My guess is that 99.99% of nonprofits (or more) have not yet been invited to beta test Google+ (sign up here), but if you are a regular reader of Mashable, TechCrunch, or The Next Web, you might be feeling like your missing out on the fruits of being an early adopter (before the site is even out of beta – craziness!). Worry not, however. I don’t have an invite either, but I have been following the beta launch and what the tech blogs are saying about it. When the “HOW TO” time comes, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime just a few things to be aware of (be sure to read number 6!):
1) Google+ is deleting profiles that are being converted in brand pages.
For nonprofits, this is the biggest indicator that you are not missing anything yet. The beta is limited to the personal side of social networking. However, “sometime later this year” Google+ will launch profiles for brands. In the meantime, Google will actively seek out and delete user-profiles that have been converted to brand profiles. While that might seem a little hostile, it’s so smart that they are being upfront about it. MySpace allowed personal profiles to be converted into brand profiles which strongly appealed to the spammers and aggressive business marketers – and I believe that decision inevitably lead to its downfall (being sold to Rupert Murdoch didn’t help either). Also, Facebook initially deleted personal profiles that had been converted into brand profiles without notice which angered a lot of nonprofits who didn’t realize they had set up their Facebook presence incorrectly (Facebook is currently working on a solution to convert those profiles into pages). So again, that Google is being upfront about deleting such profiles (and avoiding a spam free-for-all in the process) is smart and a clear indicator that your nonprofit is not yet missing the early adoption phase.
2) Google is currently requesting early adopters for Google+ Entity Profiles.
Sign up here! It’s a long shot that your nonprofit will get selected, but if enough nonprofits apply then hopefully Google will realize that they need to launch more than just “business” profiles for the Google+ community. It’s also worth pointing at out that at this stage Google is calling them “Entity Profiles.”
3) Google is retiring the Blogger and Picassa brands.
If your nonprofit has a blog hosted on Blogger and a digital library on Picassa, this could give you an edge on Google+.
4) Google has redesigned YouTube Channels i.e., Cosmic Panda.
No kidding… YouTube has launched an experimental redesign called Cosmic Panda. Just in time for Google+. And just in case you were not aware, Google owns YouTube.
5) Sign up for a Google Account.
I am not for sure, but it makes sense that Google+ will be integrated with the rest of Google Products and connected via Google Accounts. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for an account and grab your URL: profiles.google.com/nonprofitorgs
6) As I was writing this post and before it was published, I was mysteriously allowed access to Google+!
Perhaps if you also: 1) Sign up for a Google Account and set it up, 2) Sign up to be alerted of Google+’s full launch, 3) Sign up for an Entity Profile, then you will be given access to Google+ without an invite as well. That said, right away I changed my first name from “Nonprofit” to “Heather,” and my last name from “Organizations” to “Mansfield” to avoid being deleted because indeed my Google Account Profile name became my Google+ Profile name. And sadly, once given access to Google+, I saw numerous nonprofits in violation Google+’s Terms of Service, so clearly the word needs to get out that personal Google+ Profiles should not be converted into brand profiles. Finally, now you know where to find me on Google+, but I won’t have time to explore the tool set for a few weeks yet and honestly, it’s the Entity Profiles I am most interested in. We have time. 🙂
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits