Today's post by Jesse Wojdylo is part of the #MakeTheSwitch campaign. Find out more at maketheswitch.me and submit articles at http://goo.gl/41VZU
Google Plus communities were released on December 6th, 2012 and many in the social media industry recognized this could be a game changer for +Google. Prior to the release of +Google+ communities there was no way to determine who saw each individual post. If a user had multiple interests their following had to endure all those interests even if they were not relevant.
Here is an example. I absolutely love college football and college basketball, but many of my followers just want my knowledge on social media. During a college football Saturday I wanted nothing more than to use Google+ for live updates almost Twitter style but even better. Prior to communities I was reluctant to do this because I did not want to alienate my users. I am quite confident I would have lost many users as they would have been inundated with all my college football posts when they really did not want to see it. I think we have all seen users that are just too noisy and the uncircle button is quite easy to click.
How to Pick the Best Communities
Communities changed everything and I said as much in this Google Plus post. Having the ability to direct outgoing posts is essential in social media. All that said, many users continue to ask me, "How do I get the most out of Google Plus communities?" Although this might not seem like that something that should be hard, it can be. There are tens of thousands of communities out there and many of them overlap. There are probably 150 SEO related communities already. So, how do you pick the best communities that suit your interest?
Research All Communities in a Specific Niche
Google has almost perfected Google search so it stands to reason they would be pretty good at creating a social media search tool for their social network. Instead of joining the first "readers" community it is suggested that users do a little bit of, in depth, research. While you may love to read there is probably a specific genre that you prefer. Instead of the "readers" community maybe a "fiction readers" community might better serve your needs. Think long tail. The more in depth search terms you use the better. Most will find that communities that hit on a specific niche tend to provide a better experience.
Size Does Not Matter
When it comes to social media audiences most people think size matters. +Ashton Kutcher paid for a billboard advertisement (oh, how times have changed) to get to 1 million followers on Twitter first. While perception is sometimes reality that is simply not the case on Google Plus. I am a member of communities with over 10,000 users and I am a member of communities with five members. In all reality, the five member private communities provide more value to me. Quality always trumps quality and this holds true in Google Plus communities.
Engage, Engage, Engage
As with anything on Google Plus, you get what you put into it. If you are willing to put forth the effort and engage with new users you will thoroughly enjoy Google Plus. There are some communities that were created and have been sitting vacant for months but users will be able to determine that quickly. Check the timestamps on the latest posts before joining a community. Also read over a few of the latest posts. If this is stuff that really gets your juices flowing this is a community you will likely enjoy.
Do Not Spam
Once a member of the community feel free to post your own opinion but do not spam. Whenever a user decides to post anything in a Google Plus community they must ask themselves if it will enhance the experience of other community members. Simply posting a link to a personal website is a quick way to get banned from a community. I tell my community members all the time that there is nothing wrong with posting to a personal website but tell community members why they will enjoy the content. The best way to do this is to write a two or three paragraph summary about said article in the Google Plus Community post.
It Never Hurts to Try
Over the last two months I have seen engagement levels on Google Plus skyrocket. I think of this has a lot to do with Google Plus communities. Individuals are more than happy to open up and discuss specific areas of interest. If you have any questions or concerns about Google Plus communities please feel free to contact me (+Jesse Wojdylo) at my Google Plus profile. There are right ways and wrong ways to engage on the Google Plus social network but you will never know until you try. The Make the Switch Page will lay out all you need to know to enjoy Google Plus to its fullest.