Since Google + communities launched nearly a year ago, over 100,000 communities have been created. These communities range in size from just a handful of people to several hundred thousand and cover just about any topic you can think of.
As more and more companies are joining Google + for social media and SEO purposes, communities offer a great opportunity for people and businesses to connect on a specify topic. These communities work similar to LinkedIn groups where you can share content and interact directly with people in that group.
If you are new to Google + or to communities, navigating and understanding community protocol can be confusing. The following suggestions will help you have a positive experience with communities and will allow you to reach and connect with the people you need.
1. Find the Right Communities
Begin by searching for communities that are active and are specific for your niche. Join communities that you will be able to contribute to and learn from. Avoid joining a community if it would look bad for your brand (a competitors community), if it won’t benefit your brand, or if it is not related to your company. Nothing will alienate group members more than posting about things that are not relevant. There are a lot of cool sports, music, and car communities out there but if they are not related to your brand, don’t join them! (Feel free to join as many communities as you want on your personal Google + Account though.)
2. Understand the Rules
Each community has its own rules for joining as well as for posting and interacting with other group members. Be sure to read and understand all of the guidelines before you begin posting and interacting. Failing to comply to the rules of a community will surely get you banned and will hurt the image of your company.
3. Post Useful Content
As you begin posting in communities there are a few very important things to keep in mind:
- Don’t only share things about your company/products/services.
- Don’t post only links.
- Don’t post the exact same thing in multiple communities. Similar communities will likely have a lot of the same members and posting the same thing will likely get you marked as spam.
- Do make your posts interesting so that community members will want to share.
- Do ask questions that will get others to engage with your post.
- Do share things that will help others recognize you as an expert on the community topic.
4. Use the Correct Category
Just about every community now has you select a specific category when creating a post. Make sure you select the category that is most relevant to your post. These categories allow topics to become even more specified within a group.
5. Engage with Others
Simply just posting in categories will not generate the type of interaction communities offer. Take the time to look through others posts and interact with them. +1 and comment on posts you find relevant. Similarly, ask others to +1 and comment on your posts. The more you interact with others, the more they will interact with you. This interaction can lead to great relationships and potential customers/clients-your ultimate goal with social media!
6. Create Your Own Community
If you haven’t found a specific community that you feel meets your needs, if you are looking to connect with new people, or if you simply want to establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic, feel free to create your own community. Doing so will allow you to monitor who joins and what is being posted and create a community focused on topics that are right for your brand.
What other tips have you found lead to success in Google + Communities? Leave us a comment and let us know!