Google Plus has been growing steadily since its start, though critics of the new network on the block have expressed concern that although Google Plus has many users, they are not typically as active as they are on other networks. Because of this, it has been more difficult to create and sustain social interactions on Google Plus with the same success rate as on Facebook and Twitter. Like other social networks, Google Plus offers the opportunity to create a business page, but given the difficulty in earning interactions, how can Google Plus benefit a business? There are many different answers to this question, including a new Google Plus feature, Communities. But first, a little background on why Google Plus is important.
You might be wondering what the difference is between Google Plus Circles and Communities. There is a commonality between the two, but the main difference is how the discussions are structured. In discussion circles, users impose the discussion topic on different Circles based on who the want reading the information. You may receive messaging from a user who has placed you in a specific circle, but most of the time, you may not even know that you are part of a group. Users join Google Communities based on their interests and participate in discussion topics of their choice, which allows Google Plus users to be connected through common hobbies and interests.
Users can create public Communities, start discussion threads and make comments on a group page. Or users can create private groups just for approved or invited members.
Depending on the Community setting, posts can be completely private, private but searchable, public with moderator approval requirements, and completely public. Spam posts are also addressed in Communities. If a member of the Community feels that content is suspicious, the post can be flagged and removed by the Community’s owner or moderator.
Since the feature was introduced, many topic-specific groups have popped up in nearly every subject you might be interested in. These range from general discussions on home décor or crafting to users who want professional advice about pest control problems. There are even a number of industry communities where professionals can connect with others in their line of work to share ideas and news.
Here’s where things get interesting. Unlike Facebook Groups, business pages are allowed to join both public and private Google Plus Communities and participate in conversations. Posts on your Google Plus business page can be easily shared with Communities of your choice with the click of a button.
Having a business presence in industry-related Communities allows you to share helpful news and information with other members. Interactions in Communities are funneled into users’ news streams, so your messaging can reach active Google Plus users more often. This can help increase the visibility of businesses on Google Plus by increasing their potential audience.
Community members also tend to be active Google Plus users. This means there is more chance for active discussion, and posts have a higher rate of interaction than those that are only posted on a company’s business profile. Monitoring Communities for users with questions where you can offer useful information can also create good opportunities for discussion. This will increase your company’s visibility while helping you make connections with potential customers.
At Fruition, we have been implementing Google Plus Community involvement for our clients. We’ve seen an increase in the number of people following our clients’ Google Plus business pages. Posts shared with Communities have had many more organic interactions from Community members than typical posts shared on the clients’ Google Plus page.
Google Plus Communities can also be a useful source of content ideas and industry information. Companies who diligently monitor their groups can find useful information, news and hot topics in their industries that can be repurposed for other social media accounts, or as starting points for website and blog content.
If you have questions about integrating Google Plus and Google Plus Communities into your social strategy, contact Fruition’s social media team.
Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition. He uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings. Jeff continues to focus on understanding the technical aspects of SEO factors that affect website rankings in the major search engines. He has recently found a passion in local marketing and helping business carry out effective digital marketing strategies, taking a lead role in developing Fruition’s local SEO services.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association