I mentioned in Google Plus Strategies, Benefits, Drawbacks, How-to Tips and Videos that up until last week I had not discovered an effective way to use G+ because of the way Google fractures the discussions.
That has all changed with the emergence of large communities because now you can have powerful discussions, easily meet subject matter experts, and - provided the group moderators don't mind - get visibility for what you share there.
Google Plus Community Basics:
For reasons known only to Google, you won't see communities when you're in Google Plus unless you point at or click "more" to see the Communities Icon.
Communities have "folders" or "discussion topics" so when you click into a community be sure to check for those so you get active in the right place. This is important. They are listed just to the right of the left hand navigation under All Posts.
Most communities I've seen have a "Introductions" or "Member Introductions" post type, but almost everyone misses that and posts in the main section.
IMPORTANT: Choose the most relevant category BEFORE posting!
How to Find Google + Communities:
It is not immediately obvious how to find communities by niche or interest. Once you're on the G+ communities page, you have to scroll down below the communities you've been invited to join, that people you have circled belong to, and those suggested by Google to get to the search box located immediately to the right of Discover Communities.
Type in whatever you want to find and click the little magnifying glass icon to start your search. Then choose the communities that most interest you. You can also leave the ones that you decide aren't benefiting you so you can focus on the ones that are.
Best Google Plus Communities:
The very best community I've discovered so far is Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed and Small Business with 8,215 members as I type this and growing fast. I strongly encourage anyone interested in entrepreneurship or small business to get active in that G+ community.
There are currently too many G+ communities for many topics. Here are some examples of communities our readers are most likely to be searching for and the specific communities recommended by social media influencers:
Social Media G+ Communities:
- G+ Social Media Communities ~ Social Media Strategy has the most members and activities
- NEW: Strategic Social Networking
- Wade Harmon started this G+ Social Media Community
- G+ Social Media with Kim Garst
- Pinterest for Business
SEO G+ Communities:
- G+ SEO communities ~ There is no clear leader at this point. We need an SEO to point out which SEO communities are best for different levels of expertise.
- Eren McKay recommended this SEO Pros Best Practices G+ Community
- Eren also recommends SEO Questions G+ Community
Blogging G+ Communities:
- G+ Blogging Communities - Pro blogger Kristi Hines owns the largest G+ Blogging Tips community so that is the one I will focus on.
- Google Authorship and Author Rank Community
Google Plus Communities Not recommended (and why):
- Small Business community - opposed to using existing content to answer questions. Recommend joining Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed and Small Business instead.
It will be difficult to keep track of which communities are which with so many carrying the same "name". For example, there are many communities simply called "Small Business".
I am saving in this section communities that are opposed to sharing links to answers that already exist. It is ridiculous to expect someone to rewrite the same answer over and over and over because they are anti-links.
I have to wonder why there were exactly 20 communities of each type above shown on these searches. Does anyone know how Google decides which 20 communities to show the person who is searching or whether there could be a limit of 20 communities per topic?
Eventually some of these will fall by the wayside and clear leaders will emerge. In the meantime, looking at who is in each community and determining whether they are sharing advanced strategies or teaching beginners can assist you in choosing which to get active in.
Google Plus Communities How-to Videos
For those who prefer to learn from videos, here is the first of three you can watch to see how to use the new G+ communities.
This Google Plus Daily post is a good primer on How to Get the Most Out of Google Plus Communities and HotBlogTips offers this useful Google Plus Communities Q and A. See also:
- How to Be a Great Google+ Community Member
- 12 Google Plus Communities for Marketers
- Tips for Choosing a Google+ Community to Join
- How to schedule Google+ Posts
- How to Increase Your Followers on Google+
- Important Social Networks
Finally there is a way to spend time on G+ that won't be wasted! Now would be an excellent time to select key communities and get active. Doing so should increase the number of +1s you receive on content you share in them.
Remember that some community moderators may welcome sharing links and others may consider them "self-promotional". Time will tell which are the best fit for you.
I invite you to join me in Google Plus Communities.
Do you have communities you recommend?
Leave a description plus a link in the comments.