Facebook has profiles, pages and groups. Google+ has profiles and pages. Wait, something is missing at Google+! Or, I should say it was missing.
Over the last couple years, we have watched while Google+ systematically built Facebook-like features into its social media site, and to Google’s credit other excellent features as well. Well now, Google+ has added one more Facebook-like feature.
Google+ Communities are now here, and they look awfully similar to Facebook groups. Of course, there are some differences.
What Are Google+ Communities?
Google+ Communities are basically discussion forums surrounding a topic. According to Google:
With Google + Communities there’s now a gathering place for your passions, including:
- Public or private membership to support all kinds of groups — from topics and interests to local neighborhoods to regular poker nights
- Discussion categories to find the conversations you care about most
- The option to start hangouts and plan events with community members
- The ability to share with your community from any +1 button across the web
Examples Of Google+ Communities
Although they are new, Google+ Communities are sprouting up fast. Here are some examples of new Communities.
Here, we see an example of the Liverpool FC Fans Community. They already have about 700 members!
Creating A Google+ Community
Anyone now has the ability to create a Google+ community. To do so, follow these simple steps.
Login and visit the community page.
Click to create a community. You will then have the option of making it private or public.
Give your community a name. As you can see, I named this community the SEO community.
Now just fill it out!
- Write a tagline
- Pick a photo
- Complete your About section (community guidelines are helpful)
- Add a few discussion categories
Invite people to your community!
At this point, the community will be created. You can check out and join the new the Google+ community I made on SEO here.
Just a quick note on editing your profile. There is an easy-to-use drop down on the left-hand side which allows you to invite people, share the community, edit the community and manage the community if you are an admin.
If you are a member of the community, you can do all of these same things in this area except edit and manage the community.
A small side note: like LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups, you can set the community so that users need to be approved to join or so that anyone can join.
Insight On SEO & Social Media Marketing
It does appear that that content posted to these communities is public by default. This means that shares which take place on the community pages may have some search engine optimization implications. By getting a share on a community page, this will most-likely result in quicker indexing and possibly higher ranking for that piece of content, similarly to the way Google+ Pages influence SEO.
The Google+ demographic is incredibly tech-savvy. Many users on Google+ have their own blogs and websites. This makes these communities all the more valuable.
By sharing your relevant URLs in these communities, you can not only gain the inherent benefits of being listed on the page, you can also get more exposure for your URL, thus increasing the chances that one of these tech-savvy community members will link to your page from their own site.
From a social media perspective, it will be interesting to see how these groups distinguish themselves from other social media groups. Google+ Communities are now competing with Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Hashtags (a little different, I know, but still discussions on a subject), Quora, etc.
With the Google+ Communities being so new, all we can do at this point is speculate that content and discussion embraced by the tech-savvy demographic will perform well.
Watch A Video on Google+ Communities
You can find a community to join or create your own here.
What do you think of the new Google+ communities? Will you use them?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.