In my last post I talked about how much fun I've started to have with Google+ ever since I started my own Google+ community. Yes, I said it's FUN! Social media has always been intended to be a place for the lighter side of life, and Google+ is no exception.
As Google+ started, however, it wasn't exactly user friendly. So many people wrote it off as being so "clunky" it wasn't worth their time. With the rise of Communities, things have changed, and the extent to which it's growing suggests that to overlook Google+ is a very short sighted mistake!
But I know that just telling you how great it is to have a Google+ community might not be enough. So I wanted to give you a step by step guide to creating a Google+ community and inviting people to join.
Why Build a Google+ Community?
There are a number of reasons to be part of a Google+ community such as the opportunity to network in your niche, staying up to date on developments in your field, and boosting your search engine optimization for your website.
And if you build a Google+ Community, you gain additional benefits! One of the strongest reasons for building your own Google+ community is that by leading a Community, rather than just being a member, you gain a level of credibility as a thought leader in your particular niche or business.
Not bad, right?
How to Build a Google+ Community
The mechanics of building a Google+ community aren't particularly difficult.
#1 – Log in to Google+.
#2 – Click on Communities in the left hand menu; it's toward the bottom.
#3 – Click the large red "Create A Community" button toward the top of the page.
#4 – The next screen will ask you if you want to create a private community or a public one. A public one can be seen and joined by anyone on Google+; a private one can only be joined by people who are invited. In most cases, if you're creating a Community to display thought leadership in your niche, you'll likely want to create an open community.
#5 – Once you click "Public," you'll be asked to name your Community and decide if people need Moderator approval to join or if anyone can join.
#6 – After choosing how new members will join and be approved, your Community will be created. Then you'll have the option to create a profile for your community.
Creating a profile for your community is especially important if you are using it not only to network but to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Of course you want people to be able to find your community, to know it's about something important to them, and to clearly understand why it's worth their time to join.
But it's also important from a personal branding standpoint to complete your profile as well. Consider having a graphic made that matches the remainder of your branding on your social media platforms. This gives you the appearance of being a professional, as well as helps your audience know it's the real you that they've seen on other platforms. If you're establishing yourself as a leader, your photo or graphic on your Google+ Community needs to communicate that loud and clear!
Once you've set up your profile, you can invite people to your community. You are limited to inviting people you are already connected with via your Circles. This is one reason it's important to actively work to connect with more people in your circles as well.
After you've invited people, you'll be taken to your Community's page, where you can begin posting updates. It's important to post an introductory message or two, even if no one else is there yet. An empty page doesn't encourage people to accept your invitation, so be sure you're posting messages regularly during this time.
It's also important to set a schedule for posting and engaging in your Community. Just like your other platforms, inactivity doesn't exactly make you look like a leader! So if you're starting your own Community, it's critical to be sure you're involved!
Have you started a Google+ Community? Leave a link to it in the comments below! Otherwise, please feel free to join mine – the Social Media Cafe!