Still in their infancy, Google+ Communities are growing quickly. First available in early December 2012, they’re quickly becoming an asset to any service, product or idea provider.
Don’t get me wrong, they can be horribly spammy. I have participated in a few communities. One of my favorites is a Food Photography community that has helped me learn how to take better pictures with my DSLR in a very short amount of time. I blog a lot, and being able to take my own great photographs saves me time trying to look for open source or Creative Commons photos that can go
with my posts. The cornerstone of a good community is it’s moderators. Good moderators set up guidelines, police the spam and remove it, and encourage posts that follow the community needs – I guess much like the police in any community.
Good Google+ Communities generally have the following elements:
- Very good moderators, who remind every new member to follow the guidelines.
- They delete posts that do not match the topic – it is a photography community, not just for food bloggers to promote their work.
- They have very clearly posted guidelines for everyone to follow and do provide gentle reminders when people forget to post the right information with their photos.
- They have different sections where you can ask questions, request critique, provide resources and tutorials, recommend gear or software.
- They actively solicit members, and encourage frequent and good participants to keep coming back.
Do you offer a service, or an area of expertise that aligns closely with the demographic present on Google+?
- 63% Male
- 37% Female
- 26.9% make $30k to $59k
- 27.7% make $60k to $100k
- Country of Origin
- #1 USA 5.3 Million
- #2 India 2.8 Million
While some say that Google+ Activity is dropping off, I think there is a real opportunity in communities to make something happen, many brands are not even touching this social network – only 60% of top brands are even in there, so likely your competitors are not. Creating a community and being helpful and active can increase your reach and brand awareness.
Do I think this is a cash cow? No, but it certainly is an often-overlooked opportunity to engage with an audience that many are not taking advantage of.