As more businesses aggressively jump into the action at the populous social networks, for whatever reason, one area remains fairly untouched by marketers — groups and communities. Nearly every business owner that manages a Facebook Page or Twitter profile will tell you that they’d like to get more interaction and attention via social, yet they neglect the fact that the activity and interaction they’re looking for is already going on. Why try and create a crowd when you can walk right up to one?
Groups are great for networking, prospecting and getting known in a given niche, but when using Google+ Communities, there are other benefits to take advantage of.
1. Part of the Google Ecosystem
Google+ Communities are already part of the Google ecosystem,which in and of itself is a reason to get involved in G+ Communities. Communities are becoming a foundational piece to the Google+ social experience. Users are able to launch a Hangouts session directly from Communities and you’ll find new contacts to add to your circles, and others will add you to their circles.
Because of Google+ vast reach, yet limited activity, it’s an excellent opportunity to position your name and brand in G+ as an authority in your niche. Communities offer a quick and decisive way to not only share your expertise, but to also mingle with other influencers, prospects, customers and clients.
2. Get Indexed Fast
By posting in Communities that are public, your content will get indexed and can show up quickly in Google search. The more you post, the better your chances are to score a spot on the first page of search, as Google+ content is favored by Google, if for no other reason than that Google knows exactly what content is on Google+ and doesn’t have to seek and find it when it’s new.
3. Promote Events
Whether a virtual or real life, offline event, Google+ makes it easy to post and promote events from pretty much anywhere in Google+. It’s especially powerful in Communities, since the function is made as simple as posting a status update, but the event can target a specific group of people by virtue of what Communities are targeted. You can actually trigger an event alert to go from both within a Community, or add the Community to an event you create for wider distribution by adding it along with your other circles.
4. Share With Communities from Anywhere
Like I just touched upon with events, anything that you post on Google+ can actually go to your Community by adding it along with the target audiences. Typically, we think of our circles or public as target audiences, but Communities can be added as well, which makes staying active in Communities easier and can be done without explicitly visiting the Community area.
5. Get Feedback and ideas for Content
Even the best of content marketers get stuck and wonder what they should write about. Communities are a great place to think of new blog post and other content ideas. Pick up and riff off of what’s already been said, or curate the existing content by organizing and guiding readers through the best of it. Either way, it can take a significant burden off of content marketers and bloggers.