Friday, December 7, 2012, Google+ added communities as another feature of their social network. This has further solidified Google’s stance as a social network for like-minded people, as opposed to a network for friends and family, like Facebook. The functionality is solid and it creates the ability to segment posts out of the stream and into content-specific groups, as users begin to use communities instead of circles to post niche content.
Niche social media networks are on the rise and the addition of communities to Google Plus allows niche groups an easy way to set up a social network with others who share their interests. By joining and participating in Google+ Communities, small businesses can participate in discussions, provide relevant information and form relationships with other businesses and individuals focused on the same subjects.
Finding a Community
Google has made it very easy to find a community, as the Google+ search also includes communities and separates the search results by people/pages you are following and communities. If a community has already been created on your subject matter of choice, then it is easy to join and start interacting. You can create or participate in a discussion or post relevant links and media pertaining to the focus of the community. If a community has not been created for your subject of choice, you are welcome to create a community, if you are willing to participate and moderate.
Creating a Community
It is easy to create a Google+ community. Once you have clicked the Communities icon in the sidebar, click the Create Community button under your profile info in the top right. You will be asked whether you want to make your group public or private and what you want to name the community. You could create a private community if you want to have private discussions with people in your company, your friends or if you really want Google to have more of your private data, but for a business trying to engage in the community, a public group serves the purpose better.
You will then be asked to create a tagline, upload an image and write a description of the community. All of these are very important. If you want people to join your community, you should have a complete profile and create some posts.
Once you have created your community and created some content to start, send out invitations to your circles and get started. For a detailed description of Google+ communities, check out Google+ Community Pages (the basics) by Google+ guru, Martin Shervington.
NOTE: As of this writing, Google+ is having site issues with communities and other parts of Google Plus, which will probably be addressed by the time you read this post.