I know what you’re thinking. “Great…another social network I need to be on. What’s so different about this one anyway? Will it even be around come next year? Why should I invest time into it?” These are all valid points. But with thousands of schools signing up for brand pages on Google+, you kind of have to be there just because everyone else is.
What is Google+?
Google+ is Google’s latest attempt at developing a social network. The service originally launched in the summer, but it has recently opened to the public, including brand pages. Already there are over 40 million users on Google+ and it’s expected to grow rapidly as Google gradually incorporates the social network into all of it’s properties, including search, YouTube and Gmail.
How is Google+ Different than Facebook?
Honestly, besides a few minor features, there is not too much that differentiates Google+ from Facebook. “Circles” are meant to make sharing easier since it allows users to organize their contacts into different groups (similar to Facebook’s lists). “Hangouts” enables up to 10 people to participate in a group video chat session or watch a YouTube video together (similar to Facebook’s Skype integration). And while Google+’s photo galleries might look a bit slicker than Facebook’s, there is not too much innovation from Google yet.
Possible Ways Schools Can Use Google+
- Schedule hangouts such as “Ask the Admissions Officer” or have current international students connect with prospective students from the same country
- Create circles such as “Alumni” “Current Students” and “Prospective Students” so that you can share certain content to only the groups that would find it relevant
An article on Social Media Today suggests 5 ways that schools can use Google+ to turn it into the ultimate recruiting network. The ideas include highlighting the successes of former students, showing off the school with photos and virtual tours, and updating the current activities going around on campus. Of course, you could already do all of these things on Facebook and other platforms, so there is nothing too groundbreaking for universities on Google+ yet.
Already there are over 500 higher education institutions that have signed up with new social network. Here are some current examples of how some universities are utilizing Google+
So maybe Google+ isn’t all that different from Facebook and other social networks. It’s another place to show off videos and photos, post news and events around campus, and engage in discussions with current and prospective students. Social media is all about engagement, no matter what platform it’s on. Even if there’s not a lot of innovation on Google+, it’s still important to have a presence on it. You want your university to be discoverable in as many places as possible. You just kind of have to do it because everyone else is doing it.