It really has been a long time coming for Google to launch their Google + “Communities”. It’s hard to believe that it took them more than a year to come up with their version of the popular Facebook Groups. I personally only use Google+ for business reasons, so I’m especially curious to see how Google+ Communities could help me with that.
Who uses Google+?
For all you Google + skeptics, let’s first take a quick look at Google+. Today, it is the fastest-growing social network ever. Over 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million are active in just the stream.
But who exactly is using it? Is it worth setting up a profile and opening up a community for your business on Google+, is your target audience even there? A very useful site where you can view people’s profile’s stats as well as analyzing your own is Circle Count.
What are Google+ Communities?
Google+ Communities is, as they say it, for people to “talk about the stuff you’re into with people who love it too.” It’s a place where you can gather together with business owners, your family, friends, whoever you want, have rich conversations, post photos and videos and plan events and explore your common interests, whatever they may be. It is also a great way to meet new, like-minded people that share your interests.
You can choose to create private communities that only you and the friends that you choose to invite can join. Or, you can join public communities, no matter what your interests are. It’s a great way to learn new things about the stuff you are passionate about and to meet new people.
So far, so good. However, not much of a difference between the features that Google Communities offers and the Facebook Groups features. It’s strange that it took them so long to launch this feature, however in my opinion, Facebook Groups is one of Facebook’s most useful features! I find it great when I need to talk to more people at the same time and especially when I want to plan some sort of event . Not to mention how much you can cultivate your knowledge if you join public groups.
It might have taken Google a bit long, but I have to say Google Communities is looking very good. It could be that it was the missing link in their success and their quest to get more people to upgrade from the social media giant, Facebook.
So let’s take a look now at how to use it
Once you’ve created your Google+ profile, on the left-hand side of the screen, as you can see, you can select “Communities” which will take you to this page. If you scroll down, you will see a list of different existing communities that you can join:
Or, if you want to create your own community, simply click on the “create a community” button, from the “Communities” home page. After that, you will be asked if you want to create a public community or a private community:
Select either private or public, and then enter your community’s name. I’ve chosen to make a public community for mine and called it Social Media Marketing. I now have to choose if anyone can join or if a moderator needs to approve users before they join:
Now that my community is created, it’s time to make it look good:
As you can see, I can write a tagline, pick a photo for the community, write about it and include some guidelines, and add some discussion categories.
Now it’s time to invite people to my community:
And I’m done! Now all I need to do is find more people to talk to and start engaging!
Google+ Communities – an opportunity for businesses?
Google+ Communities could be a great way to get more social media engagement, more traffic to your site, and possibly more customers.
You can use Google+ Communities by creating your own public community, where your customers (and potential customers) can talk about you, your business and your products. You will be able to use this platform to speak directly with your audience, have meaningful conversations and manage your customer care.
But you will also be able to find new people, potential customers that might be interested in you and your business. You can do this by joining different communities where you think your target audience might hang out and by talking to people. This way, you could start new relationships with people that could be genuinely interested in you and what you have to offer. And you can also invite them to your community, where the conversation can be taken even further.
You can even chat face-to-face with your customers with Google Hangouts. It really doesn’t get more personal than this (well, at least not in the virtual world):
I’m looking forward to see how this new addition is going to affect Google+’s success. Personally I think this is a welcome addition and I’m already starting to see some success from spending time in the communities.
Do you think that now that Google has launched this feature, you are more likely to join Google+ (if you haven’t already!) If you have been using Google+, did the absence of Google Communities bother you? Will you start a Community for your business? I’m curious to know – so please leave your comments.
Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market, she actively leverages ethical online marketing for her clients and for Socialable.
After launching her first business within three years of becoming a mother, her financial success was recognised by being a finalist at the Best MumPreneur of the Year Awards, presented at 10 Downing Street. Following a resultant offer and wishing to spend more time with her daughter, she sold her first business to focus on social media, developing a multi-site blog and online marketing portfolio that generates in excess of 600,000 + page views per month.
A business owner, social media consultant, internet mentor and genuine digital guru, Lilach is consulted by journalists and regularly quoted in newspapers, business publications and marketing magazines (including Forbes, The Telegraph, Wired, Prima Magazine, The Sunday Times, Social Media Today and BBC Radio 5 Live). What’s more, her books have achieved No 1 on Amazon for Sales and Marketing and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.
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