They laugh because, while they all have accounts and occasionally login to update them, they are keenly aware of the perception that no one actually uses it. Their target audiences — namely prospective students and alumni donors — just aren’t active there.
Colleges and universities were some of the first on board when Google+ in November offered brand pages to organizations. Mashable highlighted the trend in “16+ Universities Dive into Google+ Brand Pages,” but it’s depressing to look at what has happened to those 16+ brand pages since the post first appeared.
Nine of the 16+ universities haven’t posted anything to their brand pages since the week when Mashable touted their activity. Only 25 percent of the 16+ highlighted pages have posted Google+ content in the past 90 days.
We’re missing the boat. Google+ doesn’t need to overtake Twitter or siphon users from Facebook. It’s all about search.
While Facebook continues to grow as a top referral source to university websites around the world, it still doesn’t come close to the traffic driven by Google’s search engine. The potential to have your college or university rank higher in the search engine results page simply because of its activity on Google Plus is reason enough to engage on the platform.
Edward J. Black, the president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, last month wrote about the changing world of search when he said:
Links may be the foundation on which the Internet was built, but they are not its future. “Likes” have become the new links that drive our connections online.
And in the case of Google, it’s taking those “likes” — or +1’s if that’s what you want to call them — and tying them to traffic that matters in search engine results.
It’s time to get back on the boat.