June 05, 2013
/ by Amanda_Blain
There are many reasons why you should be using Google Plus for Business and Blogging purposes, including SEO, traffic, and branding. GooglePlus communities are a great way to help grow your following, either as a business or as an individual, by getting more people to see your content and to help you corner niche markets. Many businesses and people have joined Google Plus, added some of the suggested people that Google recommends, did a search in their Gmail to find and add some friends and a few other colleagues. Maybe a few hundred people were found, some of which are active, some might not be.
Perhaps you have even given it a go and tried the suggestions in my 10 steps to GooglePlus, but you still are just not finding an audience or interaction for your posts. Communities can help with this. Even though you only have a few “real life” people following you, you can find an active and large audience by joining a community that is part of your target market or about specific interests.
There are thousands of different Google Plus communities on all different kinds of topics. I personally manage and run 20 different ones ranging in topic from Zombie/The Walking Dead Fans to Bacon to Canadians. There is likely an active community for your target market or interests already. Simply do a search in the search bar, type in a keyword or two that interests you and then select “communities” from the top grey bar. Pick a handful of communities that seem active, (Usually communities that have a multiple number of posts and users) and join by clicking the join button located on the top right. Scroll through the results a bit, the first results might not be the best suited for you, so have a look at the all of the different GooglePlus communities to make sure they are active and targeted and not spam filled and off topic.
1. Each community is different and will have different rules. It’s a good idea to look for a post that lists them, or check out the top right description area for any rules, guidelines or suggestions on what the community is looking for in post quality.
2. Communities are generally looking for you to be an active part of them. Do this by commenting, sharing and plusing on others posts. Posting tons of your own content or “link dropping”(posting a link to your website, blog, article, pictures etc and just leaving afterwards) is generally discouraged by most communities. Become a “thought leader” not a Spam Self promotion dropper.
3. Posting the exact same post to multiple communities and your page is likely to get your post marked as spam automatically by Google. This will require a moderator of the community to manually approve the post. Avoid this by creating a unique post for each community. Spend some time on creating quality thought out targeted content.
4. Instead of simply posting a link, ask a question, or state some opinions and feelings about the link. If you post a news article, share your thoughts. If you post a picture, write a detailed description and the location it was taken if possible. If you are posting a link to your blog, make sure you include a little bit of text about why someone would want to click through to read it. Communities are a place of discussion over a topic and detailed descriptions will help encourage discussion.
5. There are usually categories on the left side under the picture for different topic areas in the community. Make sure you take a moment to place your post in the correct category when you post it. Some communities will even remove your post if they do not feel you placed it correctly.
6. When your business page ‘owns’ the community it creates, all the members of your community count towards the +1s you see on your website. This is an added bonus for you to manage a community as a business page. Before you set up your own community though, I suggest you take some time to get familiar with how other communities are functioning to see what works and what doesn’t. Otherwise you can expect a pretty empty community.
7. I recommend turning off community posts appearing on your profile. Switching them off is especially important if you post to multiple communities a similar type of post. You can do this by clicking on your Google Plus settings and unchecking the option “Show your Google+ communities posts on the Posts tab of your Google+ profile “ at the bottom.
When you are just starting out on Google Plus, communities are are great way to get a lot more eyeballs on content you produce. Time invested into these communities will help you to start developing an audience of targeted followers about niche topics.
Have you used Google Plus’s Communities yet? What has your experience been?
Author bio: Amanda Blain is CEO of Girlfriend Social (a friendship social network for women), Geek Girl, Zombie Fan, Speaker, and Consultant to companies looking for assistance with their social media presence. http://www.amandablain.com
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