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Google+ Communities

The New Google+ Communities – A Guide for Participants and Moderators

In case you haven’t heard, Google+ has released their answer to Facebook and LinkedIn Groups in the form of Google+ Communities.

In just 24 hours, communities went from zero to thousands of members and within a week, some groups are now up to 21,000+ members. In today’s post, we’re going to look at how to use Google+ Communities, from participation to moderation.

Google+ Communities

Participating in Google+ Communities

Participation in Google+ Communities is actually pretty easy (assuming you already have a Google+ personal profile, of course). Simply go to Google+ Communities and search for communities that fit your interest. Assuming it is an open community, you can click on the community and click the Join Community button. If it is one that moderates membership, you will have the option to click the Ask to Join button instead and wait for approval.

Once you’re a member, you can post to the community using the same status update box that you are used to. The only difference is that you can select topics within the community to post to.

google plus communities participation

When you post to a community, the post will generally show up on your profile as well. Posts from public communities will show up as public on your profile – posts from private communities will only show up if another member of the community is viewing your profile.

google plus community posts on profile

As a member of a community, you will also have access to an Actions menu and On / Off toggle for notifications.

google plus communities actions notifications

Use these areas to keep your emails from communities down as well as share the community on your Google+ profile or leave the community if you feel it is not right for you.

As far as communities go, here are just a few examples of ones you are likely to find.

  • Blogging – A community dedicated to general blogging discussions, tips, WordPress, and more.
  • Guest Blogging – A community to connect guest bloggers and blog owners.
  • Freelance Writers – A community dedicated to those who are paid to write online and off.
  • Community Moderators – A community dedicated to those moderating communities looking for tips.
  • Social Media Hub – A community dedicated to social media marketing.
  • Southwest Landscape Photography – A community dedicated to photographers who want to share their latest photos from the Southwest.
  • Space – A community dedicated to outer space and exploration.

Essentially, there should be a group for just about anything you’re interested in. If not, you can always create one!

Moderating a Google+ Community

If you don’t see the community you want on Google+ or feel you could do a better job with one that is already out there, you can always create your own by going to Google+ Communties and clicking on the Create a Community button.

Your first decision will be to make the community public or private.

google plus community setup public private

This cannot be changed. Public communities are obviously open to more spam, and private communities are likely to have less members. Plus if you are using the community to promote yourself, you probably want people to be able to view the posts regardless of whether they are a member are not. These are some things to consider when choosing the privacy option.

When you select Public, you’ll get the option to name your community and select whether people need permission to join.

google plus public community setup

When you select Private, you’ll get the option to hide the group from search, leaving it up to you to promote it.

google plus private communities

From there, you will need to add the following to your community. The more details you add (especially for public communities), the more likely you will have new members who want to participate.

google plus community setup

  • Tagline – A short sentence about what the community is about. This also shows up in search results.
  • Photo – An image that best represents your community. This also shows up in search results.
  • Categories – Keep discussions organized by creating categories applicable to your community theme.
  • About – This is the main description of your community. You can use it to let members know what the goal / focus of the community is. You can also use this to lay out some ground rules like no adult content or spamming.
  • Location – If your group is about a specific location, you can add that beneath the about information or leave it blank.

Once you’ve finished the basic setup, you will then be prompted to invite people to your community.

google plus community invite

You can only invite people personally – if you want to share your community with your circles or the public, you will need to use the Share Community option under Actions.

google plus community actions

The Actions menu for moderators includes the option Edit Community to change details, add categories, etc. You can also use Manage Members to promote individual members to moderators as well as see members you have invited or banned.

Last, but not least, Google+ created an automatic spam filter system within groups. This means that as a moderator, you’ll likely come across posts in your community with this above it.

google plus community spam filters

Until you Make Visible, these posts will only be seen by moderators. You can also choose to Remove the post if it is spam. Their spam filter is like Akismet – it gets the spam, but it gets a lot of legit posts as well. If you notice spam get through or you see the same person repeatedly spamming your community, you can use the dropdown next to their post to either remove the post or remove / ban the user.

google plus communities remove

This is especially helpful to keep your community as spam-free as possible.

Have you used or created a Google+ Community? What has been your experience so far? Please share in the comments!

Kristi Hines is freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Be sure to check out her eBook on effective blog post promotion strategies.

