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Using Google+ Communities – Gold Mine for business and internet marketers
Here’s a quick explanation of how an individual would use Google+ Communities
Google+ Communities is Google’s version of a group or forum, built to bring people together around particular topics. Launched in December, the types of Communities available to the Google+ audience seem endless — ranging from science, animals, development and more.
Communities are places where users can share specific questions, comments or content relating to a particular topic with other users who are just as interested in the conversation. For example, if you’re interested in learning about Fashion or Beauty you join a few of the many communities that were created around these topics: Fashion Bloggers (7,000+ members) | Beauty & Fashion (3,000+ members). The same goes for topics like Skateboarding (7,000+ members) or Photography (70,000+ members).
So what? You don’t care to join a community to about fashion or skateboarding. Well, chances are if you’re reading this you are most likely working in the Marketing industry – more specifically Internet Marketing or Social Media Marketing. Are you looking for content, tips, best practices; do you want to learn from other professionals in those industries? Maybe you should check out Social Media Marketing for Business Owners (4,000+ members), Social Media Marketing (10,000+ members); need something more specific – how about Lawyers of G+ (500+ members) or Law Firm Social Media (600+ members)?
- Posts with a Google+ community can receive ‘plus ones’ from other members and can also be re-shared to circles or other communities.
- Posts within a community are indexed by Google and will be found in organic search results. The posts can also gain and pass page rank.
- A really nice feature of Google+ posts to a community is that you can edit them at any time.
- You can use hashtags within a post content to tie posts to specific searches on the platform.
- By default everything you share with a community is also shared to your main public page but you can change this setting, to enable you to share something with a specific community that doesn’t appear on your profile page.
- With Google+ communities you can view posts in a specific community stream rather than your main stream. These posts are much more focused as you would expect, often I switch to a community stream rather than my main stream to focus on say the latest Google+ news posts.
- In Google+ communities there is also the ability to create categories and allow posts to be allocated to these specific categories. These categories can then be displayed individually.
- Interaction within the community is the most valuable feature of Google+ communities. Through this interaction with other community members you can also improve your own personal ranking, especially if you interact with highly ranked individuals and they share your content.
- As with LinkedIn and other groups members can comment on posts. Also by using an individual’s plus name in the comment such as +steverayson that person can be notified of the mention.
- A feature that I like is that you can only share a post with one community and not post simultaneously to multiple communities. You also can’t share to a community and circles at the same time. I think this helps reduce multiple postings.
- With Google Ripples you can create an interactive graphic to see how a post is shared and re-shared across the network over time. You can also share the interactive graphic by copying the URL and sharing it in your stream.
- Google+ communities do suffer as do LinkedIn and other communities from link dumping and spam. However, with Google+ you can report spam with a single click and also block a user so you no longer see their posts in your stream. Thus managing spam and blocking content from users is an easier task.
How to use Google+ Communities to benefit your business
Now you know how individuals use Google+ Communities, so what’s the mean for business owners, internet marketers and those of similar industries? It means Google has just given you access to a social goldmine. Here are some Google+ Community tips that you can use to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO), increase website traffic, grow your online connections, talk to your customers and ultimately generate quality leads:
Create a community
If you don’t know how to create a Google+ Community, click here
Once you’re familiar with how to create a Google+ Community, here are a few tips to make your Google+ Community a success:
Pick a community name that includes relevant keywords
For example, you’re an online retailer that sells women’s clothing, you’ll want to include keywords that your customers will be using such as ‘clothing’, ‘shopping’, fashion, etc.
Choose a goal
Do you want the group to be a place for your potential customers to go to talk about your products, or do you want to capture a larger market and make the G+ community about fashion?
Share posts privately to the Community
Make sure to share posts to your private Community, not the Public. Public posts won’t be visible in the Community; only posts shared to the Community will be visible to the Community. (If a user accidentally posts to “Public” instead of the Community, the post may be visible on the user’s profile page, but not in the Community.)
Put your featured link in the right place
Choose one of the “Attach:” options if you want to feature linked content in a post. Featured content will display at the bottom of the post.
See the image below:
Classify content with Categories
Categories provide a way to classify posts. For example, the Chromebooks Community has a category for each major manufacturer of Chromebooks (e.g., Samsung, Acer, etc.), as well as functional categories, such as “Breaking News”, “Tips and Tutorials”, “Rumor Discussion”.
As a group owner, create Categories by choosing the sprocket icon for your Community, then choose “Edit Community”. Choose “Add category…”, then edit your categories.
