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.
Some of the first schools to join include:
- Emerson College
- Ithaca College
- Penn State School of Theatre
- San Diego State University
- Webster University
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.