Google Plus Pages for Libraries
Google Plus Pages are the Google answer/alternative to a Facebook (though I prefer to think of it as a complement for a full social media plan). Your library can use this powerful social tool to host video Hangout chats, isolate user and staff groups for targeted dissemination and conversations with Circles, and increase your Library’s social exposure with the +1 button.
I will definitely be adding Library Pages on Google+ to my Circles as a way of bringing libraries into my digital life.
How to create a Google+ Page for your Organization:
Click the “Create a Google+ Page” square icon on all Google+ sites or start at https://plus.google.com/pages/create
Choose a category for your library’s page:
The category of “Local Business or Place” is the natural home for most libraries, but use your best judgment. This option is only viable if your library already has a Google Places page established and associated with the appropriate phone #. Or use this opportunity to establish or refine your library’s presence in Google Places. This will populate your library’s address and locate it on the map. Select a subcategory: “Education and Culture” is the obvious choice, but that may be too traditional for the same reason.
Choose “Company, Institution, or Organization” if it is advantageous to be represented under you parent organization.
- Create a Google Plus page for a Fictional Character from a book featured in your children programs
- Create a Page for your library’s established blog to maintain continuity of that brand.
Visibility: there is no reason not to select “Any Google+ User” for the “Your page will be publicly visible. Its content is appropriate for” setting.
Do read the Pages Terms before agreeing. There is nothing alarming in them, but always smart to make sure you are aware of the details.
Once the page is created, make sure to immediately add an icon or profile picture (never leave a social networking profile w/out a pic), complete the short blurb, and fill out the About section with a concise elevator itch style blurb about what the brand and its value is.
Don’t be that Brand with the “… hasn’t shared anything with you yet” note being your only content. That is the same death wish as the Twitter account with an empty feed or the Instagram user who hasn’t uploaded any pictures yet. Post immediately, even if it is just an introduction.
Looking for some good examples? Check these out:
- The Muppets
- Sesame Street
- Also see this list of some news organizations using Google+ Pages
Use a Google Plus Page to host virtual book groups, answer questions, provide content to targeted groups, or even just make announcements.
- Post post post. Keep the content coming.
- Anything you’ve thought in the past to post to your FB or Twitter accounts.
- Add users as well as appropriate brands/authors/resources to your circles.
- Be a player in your community by connecting and interacting with Google+ Pages and accounts in your town, campus, industry.
- Post pictures. Google+ is a major new platform for image sharing, be part of that trend and leverage the power of sharing via an image element.
- Associate the Page with a staff mobile device to maximize your participation in the social network as well as streamline staff efficiencies.
- Use for other staff work flows, including notes from staff meetings and documents shared only with staff and admin circles.
- Create circles for reading groups/classes/frequent users/professors and post relevant resources and links.
- Share links to e-reserves
- Post links to proprietary content when authenticated.
- Use Circles as authentication point to provide access to subscription content.
- Post tips and rewards for customers who include you in their circles
- Host QR Codes
- Complement the location features and check in to your location as well as encourage patrons to check in
- Hangouts: Think reference, instruction, just being there to answer whatever questions come up. Sign language examples. Better to use your creativity than to listen to my suggestions. Takes the idea of putting a face to your library services one step further
- Use the Messenger feature for reference and more
- Start using it as platform for posts with the end goal of building and making connections. Google+ succeeds as a social tool because it capitalizes on social sharing and interaction.
Google+ offers strong analytics. Encouraging patrons to add your brand to their circles increases your library’s followers count, and important designator of online impact. However, is not just about how many people you can get to add your library to their circles. More important is how much they interact with and react to your content. So keep in mind as a priority that shared content should drive conversation.
Promote the Google+ Page on your library web site:
- By adding the +1 button to your webpage
- If your Page qualifies, it is also a good idea to connect your library’s website to Google+ via Google+ Direct Connect (Direct Connect is one of the true gems of this new feature).
Maximize Google+ Brand Pages and reenergize your library as a hotspot for current awareness, community growth, and social sharing.
- Play and dedicate time, energy, and creativity. Google+ is one of those tools that we know is a safe bet, it is worth the investment in staff time so don’t be afraid to dedicate resources towards a successful program.
- Make it a team effort. You have a wealth of creativity in your department or community, let that shine and let your team in. this also helps alleviate the work load and enables it to represent the library as whole.
- When strategizing for Google+, keep in mind that success lies in being able to maximize its strengths in publishing to large groups as well as making direct connections and conversations
Your library is amazing and has lasting value for your community. Let it shine with a successful Google+ brand page. Let me know when you’ve create a Google+ Brand Page for your library and I will gladly add it to my circles.
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