Did you hear the news about Google+? A few pieces of information came out last week, not to mention a new feature, and I think this is going to change the way many people feel about using Google+.
Now I know that there are a lot of people who think it's not their favorite service. It's still kind of clunky. It's different than the other services. And, since it wasn't the first social service, it doesn't have early adopter strategy.
And I'll be totally honest here – Google+ hasn't been my favorite social media platform either.
Surprised? I know I've shared information on how to better organize your connections on Google+ using circles (and I'll be revisiting that before too long because Communities is going to change that, I think). But in all honesty, until now, I've shared many people's reluctance to use Google+ because it felt like "one more thing," and not something that added a different kind of value in the way LinkedIn adds a more professional touch, Facebook a more personal view, Pinterest gives emphasis to pictures, etc.
In the last week, Google+ released statistics about its active user numbers that doesn't exactly support a view of it as a ghost town. The most surprising number was that there are around 135 million active users in the stream – which isn't that far behind Twitter's claim of over 140 million users who are active.
And with communities, Google+ has come up with a feature that has made their platform much more social friendly, in my opinion, and here's why.
Most people have been connecting with like-minded people on Google+ and arranging them into circles. They tried to keep people organized according to interest by using Circles, which worked – to a point. But it still wasn't a way of encouraging cross talk between people within a Circle. And cross talk is one of the key things that distinguishes a community – there's not just broadcasting from one user to others, but also discussion on topics and posts among the members of the group.
By creating Communities, Google+ has listened to user feedback and created the ability to create both public and private communities organized by topical themes for more interaction between members. Yes, like its competitor, Facebook with groups, but with native capability for things like You Tube and other Google products.
It's like Google+ finally put the social into their social media, and it's taking off.
So Google+ now has user-friendly places for people to interact, thematic "places" for people to gather and discuss similar topics, and indexing of public communities (this is Google, after all). So participating actively in Google+ communities will connect you to people in your niche who will boost your own knowledge of your niche and people who are likely to be interested in your services. And – then to top it off, it will increase the strength of your ranking on search engine result pages (SERP). What's not to like about that?
If you're using social media strategy to boost your presence online, do you see why you might want to take a fresh look at Google+?
Are you in any Google+ communities? Leave a link below – let's connect!