Simplify search with hashtags
Google+ supports the use of hashtags. At Google I/O 2013, Googlers announced that Google+ will automatically attempt to generate hashtags for posts, based on the post content. For example, a post about the San Francisco Giants’ catcher might be dynamically tagged #BusterPosey. Users can still add hashtags within posts. For tech users, tags of #storage #hardware #drives might be relevant in a post about solid state drive storage costs.
Engage: +1, Comment, and Reply
Make sure your Community members know the basics, which are that:
- a +1 “votes up” a post, comment or reply,
- a Comment to a post displays below the original post, and
- a Reply inserts the name of the person to which you are replying at the beginning of a response.
Hangout with your Community
Once you’ve mastered the basics above, try a live Hangout with your private Google+ Community. Go to your Community’s main page, then click Hangout to start a live video meeting over the web that anyone in the Community can join. A Community Hangout can be a fast way for a team to work through critical issues in real time.
Here are 5 5 Tips for Managing Your Community on Google+ – brought to you by MOZ
Check your notifications & respond
You probably want to slap me in the face right now, right? I mean come on, OF COURSE you check your notifications… but do you respond? Every single morning when I log into Google+ the very first thing I do is check notifications. I start with the oldest and work my way forward and I respond to as many of them as possible.
Don’t miss this opportunity to let people know you’re out there and that you care about what they’re saying. Here are a few examples you can take advantage of:
- Someone shares your post. Take the opportunity to thank them!
- Someone shares a post with you. They probably did it for a reason, look at the post and respond if it makes sense.
- Someone mentions you in the comments. Read the post and jump into the comments as well. (Sometimes people freak out when you actually respond, that always makes my day.)
- Someone adds you to a circle. Take this time to go through your new adds and add people them to circles if it makes sense. (When the next notification you get is someone excited that you’ve added them to a circle, you’ll enjoy that smile it puts on your face.)
But don’t end your interactions with notifications, as these only show up when someone specifically adds the +brand in a post. What about those mentions that weren’t direct?
Search for your brand/name/keywords & respond
The next step in making sure you’re interacting with the community is to see what people are saying about you. Running a search will show you people, pages, posts, hangouts, etc. But I usually filter to only show me Google+ posts so I can see what people are talking about.
Bingo! I ran a simple search for “seo tools” and the very first post to come up is a big ol’ Open Site Explorer logo as part of a post called 31 Essential SEO Tools and Resources and they were nice enough to mention us. This is a great example of when you can reach out and thank someone for sharing a post.
Another example is to simply search for your brand name. If you watched my recent webinar or follow me on Twitter, you likely know that I have a small obsession with cupcakes (ok it’s a big obsession… moving right along). Let’s use a local cupcake shop as an example.
Sadly, they don’t have a Google+ page but lots of people are talking about them here. This is such an awesome opportunity to reach out to your community.
What is your community saying about you that you didn’t even realize was happening?
Check the Ripples for your latest content
When Ripples first came out, Casey Henry wrote a great post about using Ripples to connect with influencers. This still holds true today, but the even better part is that Google has added some upgrades to Ripples since then. Now you see all the shares for the specific page you shared, not just the individual share’s Ripples.
So let’s say you see that you have 26 Google+ shares but you only have three shares from your own post, you simply check the Ripples on your post and voila, you can see them all. Additionally, you can add any URL to check and see the Ripples.
These are influencers and stats from three different posts, as you can see, that Rand Fishkin guy is fairly influential. 🙂 I may want to reach out to him more!
But seriously, this is a really great way to see who’s sharing your content (or your competitor’s content!) and gives you easy access to reach out to them and make content. You can use this information for link building, for community management, for brand management, so. much. win.
Mention other brands and people directly
Just as you’re looking for posts mentioning your brand, other companies are doing the same thing. So if you want to be noticed, you need to do it as well. The same goes for people, be sure to link directly to blog authors, community members, speakers at events, etc. When someone gets a personal notification that they’ve been mentioned, how much do you want to bet that they’ll reshare the post, or comment or +1 it or take some sort of action? I’d bet a lot! We recently linked to all of our speakers for MozCon and many of the direct shares, comments and +1’s came from the speakers themselves.
It’s nice to see your name “in lights” and the more you link out, the more they link in. Google+ makes this so easy to do since you don’t have to be in circles with people or brands in order to link to them (unlike Facebook). You can do this when you post or even when you comment on someone else’s post. So what are you waiting for?
5. Start a chat or Hangout
One thing that I love about Google+ is that interacting with other people is quick and easy since they make it so simple to link directly to someone (see above). In turn, this makes it a great place to start a chat or something along those lines. I love what SEER has been doing with their page, they’ve been having Q&A sessions on Google+ and their team jumps in and answers questions.
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This post was written by David Moceri