Using Google+ Communities to Engage
It’s time to get on the Google Plus train. I know, I know. You’re still holding out, hoping that the search giant won’t force you into keeping up with yet another social network. But with a growing active user base that is speeding past other networks like Twitter, Google Plus is quickly proving its worth. My guess is that you already have an account and a basic Plus Page for your business, yet you’ve seen little activity for the time you’ve spent on that page. But if you’re just sitting on your page, waiting for potential contacts to come to you, you’re doing it wrong.
To build brand awareness and attract new clients, you have to be willing to engage outside of your + page. Thankfully, you can easily do this through joining or creating Google Plus Communities. This feature acts like a message board, giving users with a shared interest a place to converge and converse. Not sure where to start? They already have recommendations for you.
Once you have an idea of the existing communities, search for more specific communities that may be more related to your business. Can’t find a community? Consider creating your own. However, keep in mind that it may take weeks or months for your community to become active, and as the moderator, you’ll need to be vigilant to maintain the integrity of the group (removing spammers, creating discussion categories, hosting Hangouts, etc.) once things do pick up.
If you do find existing communities that align with your industry, I recommend joining one or two smaller groups first. A community with thousands of members means that several people are posting every hour; it’s information overload for the beginner (and I think counter intuitive to the idea of community). You want to make sure there is room for you to participate because this is a place for you to be an active member, sharing opinions, timely links, and industry knowledge.
1. New Clients and Contacts – Without Google Plus Communities, your business is at the mercy of your Plus Circles, which usually consist of employees and existing clients and contacts. Building your company’s presence in a group gives you the ability to connect with complete strangers who are already interested in what you do.
2. Increased Industry Knowledge – A good community should be sharing the latest trends, tricks, and tips. Being a part of an active, well-informed community makes it easier to keep up with your industry – you can count on one another to share the good stuff!
3. More +1s Opportunities – If you do create your own community through your business’s Plus Page, every +1 your community receives will automatically count towards your Plus Page, and we all know how valuable those +1s can be when it comes to showing up in search.
Stop Lurking, Start Engaging
Avoid the temptation to lurk – jump in and start proving your worth to the community. Want more tips? Amanda Blain is a + pro and offers some great ideas in her post on using “communities to corner niche markets.”
Faith Jones – EVG Project Manager