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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Google+ Page: Setting One Up

As most know, Google+ launched a while ago.  There are a great deal of things I really like about the service.  I'm not saying I'm dropping Facebook.  I like that too, but Google+ adds some things and approaches things like connecting to others that "hammer out" a lot of the issues with user-interface and organizing of connections Facebook ran into as the user-base expanded.  For example, "Circles" and organizing through the use of "Circles" is one of the best features.  Then you have other great tie-ins like "Hangouts" for group video conferencing that even connects with Google Docs to share documents with others participants.  Jason John makes great points in how the service can effect search and others finding you in 3 Ways Google+ Will Affect Search which is significant for companies, brands, and organizations.  
Up until the other day, the service lacked the ability for organizations and brands to have their own “page” like Facebook Pages.  So the announcement was very welcome news.  I know I spent most of Monday night with one eye on a football game and the other on my laptop screen figuring this new aspect of the Google+ out.  I see huge possibilities for brands, local businesses, and organizations not only from external promotional social connection; but also to collaborate internally (especially if your organization uses Google Apps).  This is a big difference from Facebook which keep the two somewhat, if not very,  separate.  Let’s take a look first at the setup.  Then look for a follow up post on the uses and benefits for your company or organization as I see them.  Images will be the page I set up for an ebook I wrote, The Connected Church.  
** Before we get into the set up, it’s important to make a decision under which Google/Google Apps account you want this page associated with.  Currently, multiple users can not administer the page but that is supposedly coming as a feature.  Google Apps users now have the ability as well to participate onGoogle+ which was another change the other day.  So, for example, a Google Apps team may want to use a generic user account or a top-level "Admin" account.  Currently there is no ability to have multiple Administrators like Facebook Pages, but Google has said they are working to bring that feature.
Setting up your Google+ Page
1. While on your personal profile page look to the right-hand bar and scroll down to where you see“Create a Google Plus Page”

2.  You will be asked to give your page a name and set up your profile similar to how you set up your personal account.  Don’t worry about this too much, because you are able to change the name.  I personally would recommend using the same name you gave to a Facebook page if you have one and are looking to expand your exposure.  Remember, this is representing your organization so provide a nice ‘Introduction’ paragraph or two and all the relevant information.
Have some fun with the profile image and create a nice looking image.  The dimensions are 200 pixels by 200 pixels.  So similar to Facebook, you really do have enough room to create a image with your parish or organization information visible.

3.  Connect to others by sharing your page.  This part is different than the individual account.  You can not just begin following (aka adding to circles).  You’ll need to share your page out and gain “Followers” (yes, we’re ‘following’ and not ‘liking’).  So you’ll want to tell all of your personal Circles about the page.  You’ll notice you can “Share” your page publicly once it’s created.  The link to your page is " numbers at the end while on your stream or 'about' section" (i.e.  So 'Share' the pages under your personal account out to all of your circles as well.  
Make sure you add the Google Plus Icon (right-click at the beginning of the article and save it to your computer) to your website and I recommend linking it to the link mentioned above.

Once you gain followers you can begin assigning them to Circles (and create custom Circles) as you would normally in a regular Google+ Profile.  You actually use the service very similar to you do as your regular profile.  When you are under your Page Profile you post things, comment, start hangouts, etc. just as normally would under your personal profile.
Look for the next article coming on how you can use this service as a great benefit for your parish, ministries, Diocese and related offices, etc.  There are a ton of great possibilities.
Here's a link to a real estate page we set up for my wife, Kathleen West, and as well.

Click here to visit and follow on Google+
What questions do you have?

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