Google Plus Communities is a recent addition to the social network, it is in some ways similar to Facebook and LinkedIn groups. However, it is different in the way it has been laid out and is definitely easier to navigate.
Brands on Google+ can create communities, this is unlike Facebook where groups can only be created using the personal profile of the admin, which can severely limit the branded presence in groups. “Administrators have to use personal Facebook profiles when posting to the Group; they cannot comment or post as the brand itself.”
But more importantly, communities has value for marketers. Below is a list of benefits of Google+ Communities.
Ten Benefits of Google+ Communities for Marketers
1. Creating a community allows brands to identify consumers who have a specific shared interest.
2. Identifying popular topics and using it for SEO. Brands can create content around topics important to community, which could improve SEO.
Community members can post to a specific topic. If a topic has more posts it could be inferred that topic is more popular.
Note: Google+ does not show the number of entries for each topic, so at this moment it seems this may require more manual sifting. However, I cannot imagine there won’t be some analytics tool that would be able to help with that going forward, or Google may itself roll out this feature.
3. Gaining more followers. Communities don’t require a user to also follow the brand’s Google+ page, however by joining a community a user maybe more likely to also follow the brand’s Google+ page.
The more the Google+ followers a page has the more likely the brand will be able to capitalize on SEO. This is because when a brand publishes the content on its page the more followers it reaches the greater the chances of the content being shared and discovered by other consumers. Read more
4. Making the brand more social. Communities allow an easy and accessible platform for like-minded consumers to connect with each other.
For the Gen Y consumers, community and relationships are of great importance. A brand that facilitates that kinship is more likely to develop loyal customers in the long term.
5. Allowing consumers a chance to be highlighted. Communities offer the ability for consumers to share content with other members.
Posts by community members can be selectively shared on the brand’s page, making the connection between the brand and the consumer more intimate.
6. Gathering resource. Content shared by both the brand and the community members make the community a go to place for expert information.
It helps cement the brand’s position as an expert in the category. It makes the brand more reliable and trustworthy.
7. Discovering new content. Brands can find unique content that community members publish.
Communities offer crowd-sourced ideas that brands can leverage.
8. Using communities to get feedback on new product ideas.
Unlike a page where fresh content replaces older content fairly quickly, communities allow for topics that consumers can visit anytime and interact with the respective posts. (Hat tip to +Jerry Daykin)
9. Identifying the most active community members. These consumers who post regularly and respond to other community members are brand advocates and potential influencers.
10. Seeing new or changing trends within the community. As members gravitate to a specific topic or a new one, brands can have a better understanding and insight.
Share your experiences
These are some of my first impressions on the benefits of Google Plus Communities for marketers. What do you think? Where are the opportunities for brands with Google Plus Communities?
The original article “TEN BENEFITS OF GOOGLE PLUS COMMUNITIES FOR MARKETERS” by Krithika Rosenthal was published on Krithika Rosenthal’s Blog