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New Addition to Google+, “Communities”

Google+, have I told you lately how much I love you?

When people ask me about my favorite social networking sites, I often mention Google+ which is met with blank stares or “Google+ is going to die soon. It’s a grave yard.” With 135+ million active users, Google+ is a force to be reckoned with and a worthy competitor to Twitter and Facebook.

Last week, my favorite site announced a new feature – Communities. This is something you might currently recognize on Facebook under the name of “Groups.” However, Communities are a bit more sophisticated than say a Facebook group of TV worshippers and Unicorn Lovers.

Google+ Communities are similar to Facebook and LinkedIn groups in that they are discussion streams centered around topics or common interests.  Communities help target a specific set of people who have the passion for the same thing in order to promote engagement .

Creating a Community is painless and if you’re a Google+ user, chances are you’ve already been invited to a few. You can choose to create a public or private Community, upload a profile photo, post the first discussion topic, and you’re all set.  You can also post to your Community from your profile and anything you post in your Community will be visible to others on your profile pages allowing them to chime in, or better yet, join your Community.

You can customize your Community further by creating discussion areas for people to post under. For example, a photography Community might feature discussion areas like “Photography Tips,” “Photos only,” etc and these targeted areas of discussion within the Community are shown directly underneath the Community page profile photo so that users may click on an area of interest within the Community that benefits them or they want to contribute to.

Now that you’re all excited about Communities, what exactly does all this mean for brands? If you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn, you can probably guess how powerful a Google+ Community. If you know anything about SEO, the fact that Google+ now has 135+ million active users, then yes, a Google+ Community is something your brand should really be excited about. How does one hone down an active group of users with varied interests? A Community.

If your brand is on Google+, a Community allows you to create common interest groups – structuring your discussions around themes – allowing you to talk in a less commercial way.  A Community can help you learn more about your brand, what consumers are saying, and what they’d like to see. It could be a great learning tool for a brand, a way to promote good will, and get people talking favorably about your product.

Since Google+ is already a rich SEO tool and given that fact that Communities are still a new feature, your brand could be the first to pioneer a successful Community. However you need to act fast even if you miss your chance to be the first on scene or an early bird, if you own a business , you need to create a Google+ page and then you need to start targeting your customers base via Communities to learn more about them and what they want.

Have you heard of Google+ Communities? What are your thoughts? Have you created one yet?

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