Google + Nonprofit Brand Pages | Beth's Blog

Google + Nonprofit Brand Pages

Digital Strategy

Why does Google +  launch new stuff when I’m on a book deadline!!   The long awaited brand pages on Google + are here.    I put a post out on Google + asking what nonprofits had set up pages and was able to identify 88 from all the responses and placed them in a open circle here.

I browsed through these nonprofit brand pages today, and it appears many grabbed the tip sheet Google nonprofits and set up their pages – some more fully than others.

Then the reactions:

  • Ah, you can’t add more than one administrator (it’s coming).    I asked what happens if someone goes on vacation, but as Frank Barry pointed out – no one who works in a nonprofit does!   Robert Scoble pointed out some major problems with having only one account associated with the brand pages.
  • Most of what I heard was, “I’ve got my google + brand page, now what?”
  • The early adopters have jumped in and pages are set up and waiting for some SMART objectives, content strategy, and tips on engagement.
  • Some say they’ll be testing, testing, and testing – throwing virtual pasta at the wall and see what sticks and how much time and effort it takes to throw that pasta.
  • Others are on the hunt for good tips (Check out Heather Mansfield’s Best Practices)
  • I didn’t hear a lot of chatter about what objectives and measurement – particularly how to measure to learn.

I’m trying to avoid being seduced by Shiny Object Syndrome.    It  makes nonprofits and individuals to adopt the latest  cool social tool based on peer pressure, buzz, or a strange desire to be one of the first.  It can also distract you from your priority to do list.

If I was going to create a google + brand page for a nonprofit, I would probably focus on using to cultivate a small sub-set of my community that I knew was already using Google + – perhaps use it as a focus group to learn and figure out what might make sense.  Or I might set up a circle with peer organizations and use that to as a learning group to experiment and learn in real time about google +.

I’m not recommending that all nonprofits should immediately just say no  (or yes) to the latest technology tool that is capturing the imagination (and time) of geeks.    But, it is important to have a framework like  Gartner Technology Hype Cycle to think it through.     There are three choices:

Early Move: Willing to combine risk taking with an understanding that risky investments don’t always pay off.
Moderate Approach: Understand the argument for an early investment but will also insist on a sound cost/benefit analysis when new ways of doing things are not yet fully proven.
Wait for maturation? If there are too many unanswered questions about the impact of the technology platform,  better to wait until others have been able to deliver tangible value.

What’s your nonprofit’s approach to setting up a brand page of Google +?  Jump now or wait?

16 Responses

  1. Mattia says:

    Jump now…. but i’m waiting a push 🙂

  2. I’m totally with you on not falling victim to Shiny Object Syndrome. I gave a presentation at the Foundation Center-Washington last week where I was talking to nonprofit folks about social media trends to look for, and I made that very point. Google+ is definitely going to be a huge trend, but end of the day you have to consider whether it’s right for your organization – in terms of where your supporters are and the resources you have available to throw at it.

    I created a page for our communications firm, but only because it’s my job to stay on top of these things. I would only recommend it to our clients if I think it will be worthwhile for them.

  3. […] to Create a Google+ Page For Your Nonprofit. Also view this video by John Haydon.  Here’s Beth Kanter’s take.  But the jury is still out on whether Google+ pages will prove to be as popular as Facebook […]

  4. […] I remain wary of this new form of social media. Reviews of these new pages have been mixed as well. Beth Kanter has a great sum up of other nonprofits’ […]

  5. Nathan Hand says:

    Claimed the name, created circles for donors, volunteers, staff, ambassadors and others – then reading best practices. We’ll be promoting our G+ presence on Facebook & Twitter, posting a few times a week for 2 weeks, then review.

  6. I have to say that my initial reaction was “yes, but…” I do worry that it will take time away from the work of the nonprofit, and there are still a bunch of hiccups in G+ for pages at this time. I fully believe in the future of G+ for nonprofits, but as you rightly say, SMART objectives and content strategy have to be a part of this move.

    One of the fun bits of G+ is that it is like the early days of Facebook Pages – no one was quite sure how to use them and individual Facebook users weren’t ready to spend time on Pages. Waiting a month or so won’t make a difference. However, if the nonprofit has the staff time and some objectives in mind, doing the experimentation early may be to their benefit. Welcome to the new Wild West!

  7. Where is you +1 button on your site? How can I recommend you in G+ when that button is missing?

  8. Beth says:

    LOL Marleen – I haven’t added it yet!

    Debra – thanks for your thoughts! Yes, if nonprofit has the bandwidth with the end of year fundraising upon us – they should experiment and learn if they are an early adopter and they potential benefits of jumping in early. There is also a benefit of taking the middle ground – to learn from the early adopters. It gets down to the culture of the organization and what makes sense.

  9. […] Google + Nonprofit Brand Pages Why does Google +  launch new stuff when I'm on a book deadline!!   The long awaited brand pages on Google + are here. Source: […]

  10. Randy Bear says:

    Claimed the name for the organization and will wait until it develops more before adding content. With only one admin it may be a little risky at this point. Like some of the ideas in here like circles for various people. We can use that to keep groups informed without cross-sharing the information.

  11. […] Google + Nonprofit Brand Pages Why does Google +  launch new stuff when I’m on a book deadline!!   The long awaited brand pages on Google + are here. Source: […]

  12. I started one for Action San Antonio, but there are so many barriers. I can’t add people to circles. I can’t share because public posts are “locked” if I’m not in your circle, and I can’t comment, so I have no way of even letting you know I exist unless it’s through my personal network…and most folks haven’t build a strong enough personal network to do much in that arena.

    The most Google+ lets me do is +1 a post. No much juice there. I’m wondering about search engine juice…maybe posts help with SEO…cause at this point, the community building issue is going to be a HUGE mountain to climb.

  13. […] Tech 2.0: HOW TO: Create a Google+ Page for Your Nonprofit Beth’s Blog: Google + Nonprofit Brand Pages Google Nonprofits: Create A Google+ Page For Your Nonprofit To Connect With People Who Care About […]

  14. Mel says:

    Debi P.,

    Sounds frustrating. I stumbled (very late I might add) upon this article while researching some brand building tactics. As a recent marketing grad, I struggle with how to take on the challenge of non profits online. To answer your question, Yes G+ posts and any activity on social networks provide SEO link juice. The most important part though is providing the net & your supporters with relevant link juice. For example posting on forums about non profits and leaving comments. Basically be where your audience is at online. I’m currently working on revitalizing a non-profit that is dear to my heart Bayshore Education Center would you mind visiting it and giving me some much appreciated feedback? Thanks! Hope your G+ efforts have paid off now that we are well into the new year.

    – Melissa Averie

  15. […] her blog post, Beth Kanter suggests that nonprofits might want to think about strategic ways to use their Google+ Pages, such as for […]