By: Shaena Whitney
Google Plus communities can be a great asset to your business or cause if you learn how to optimize them correctly.
The beauty of a Google Plus community is in the network; the people on Google Plus are more likely to be engaged in an open conversation because of the set up of the social platform. The community pages are created by people and for people with the same interests, whether that’s apps, literature, health, politics, a type of phone, etc.
When creating a community, you should have an idea of what you want it to be about and stick with it. The most successful communities are successful because they focus one topic. For example, if you are a company that has a phone app, you should post things from that app into the community.
What should you have ready before you build your community?
Content. The most important part of having a successful Google Plus Business Page is engagement and without content your engagement will be lacking and you will not have anything to post in your community when it’s ready. The second most important part of your community will be links to your other social platforms.
A couple of days ago I launched a community for the company Sweigh, Inc. Sweigh is a social media platform that lets you ask questions and weigh in on what matters for you; it’s the app for people that want to be heard.
The steps to creating a community:
1. Login to your business page.
2. In the upper left hand corner there is a drop down box that looks like this:
3. Hover your curser over the Google+ Page and select “communities.”
4. There should be a blue box on the right hand side that says “Create Community.” Click the blue box.
5. A pop up box will appear asking you if you want to create a public or a private community.
This option is up to you, but if you’re a company that is looking to expand on the world’s knowledge of you then I suggest publishing your Google Plus community as “Public”.
6. After choosing “Public,” you will be asked what you want the name of your community to be and you will be asked if you want people to have to ask to join or if they can join freely.
The name of your community should be a reflection of your brand or the actual name of your brand. If you choose to have people request to join your community, less people will be willing to join your community.
7. Click the “create community” button.
8. Congratulations! You have now successfully created a community! Now for the fun part, we get to tell the world of Google what you’re all about.
9. On the left side of your browser you should be looking at a prompt that looks like this, just not all of the way filled out:
10. After you’ve done “B” and “C” you can move onto “All Posts.”
You do not have to do this, but I suggest that you do; it’s more fun for the person in your community to choose a topic to post about and it’s an easy way to keep your community organized.
*Some categories to consider would be “question,” “thoughts,” and “memes.” By no means do you have to use these, but everyone wants to know something, has something to say and has thought that a meme (a picture with text on it) was interesting before. Remember, you want to keep the members of your community engaged and people are going to be more likely to engage when they feel like they are talking to a real person and that that real person appreciates them.
11. The next part for you to fill out will be the “About this community.”
Remember, this is a direct reflection of your company or your cause, so you want it to be true to that and you want to stay focused on one topic.
12. Step 12 is “Links.” This is where your other social media platforms come in, but first we want to focus on your website. After clicking “Add link” this is what you should be seeing:
13. After you’ve put in your company website, continue adding links to your different social networks, one by one. It should look something like this when you’re done:
14. After your links you will see “Location” entering your location is suggested.
15. On the top right corner you will see a “Save” button. Click that button and see what you’ve just created. You’re almost done!
16. How does it look? If you want to make any changes, you can at any time by clicking the settings button and then clicking “edit community.”
17. In the middle of the screen you should see a caption box that says “Share what’s new.”
Before we have you invite your circles, you should start posting the content from your Google Plus Business Page in here so that people will want to come back to the community.
18. If you feel like your community is ready then go back to the settings button (step 16) and click “Invite people.”
In the “Add a comment” box you should say something short, yet intriguing that will leave people questioning what your community is all about. At the bottom is where you can invite people.
19. Click on the circles that you would like to invite or “Your circles” to invite all of your circles, then click send.
20. Congratulations, your community is all set up and ready to go! Just remember to respond to people, keep inviting people, plus one posts, thank them for joining your community and keep posting!