Google+ for Nonprofits and Small Businesses
Although Google+ isn’t open for company profiles yet, it doesn’t hurt to get a head start in planning how to use it. Think of Google+ as a Facebook/Twitter hybrid. It combines the best of both worlds, but with some additional features that make it different.
1. Spend time organizing all of your followers into their respective circles, this is a main feature of Google+ that distinguishes it from other social networks, so take advantage of it.
Google+’s main focus is allowing users to segment their followers into circles. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the drag and drop interface makes it easy for users to organize their followers into interest groups. When those company profiles come around, you will be able to target your messages to specific audiences. Instead of having a message geared towards the general public, you can have several different messages that each cater to the interests of a defined group.
2. Use Google Hangouts to connect with clients, supporters, funders, and team members.
Hangouts is another distinguishing feature of Google+. With hangouts, users can connect with their circles via a live web chat. Currently, hangouts can have up to ten people in one session. According to Marc Pitman, from The Fundraising Coach, Google hangouts is the present-day equivalent to “fireside chats”. The idea is to have one representative from the company host an open office hangout where supporters and funders can ask questions and have a representative answer them in a web conference. People can join at anytime during the hangout, and it’s a great way to spur conversation amongst your circles. Even after the hangout ends, the conversation often continues in your stream.
3. Add your interests to Google Sparks
By adding your interests to Google Sparks, you can stay up to date with all the latest news surrounding a topic. You can easily share articles with your followers and spark conversations about industry news. Nonprofits can simply sign into their Google+ account to keep track of news regarding fundraising, marketing and industry events.
Google recently closed their beta sign up for business profiles, but they will be releasing a fully developed version later this year. You can read up on updates by adding “google+ business” to your Sparks.