over 180 schools on Google+.

Some of the first schools to join include:

UPDATE #2: I’ve also created a shared doc for Google+ Page admins to add their schools to the list.

Google+ Page Features

Even though Google+ Pages are still in the very early stages, they still include some interesting features for colleges looking to experiment on a new social platform.

Screen shot 2011 11 08 at 9.13.03 AM Colleges Join In For Google+ Pages Launch

Google+ Page for Emerson College (click for larger image)

Circles

Google+ delivers a few standard Circles for Pages, including Team Members (possibly employees of your school), VIPs, Customers and Following. The approach here is that you’ll segment your posts out to specific populations of Circles if that content is audience-specific.

In the future, colleges may want to create Circles for audiences like Prospective Students, Parents, Faculty, Alumni, etc. One downside is that Pages can’t add people to Circles until the page is added first or mentioned. So, you’ll have to do some marketing of your Page before you can segment your users into Circles.

Direct Connect

An interesting feature is Direct Connect, which simplify searching for and following colleges on Google+. After connecting your website to your Google+ Page, you are eligible for Direct Connect through Google searches. A user can then type in + then your Page’s name into a Google search and be sent directly to your Google+ Page. More information in this video:

Hangouts

Pages can interact with other Google+ profiles by starting Hangouts. This could be an easy way to create video chat with specific Circles from your Page. Let’s say, maybe, that you want to connect accepted students online before they move in. You could start a Google+ Hangout from your Page and invite students moving into a certain dorm on campus. Or, you could have your college’s president initiate a Google+ Hangout to talk to select members of the college community.

Your Thoughts?

Google+ Pages have just arrived, but because of the possibilites with Google search and Adwords integration along with Direct Connect, we’ll be seeing brand Pages pop up more in our search results. It’s really just a question of “will your audience actually visit their Google+ stream to see the information you share?”. That seems to be biggest hurdle for Google+ to overcome.

Have you created a Google+ Page for your school? What are your initial thoughts of the platform and eventual growth? Share your thoughts in the comments.

The content of this post is licensed: The post is released under a Creative Commons by-nc-nd 3.0 license


About the author

Mike Petroff

Mike is the Web Manager for Enrollment at Emerson College in Boston, MA.  He leads web marketing and online recruitment efforts for undergraduate and graduate admission.  Mike also chairs the social media group at Emerson as they work on coming up with ways to use the social web to recruit the next generation of students. You can find him on Twitter at @mikepetroff.

This post was written by - who has written 29 posts on .eduGuru


  • http://twitter.com/patrickjpowers Patrick Powers

    Great post, Mike. Are there features I wish Google would have included with the launch of pages? Sure. But if our audience is there and ready to use this platform as a means of communication, who am I to say it won’t work? If 40 million people are in there communicating, so am I.

    • http://twitter.com/mikepetroff Mike Petroff

      Thanks, Patrick. I agree – we’re in the experimental stage right now. Better to be comfortable with G+ now before it grows. 

  • http://twitter.com/tbrock111 Travis

    I agree! Higher ed brand pages have already exploded today. I think hype will definitely die down over the coming months. But as new and brands are exploring the possibilities in Google+ and Pages, there is always a chance to build a few relationships.

    Here is a shared group of over 180 colleges, universities, and departments that have added themselves to Google+ Pages in the first 20 hours or so https://plus.google.com/b/108528384857438893831/108528384857438893831/posts/Z44ZMpKDv6X

    • http://twitter.com/mikepetroff Mike Petroff

      Thanks for sharing your comprehensive Circle! I’ve added it to my post. 

  • http://twitter.com/webfolk Greg Pool

    One complication is that many .EDUs have not turned on G+ because during the sign-up a user can change their name and screw up their birthdate, thus locking them out of all of Google Apps. So it meant our marketing shop had to squat using their “old” gmail.com address in use for YouTube. But there was no verification process, so our concern was someone would “take” our brand before we got there first.

    • http://twitter.com/mikepetroff Mike Petroff

      Thanks for the comment, Greg. I’m wondering – “during the sign-up a user can change their name and screw up their birthdate, thus locking them out of all of Google Apps” – how is that the fault of Google+? 

  • http://sirinya.tritipeskul.com Sirinya Tritipeskul Matute

    This is a super helpful blog entry and I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues here at UCLA. I am wondering the same thing regarding whether our audience will actually visit their Google+ stream to see the information that we/UCLA shares. I know that I’m not in the habit of doing it for myself right now.

    • http://twitter.com/mikepetroff Mike Petroff

      Thanks, Sirinya! Glad you found the post helpful. 

  • http://twitter.com/ljn1230 ljn1230

    Well, I created the page for The University of Scranton but not sure how we can possibly maintain yet another social network.  We are just getting to the point were we have progressed far enough on our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr pages that we can put more focus on strategic use and dedicating more time from professional staff. Sigh!

  • Anonymous

    More organistions embarking on this Internet marketing route… Wise choice I must say!

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