How to Use Google Plus for Nonprofits

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Besides being the huge search engine that everyone is familiar with, Google is also a place where you can promote and fundraise for your nonprofit organization.  Google+ for Nonprofits is a free and simple way to do this, and is easy to implement into your nonprofit’s outreach, fundraising and advocacy efforts.

Google plus icon on smartphone

While many people can’t see the point in creating yet another social media profile for their organizations, especially for something that may not be all that active, in fact Google+ is growing fast, with over 135 million active users, 60% of which log in every day, and it also influences search rankings.

There are more pros than cons to having a Google Plus account—here are a few ways to make the most of Google+ for your nonprofit organization:

Circles

Google+ has a feature called Circles, which allows you to divide all of your organization’s followers into different groups (such as members, donors, volunteers, etc.) so that you can target communication better. Unlike Facebook, which broadcasts posts to everyone who has “liked” the page, Circles let you reach out to just one group of people individually.

You can create any Circle you want, but the default ones are a good place to start.  You can then drag your organization’s contacts into your circles to categorize them.  Keep in mind that when you add someone to a Circle, they will receive a notification that you added them, but it won’t say what Circle you put them in.

These Circles can now control who sees your updates, and also whose updates you view in your own stream.  You can even click to see just a stream for a only a certain circle, which can help you if you want to look at only your volunteer updates, staff updates, etc.

google+ circles

Martin Shervington: Marketing, Psychology & Google+ Insights

Setting up your circles may be slightly time consuming, but is not difficult, once you have an idea of how they work and what they are.

Search Engine Rankings

Another great benefit to having a Google+ page is it can boost your search engine rankings.  Google ranks Google+ pages high in their search results, so if your nonprofit has a profile it can increase the amount of traffic your website gets. According to a MOZ survey, Google+ posts are highly correlated with higher search rankings for a site.

To make sure Google+ improves your search rankings, there are several things you can do:

1. Complete your profile.

When you have an incomplete profile, it can actually do more harm than good as it will not be given the credibility in Google’s algorithm that pages that are more completed receive. In order to set up your profile, you need a picture, a tagline (something short about yourself), an introduction (longer version of the tagline), all of your personal information (occupation, employment, education, etc.), to set your profile to “visible in search,” what websites you contribute to, and links.

2. Set up authorship.

When you choose an author picture, it can help your page push through, and your posts may rank higher than your competitors if you have a good display picture and implement the author tag.

3. Link it to your page.

When you link your Google Plus page straight to your website, it will improve your SEO rankings. You can do this just by using a simple piece of code in your webpage.

4. Get more followers and +1s.

In this instance, the higher the numbers, the better you perform with SEO.  The number of +1s you receive can help to move you up as well. You can build community and get more followers and +1s by using your personal profile to highlight your nonprofit brand, posting your own valuable content on your page and not solely commenting and +1ing others’ content, following people and businesses you’re interested in, engaging one on one with other people, watching for trending topics, and using the search function to find your target audience.

Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Journal

You can read more about how Google+ impacts search results here.

Hangouts

Hangouts are live video chats that your followers can join.  You can use Hangouts to hold discussions about important issues, and also to teach new members or visitors who are not yet acquainted with your organization’s work and mission.

Features of Google+ hangouts include:

  • Instant video conferencing with up to nine other people
  • Invitation-only or open to the public option
  • Upload a document to share
  • Share your computer screen
  • Connect multiple cameras to your hangout video, and switch between them
The Next Web

The Next Web

There are lots of ways to use Google hangouts, and they can also be useful for SEO.  For instance, ingredients for great SEO include unique content, Google+, YouTube, and embedded video—and Google Hangouts can connect all of these things!  After your Hangout, you can optimize and edit your video through the editor on your YouTube Channel, and then add in appropriate keywords for SEO purposes. You can also convert the Hangout into all sorts of other types of media (podcasts, Slideshares etc.) to reap even more SEO benefits.

Know of any other great ways to use Google plus for nonprofits? Add them in the comments below!

Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.

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About the Author

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Leah Readings

Leah Readings is a Software Analyst for Capterra, a company that connects buyers and sellers of business software. She specializes in church management software along with several other software directories. When she’s not helping software buyers, she is, among other things, reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

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