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FYI Corner: Google+ for Nonprofits

by Mike Smith and Amy Baroch, Station Products & Innovation

In an earlier FYI Corner, we discussed making the move to Google+ as an individual, but did you know there are steps you can be taking right now in order to get your nonprofit into one of the fastest growing social networking parties, err...websites around?

In July, Google announced that business and organization pages will soon be introduced into G+, allowing them to mingle with the nearly 30 million users already registered. This means that, in much the same way Facebook allows users to connect with organizations that they support, Google+ will allow users to keep themselves up to date on the latest business happenings that spark their interest.

For nonprofits, this is big.

Since its birth, social networking has been a major source of free* marketing (*virality, word of mouth, etc., the only major cost of its use has been time). So for nonprofits, this means that there is now a new frontier in which to parlay opportunity.

How, you ask? Mashable published an article in which blogger Zoe Fox asked non-profit staff for their best practices while experimenting with Google+ and their hopes for the future of the new social network. Here are four ways Fox found that non-profits can make the most of the growing network and what we think are ways that public media stations can take advantage:

1. Host Exclusive Hangouts - Hangouts is Google+’s video conferencing feature. These are great ways to attract younger viewers and members. Host Hangouts with station celebrities and give your attendees some special attention.

2. Cater to Your Circles - You can organize circles any way you want: members, donors, sponsors, parents, educators, etc... In doing so, you can cater to your audience by sending targeted messages to these individuals via Circle. Also, as Fox says, "circles are a great way to "crowdsource" ideas from your valued followers. You can ask your volunteers what types of events they would like to see, or ask your donors for upcoming campaign ideas. Spark conversations among people with shared interests."

3. Huddle or Hangout with Your Coworkers - Google+ isn't just for reaching out to your audience community. Don't forget the community of colleagues right inside your own station. Conduct brainstorming sessions, stay in touch with other departments, and share news across your organization.

4. Unite Volunteers in a Huddle - Many stations have events and activities like pledge, that require extra resources provided by volunteers. Google+ can be a fun and interactive way to keep volunteers engaged, organized and active before, during and after events. Plus, giving your volunteers the opportunity to meet and mingle online amongst themselves could generate good buzz and lasting relationships.

Already using Google+ for your station and have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comment box below. We always welcome your thoughts!

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