How To Start A Google+ Community
Google+ Communities are free to create and free to join. They allow you to collaborate with others on topics you are passionate about and furthermore it is a great opportunity to network and engage with others.
If you have decided to create a Google+ community, you will be pleased that you can easily create a Community page in less than just a few minutes. Once it is established, that is where the effort will be required to plan and drip feed useful content to it to get the community going.
Before starting your first Google+ Community, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is the aim of your community? The answer to this is needed to for the 'About' section of your community setup.
- If you have a personal profile and a business profile, which profile is going to own the community?
- Who will moderate the community? Or will there be more than one person responsible?
- What rules are you going to have in place? What content is allowed? Will it be an open community or member only?
- What topics and categories are you going to focus on?
- Do you have an image ready?
What Is Google Plus?
Log into Google+ and Create A Community
Log into Google+. Before you create your community page, you need to have decided who is to own this community. If your business is going to manage it, make sure to switch the Google+ account to the company page.
Tip: To switch accounts, select Pages from the left hand drop down menu and your business pages will display. Simply select 'Switch To This Page'.
Once you are acting as the page you want to have operate the community, select 'Communitie's from the left hand drop down menu and when it opens, click onto the blue Create Community button.
Google Plus Tip
Tip: Don’t worry if you’re unsure of a good name, you can always change it later in Settings.
Choose a public or private community
The first option you are asked to decide is whether you want your community to be Public or Private.
- Your community will be open to the world
- It is visible to everyone
- Can be locked requiring permission to join
- Only invited members can join the community and see what's shared
- Can be visible via a search but content is locked down
- Can be hidden from a search and therefore no one will find it unless they are invited or provided with the direct link
Note: If you choose to start a private group, you can’t change it later to a public group. Private groups stay private.
After selecting the type of community you want, you need to add a name and also choose the permission settings.
Add your community tagline and photo
Similar to Google+ pages, you have the option to add a tagline which can be up to 140 characters and a unique photo for
your community. The photo needs to be at least 250x250 pixels.
Try to select an image that is eye catching.
You can even change your community name at this point also. Just remember that it cannot be longer than 50 characters.
Create some categories. Obviously these will change overtime however start your community with some general topic area. They could be specific to your industry, or basic 'get to know you' ones; similar to those seen in forums.
Ideas can include:
- Introduce Yourself and Your Business
- Seeking Advice
- Industry News and Updates
- Jobs On Offer
- Questions, Tips & Tricks
Write your About section
Whilst in this set up mode you are also asked to complete an About section. This is a summary to explain exactly what your community is all about. This text appears on the sidebar, so this could be a good spot to also list some simple rules for the community, a business contact email address, a website (URLs only, no hyperlinks), and your aims.
The sidebar will only hold 641 characters and then a view more link will appear so it is up to you whether you want all the content visible or not.
Google Plus Tip
Tip: The benefit of adding a full address is that a map appears that links to the Google Maps listing for the business.
If you have a street address for your business you can add it here. If you want to keep incognito, adding a main state or city is OK too. This is optional so leave blank if you prefer.
Google Plus Community
When you are ready, press done. Congratulations, your community page is now set up.
You will now need to add some engaging content in each of the categories that you created so that when someone clicks through categories, they’ll see some posts there. As people add responses and start to participate you will most likely want to be notified so you need to make sure your notifications are on.
Time to let the 'world' know about your community. You can always start by inviting your friends and connections in any circles that you are a part of. Make sure the community is relevant to them though.
If you are a member of any other social networking site, like Facebook or LinkedIn, make sure you share the URL of your community with them too.
The benefits of creating and managing Google+ communities are numerous. They are free to create also and you can delete them if you think it is not the right decision. You have nothing to lose.
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