Joining Google+ Communities to Build Your Circles & Brand

mikepoynton
Mike Poynton Owner/CEO, Paradise Social

Posted on January 25th 2013

Joining Google+ Communities to Build Your Circles & Brand

Google Plus CommunitiesI was an early adopter of Google+ and continue to be a believer, even though many pundits are still on the fence or have written it off altogether. Insofar as social media channels go, Google+ may never be the new "Facebook" - and that's just fine with me. I've stopped comparing the two and pitting them against one another. They are similar, but different. On a personal level, I use Facebook as a way to connect with old friends while I use Google+ as a channel for connecting with new ones. With respect to brands, well... I thought they were on par. That is, until Google+ rolled out Google+ Communities.

But first... For the uninitiated, Google+ circles can be very confusing. Users can create as many or as few circles as they want, and then add as many people or brands to them based on the circle topic they choose. It's the "as many" part that can overwhelm them. Sometimes, there is less freedom in too much choice. It took me awhile to consolidate the 10+ circles I started out with into about 4 or 5 that I actually use. As with all new tools, there's a learning process involved with how to use them and Google+ was no exception for me. And just when I got the hang of it, Google+ Business was rolled out and the process started over again.

People & PagesNewcomers to Google+ will laugh at the People and Pages suggestions they will encounter when they first create their profile on Google+ - unless they're social media geeks like me. In my case, the suggestions had little to do with my personal interests and only by happenstance fit in with my professional interests. So building circles from scratch can be somewhat of an intimidating and daunting task if none of your friends or peers are on Google+. Searching on hash tags is a good way to drill down and find people/businesses to add to your circles, but even they can lead to more generic choices than what you are searching for.

Google+ CommunitiesEnter Google+ Communities. Whether you are a hobbyist or a hotel, Google+ Communities are a great way to build your personal circles and your business brand via public and private communities where people, brands or both gather to share information and talk about common interests.

Anyone can start a community and invite people to join. Communities can be public or private and need at least one moderator. Categories can be created for filtering post topics also. For instance, outside of my work in social media, I'm a scuba diving fanatic. A Scuba Diving Community might have categories for 'general discussion', 'underwater photos', 'underwater videos', 'dive spots', 'dive travel', 'industry news', etc., allowing you to filter through the posts within the community, thus targeting more specific information relevant to your subinterest.

Google+ Communities are searchable also, so it's easy to find the communities that best suit your interest(s). And you can even invite community members to Google+ hangouts, or participate in them, to further enhance your reach or your knowledge. What's more, once you are a community member, you can add other members to you circles and they can add you, or add you back. In this manner, your circles sort of build themselves instead of you having to build them yourself.

Verified Author625,000 people join Google+ every day. Google +1's become more and more relevant every day in Google Search. Add to that authorship verification and how Google Search weighs verified authorship against non-verified authorship in search results and you really can't deny that having a Google+ personal and/or business page counts for both you and your brand.

New to Google+? Join a Google+ Community. Listen and be listened to!

mikepoynton

Mike Poynton

Owner/CEO, Paradise Social

Architect, dad, gardener, PR & social media guy who likes snakes, fruit trees, kids, dogs, photography, motorcycles, beaches, food & beer. Based in Costa Rica.

See Full Profile >

Comments

ChrisSyme
Posted on January 25th 2013 at 6:50PM

Good piece, Mike. I was an early adopter of Google+ but didn't wait out the initial period, left, and now have come back after I closed down my business Facebook page. I'm a B2B consultant so Facebook had little value for me. I'm getting involved in Communities and am really liking it. Although, I've found, as you have I'm sure, that some communities are better than others. They're like LinkedIn discussion boards somewhat, and I am active in some of those as well. I also think that the integration with many other Google platforms (Hangouts, YouTube, search) is a +.

mikepoynton
Posted on January 25th 2013 at 8:15PM

Hi, Chris! Thanks! Comparing B2B and B2C markeitng is kind of like what I stated about Facebook and G+ - they're the same, but different. That's a broad statement, but I think you know what I mean ;-). Though I, personally, would not have written off my Facebook biz page ('cause you never know what may happen in the future), I kind of understand why you did.

Personally, I find the B2B content on G+ much more rich and diverse. It's a different group of 'users' with a different mindset. G+ scored a perfect 100 in my view, with their rollout of G+ Communities across the board, no matter what your business, interest or hobby is. There are a lot of B2B folks out there like you who are wondering where their audience is on Facebook. G+ communities make it's easier to find that audience, no matter how big or small. Sure, you have to filter through some noise. But once you find the right community(ies), you can make it/them grow and grow with it/them.

You may be on the bleeding edge of a B2B trend here, Chris. I think you are!

Thanks for commenting! Have a great weekend. What do you do for fun? I'm hitting the beach in an hour with my wife and daughter.

Circle me, +Mike Poynton on G+ for more personal stuff, or +Paradise Social for the strictly business stuff. Look forward to adding you to my circles. ¡Pura vida!

ChrisSyme
Posted on January 26th 2013 at 1:01AM

When we're not working, we golf and travel to see our kids. 

mikepoynton
Posted on January 26th 2013 at 2:52PM

Sounds nice. Hope it's someplace warm!!

SubhashK
Posted on January 26th 2013 at 10:23AM

Hi Mike, Don't you feel that Google+ is very unfriendly to general internet user?

mikepoynton
Posted on January 26th 2013 at 2:52PM

Hi, Subhash: That's a tricky question. I think if you were to put Facebook and Google+ side by side with a user who has never seen or used the two, Google+ would win out. It's cleaner, clearer, easier to navigate and more intuitive. My 5 year old prefers Google+. She likes the icons!!!

But if you introduce someone who's been using Facebook to Google+, they will be confused. There's a lot less clutter and it's kind of like looking into the abyss.

Let me ask you a question: What internet browser do you use? If you're like me, I switched from MSIE, to Firefox to Chrome. Why? It's faster, cleaner and there's no clutter. Once a user gets past the "abyss" factor, they pretty much embrace the new look and feel and generally don't want to go back to the clutter.

What do YOU think?