lots-of-dots-two

The Business Guide to Participating in Google+ Communities

Google+ Communities are the newest addition to social media groups. While LinkedIn groups are best known for professional networking, Google+ communities have one major advantage for business over both LinkedIn and Facebook.

In this post, we’re going to look at how businesses can use Google+ to build visibility.

The Key Advantage of Google+ Communities

When you participate in groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, you have have to do so using your personal profile. You then have to hope that someone will click through to your profile to potentially see the link to your LinkedIn company page or Facebook page.

In Google+ Communities, you have the advantage of being able to participate using your Google+ business page. Whether it is just you or several employees who manage your page, you can post new discussions and comment on other discussions using your page. Now, when people see the valuable answers you provide, they can click directly through to learn more about your business.

This means that instead of seeing John Smith engaging on behalf of your company, you will see Company Inc. building brand visibility. One thing to remember is because you are engaging using your company name, you need to make sure that you (and your page managers) are engaging with professionalism in mind at all times.

How to Avoid the Moderation Filters

In the above example, you can see how some businesses use communities to share their own links to products and content. While it may be OK in some communities, it’s generally not in others. You should note that Google+ has the strongest moderation filter of all of the social media groups, meaning that if you share a link, you may get put in the moderation queue. Your discussion will only be published if the community owner or moderator approves it to go live.

So how do you avoid the moderation filter Simple: don’t post links. If you do want to post links, you need to make sure the community owner or moderator recognizes you as an active member of the community. After you’ve engaged for a while in the community, you can try your luck at posting links so long as they are absolutely relevant to the main community theme and the topic at hand. Then be sure to come by to see if the link is approved. If it isn’t, you may want to steer away from link posting.

Benefits of Creating Your Own Google+ Community

The other thing you can do is actually create your own Google+ community for your business. The best way to attract a large audience for your community is to focus it on something people are interested in. So instead of naming your community ABC Fashion Store, name it New York Fashion Lovers instead. Your goal is to create a community that drives potential customers with a particular interest (and even location).

As the community owner, not only will you have the control over which links get posted and which stay moderated, but you can also put a link to your main business website and other priority items in the About information for the community. This will always be displayed to community members and visitors when they visit the community.

As an added bonus, you can also list your community on your business page. Then, people who visit your page can connect with your page as well as join in the discussion!

Measuring the Results

The best part about using Google+ communities is that you will grow your Google+ audience and engagement for your business. To see how your Google+ activity affects your overall marketing strategy, you can plug in your Google+ account into SumAll by creating a free trial account.

As an added bonus, you can even add your competitor’s Google+ pages to SumAll to monitor their growth. If you see a particular spike in engagement for competitors, that is a good reason to check out their latest activity to see if it is something you can fine tune for your audience.

Get Started with SumAll

SumAll lets you see all of your data in one place, with over 40 services supported. 100% free. /End shameless plug.

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter and .

Leave a Comment

  • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

    I am loving G+ and the communities are great although they don’t drive much traffic to my site. Like anything, it takes consistency and time.

    • Mark

      Very true, Tiana, as with any social platform. Appreciate your insight.

    • https://gplus.to/stephanhov Stephan Hovnanian

      perhaps the best use of communities is to build relationships with people such that they add you to their circles, and see your public posts (which contain the links).

      • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

        Of course Stephen, but most people like pretty pictures and don’t click through. Like I mentioned…it takes time like anything else. Like losing weight, there is no magic potion.

    • 4u2discuss

      Tiana Kai : The purpose of using a G+ community varies from person to person and business to business. The real aim here is not to drive traffic, but to engage with specific narrow target market groups that have a common cause or objective, and build brand awareness that will initiate a detailed search for your product, service or organisational objectives.

      Your G+ business page should be doing the marketing and pushing of your general company or organisational objectives, and a community should have a very narrow focus.

      If you are a club or an association then this is where your would engage with your members and promote events and get togethers for your members.

      For a business a community is a lot different than a club or association, but once again a community would be used to achieve some social objective and get people focused on a specific event or a single product, where members of the community would be attendees at the event or product owners.

      Operating a community should not be taken on lightly, or without just cause, else you will run out of steam and loose focus of why you are here. Operating a community needs a full time moderator, and if you are a big brand you should have some body on duty 24 / 7 as *the Internet never sleeps*

      • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

        Who said anything about sleeping? ;-)

  • Leila Ripich

    You mention that it’s best to use you Google+ business page

    • 4u2discuss

      Leila Ripich : thanx for a great comment and good pointers. From a community owners perspective things are very different, as you want your customers to know that their affairs are being looked after by somebody who has an interest in solving the problem, or providing them with extra information.

      That is why Google have given community moderators the green sign next to their names, and if your business page is the moderator then things are looking up from a customers perspective, because he / she now knows that somebody from the company is taking up his / her issue.

      If the reply is from a person, how will the customer associate this with the company?

      sure if you actually know that person works fat the company then it is different.

      Comments from your personal account help add numbers to a community, especially when the community is small, or when there are many people involved in the management of a page.

  • http://www.sm4hc.com/ Scott Scowcroft

    It’s good seeing the intelligent discussion here about the use of Google Communities for business marketing. Finally, G+ seems to be breaking into the mainstream. Will this be the year of the flood? Who knows? But Tiana Kai is spot-on right by saying: “it takes time like anything else. Like losing weight, there is no magic potion.”

  • Elite Man and Van

    i dont see any improvement using google communities. what am i doing wrong?
    http://www.elitemanandvan.co.uk

  • http://hstrial-CogginsTechnical.homestead.com Jennifer Coggins

    Thanks for this tip… It’s great to be able to reach our audience on GP with our Biz and not have traffic direction through our personal FB Account just to get to our Biz Account. Like the option but not sure if my audience ready to move to GP.
    Kind Regards Simply Jennifer <3 JD Edwards Practice Consultant.

  • Raymond Delworth

    Great article Kristi. Thank you for you insight.

  • Desmond Clark

    I got lost at the beginning of this tip because it mentions that, on Facebook and LinkedIn, people have to find you through personal pages. Can you expand on that? In short, I’m not sure that is accurate.

    Facebook, LinkedIn & Google+ have implemented profile requirements that prohibit non-personal accounts to their services and they all have separate services for businesses.

    • Kay Aleksic

      She is talking about groups. If you participate in groups on fb or LinkedIn you do so as YOU not as your business page.
      Other participants in the group don’t see your business unless you have it properly linked on your profile and they go to your personal profile.
      I would guess that in a reasonable time both fb and LinkedIn will change and let pages join groups.

  • http://www.jimnewberry.com Jim Newberry

    Could you please elaborate on how to post to a community from my G+ business page? I recently posted a photo to a Google + community and the post showed from my G+ personal page.

    • http://umall.com jacobsumall

      Jim, When posting, make sure you’re signed in as your business page. In the top right corner, click on your “avatar” and you should see a drop-down with your page and your business. Is this what you meant?