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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Damon
    Twitter:
    December 31, 2012, 4:33 pm

    Hey Kristi,
    I am quickly adopting G+ as my preferred network. It seems so much more intuitive to use for networking purposes. They really stepped it up with communities. It is a great way to add or create a group for professionals that you are interested in networking with. It gives you an instant and targeted audience to interact with to share ideas. So you don’t have to wait for these people to be on the ball and add you into a circle. They can see what you are about in the community, and then decide you might be a good person to add to one of their circles. It is great.
    Damon recently posted..Does Credit Counseling Hurt Your CreditMy Profile

  • Steve Noriega
    Twitter:
    December 20, 2012, 11:28 am

    Very well explained Kristi. I have been meaning to look into the communities more, so your article just served as a reminder/motivational factor. Thank you!
    Steve Noriega recently posted..A Unique Marketing Strategy: Can You Give Something Away and Still make Money?My Profile

  • babanature December 17, 2012, 10:45 am

    I very nice post i must say. but i created a community that since have not been active. is there any strong way to make it active as per members?
    babanature recently posted..3 POSSIBLE WAYS OF GETTING A GOOD AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC TO YOUR BLOGMy Profile

  • Shannon Ryan
    Twitter:
    December 16, 2012, 11:41 am

    Looks like Google is going full press with Google Plus. We’re looking to create a group for our home improvement site, obviously thinking of Facebook……now we need to see if there is opportunity on Google. Thanks for the post, going to search out a few communities now. Cheers

  • Rahul December 15, 2012, 8:54 am

    now days google + on way so it is very helpful for google communities and participate in them thanks for sharing hiii kristi i love your all post all are awesome

  • Terence Chang
    Twitter:
    December 14, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Kristi:

    I knew you were up to something when you become quiet in the community. :)

    Great information here! I just hoping G+ will soon allow to change the community type. So I can make my community wide open.

    Great job putting all this information together!

  • Adam Dukes
    Twitter:
    December 14, 2012, 11:45 am

    Thanks for the detail post on Google Communities. I just started one the other day as I see the hangout (video) feature could separate them from Facebook/Twitter.
    Adam Dukes recently posted..3 Tips for Successful StorytellingMy Profile

  • Hassaan Khan
    Twitter:
    December 14, 2012, 8:10 am

    Kristi, Nice thoughts on G+ Communities. I found out about G+ Communities few days back. Its really useful and good option and it makes G+ network more powerful and competitive against twitter and facebook.

  • Nishadha
    Twitter:
    December 14, 2012, 12:24 am

    Thanks for this detailed guide. Will definitely check out Google+ communities. Specially interested in the guest blogging community.
    Nishadha recently posted..Mind Map Examples To Visualize and Organize Your IdeasMy Profile

  • Rajkumar Jonnala December 13, 2012, 11:11 pm

    hi,
    wonderful article Kristi, I already using google communities.
    Its better place to put you blog post and collect audience.
    thanks kristi… :)

  • Ileane
    Twitter:
    December 13, 2012, 5:17 pm

    Hi Kristi.
    I’m really please to see Google+ offering communities for us. I’m a moderator on a Podcasting community and I’ve already found some new podcasters that I look forward to chatting and networking with.

    Thanks for all of the instructions, this is really helpful.
    Ileane recently posted..My All Time Favorite Tip for Getting Blog TrafficMy Profile

  • Jacko
    Twitter:
    December 13, 2012, 4:59 pm

    Good article Kristi,

    I’ll have to agree with you I think the G+ communities feature could replace Google groups.

    I’m in the middle of a case study and I’m already noticing a difference ever since the communities feature went live. (Seemed like G+ had problems right after that, coincidence?)

    Is it just me or have you noticed an increase in circle adds?

    PS If you’re someone reading this and you don’t follow my Google groups point, you’ll just have to join the community. Yes, people talk there.
    Jacko recently posted..What I learned from Steve Scott – Q&A with the Six-Figure Affiliate BloggerMy Profile

    • Kristi Hines
      Twitter:
      December 13, 2012, 11:30 pm

      I think Google Groups are going to go away in the future, or at least become read-only. Google+ always has some glitches when new features are rolled out – the biggest complaint so far has been that you can’t access them on the mobile apps just yet.

      Between me moderating a blogging community and my husband moderating a photo community, we’ve both seen a big jump in new followers. It’s definitely a good way to establish yourself as an authority on a subject.
      Kristi Hines recently posted..How to Beat Facebook EdgeRank and Never Miss Your Favorite UpdatesMy Profile

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