Yesterday, while no one was looking, Google+ introduced Communities. Evidently, a bunch of people were looking because within minutes hundreds of new communities started appearing on the social network. As of this writing, some communities are approaching 10,000 members. Not bad for a 24-hour period.
Communities within the context of Google+ is a good idea. You can connect with people with similar interests as yours in a safe environment that is also searchable.
As I’ve said before, the power of Google+ lies in the fact that it is owned by Google. If you don’t have a Google+ account right now and you are trying to brand yourself online or engage in online marketing in any way, then you should get an account. Future SEO will be determined a great deal by what you do inside Google+. Communities is just one more aspect of that.
Communities allow you to start one or join one. The first thing you should do is search for communities by subject matter. Are there any existing communities about your topic? If so, join them.
Give them a little time to get going. Communities are still new on Google+, so don’t expect them all to be very active for at least 30-60 days. If you’re not satisfied with how things are going in the communities you’ve joined, then start your own. Here are a few tips for starting your own Google+ Community.
- Pick a branded name, if possible.
- If it isn’t feasible, choose a keyword for your name.
- Make your community open to the public. Test how Google controls spam in your open community before making it private. If possible, keep it open forever.
- Invite others to join your community immediately.
- Start conversations. Don’t wait for your members to do it.
- If you need help, promote a few die-hard fans to moderator and let them make decisions.
Remember, communities are for people. Get others involved and don’t be afraid to give up a little control.