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How to use Google+ Communities

Written by Aaron Charlie – Fri 07 Dec 2012


We recently wrote an article outlining the pros and cons of the new Communities feature on Google+.

The uptake seems to have been staggering but the roll-out hasn't been without its issues. The site seems to be struggling with the amount of activity - so far we've had crashes and glitches galore, but hopefully that won't be a long-lasting issue.

community

As we've been creating our own Community pages today, we've been learning ourselves how and what to do with them.

Make sure you know your G+ from your LinkedIn by trying our Social Media Courses.

So to help you avoid some of the mistakes we made (believe me, there have been quite a few!) we decided to put together an FAQs post about how to use Communities. We hope this proves helpful but if you do have any other questions, feel free to comment, Tweet or even get in contact on g+ itself and we'll do our best to give you some answers.

So we'll assume you've done the basics and clicked the button to set up a Community, and we'll assume you've chosen 'public' (private is not worth the hassle)- what next?

How Should I Choose the Name and Tagline?

As with any Social Media page or post, a good name is essential in order to stand out. There are however some important things to consider when choosing which are:

  • Location - Do you want it to be a geographically specific group or do you want it to appeal to anyone? If you want to keep it local then have the town or city or country in the name.
  • Competitors - What other Communities are there out there on the same or similar topic? If you didn't get there first then don't bother choosing the same name as another Community - you'll always be playing catch-up. If you have to, take their name and add, subtract or rearrange words.
  • Optimisation- As well as the people you invite, you'll probably want to have people be able to find your Community easily in searches. As such, don't choose a name that's totally irrelevant to your topic and make sure your tagline neatly sums up the intention of the Community. If it's about Porsche cars, have the word cars in the name and tagline! Might sound basic, but it's something that can easily be overlooked if you're too focused on the specifics (in this case Porsche). More people will search for cars than for Porsche, so do both and grab the 'Car' searchers and the 'Porsche' searchers in one go.

categoriesShould I Use Categories?

Yes! It's definitely worth using the discussion categories on the left bar to separate out topics for posts. It could be as simple as splitting up posts from yourself and posts from others or a complex as individual sections for each type of post (video, image etc) but using these categories just makes the whole user experience (for yourself and others) much easier.

What Content Should I be Posting?

Your best stuff! You want your Community to be a symbol of you (or your company). What other people post in the Community is their business (within reason) but your contributions should be top-notch. Think along the lines of how-to guides, funny videos, inspirational pictures - things that people will want to share and that will continue to bring people into your Community.

And don't forget to engage and curate. Just throwing your own content out will be viewed as spammy, just as it is in any other network, so share other people's things and comment.

Can I Have Multiple Admins?

You can indeed, although to create multiple 'owners', you must first promote the person to 'moderator'. To do this, click on the member tab just underneath the profile pic. A page of the Community members will appear. Choose who you want as a moderator and click on the small drop down arrow to the right of them - you can then choose from various options, one of which is promote to moderator. Do the same again to promote them to Owner.

It's always worth having multiple admins if you can, for contingency purposes.

Can I do all of this on the Move?

Not yet I'm afraid. Google hasn't rolled out Communities for any mobile devices yet, so don't go rushing off to make one your iPad or iPhone. They have said a mobile version will appear 'very soon' but as yet no date has been set.

G plus ipad

Final Thought

Communities is big news for g+ers - it kind of feels like the missing piece of the puzzle on the site.

Hopefully this has given you a basic outline to follow when making your Community, but get in contact if you think we're missing anything. Oh and don't forget to join our SEO and Content Marketing Masters Community for some great tips, content and insight.

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