Most marketing directors are faced with the difficult task of deciding where to spend their time, resources and branding efforts. It seems that for most companies Twitter, Facebook and even more recently Pinterest are getting most of the attention. Google + has been something of a force that has been forgotten but credibility from this platform is very much in plain sight.
Google + Communities are places where like-minded people find a network where they can discuss specific topics, industries or niches. For a company, having a credible presence within this network can result in trust, credibility, authority, website traffic and thought leadership.
The benefits of joining a relevant Google Community don’t come by simply finding those who share the same thoughts as you or your business. They come from the creation of good content and the interactions that establish your content as worthy of attention. Let’s take a look at how you can engage the people in these communities and benefit from the powers of reciprocity:
1. Develop the Forum Mindset
If you have ever responded to a forum post it is likely you have done so because you felt your response held some value to the community. In this same regard, Google Communities can be looked at as more effective forums where valuable exchanges are welcomed. An example of this would be a website that placed a focus on selling organic produce seeds looking to join Google Communities that covered topics such as compost piles, organic farming, or vegetarian cooking. Similarly, a company that placed an emphasis on social media software would join groups that covered topics like social media marketing for small to medium sized businesses.
2. Involvement with a Purpose
Too many companies will use social media in ways that (they think) are only beneficial to them. This can be evidenced by posts that are undescriptive, don’t provide solutions to problems, or are just self-promoting. Avoid being the guy who only has a presence to try to leech off the community. Instead, show your authority by providing useful information that helps solve community member’s problems or offers solutions to common issues. Directly commenting on the posts of others with active engagement will build trust in your brand and also gives your content more reason to be followed. Once your trust is built, the likelihood of your shared links and content being followed will increase.
3. Build your Own Community
Seeing a need for a community to discuss topics that are related to your industry can be a great way to increase brand recognition. You can start by:
- Creating a community around your niche and creating a brand page that serves this community.
- Getting involved with people from other similar communities as well as people in your other social media networks.
- Encouraging other industry leaders to contribute so that your community is not just a sounding board from your company alone.
- Engaging the users and democratizing communications to get the flow of conversations started.
Once you have started to engage in a Google Community it is important to remain consistent with your sending and receiving of information. You may want to consider developing a content calendar to keep yourself involved. Keep the focus on helping others in the community and you will soon realize how being a great resource will turn into leads.
For help managing or creating a Google + Community contact us today.
Thanks for reading,