Communities on Google Plus are a great way to connect and share with people along specific interests. I could go on for a while about the different advantages of Communities. But, I thought I’d keep it simple and just offer a few quick tips you may have overlooked which can help you (and others) make the most of Google Plus Communities.
Turn On Notifications – Google Plus has a lot of great content to sift through. It can be challenging to remember to click over to your Communities to keep up with the conversation happening there. For Communities you really want to keep up with, click the bell on the left-hand side to enable notifications. This will appear as a notification in the red box on your Google account, and will also trigger an email to be sent to your Gmail address. You especially want to do this for Communities you own or moderate to keep abreast of the activity there. If the notifications are too intrusive for you, try adjusting the amount of that Community’s posts showing up in your main stream under Actions (similar to the slider for each of your circles).
Use the Search feature – Don’t let this feature go underutilized in your Communities. Google made it, so you know it works. You can search by topic/keywords, by member names, and anything else. When searching a Community member’s name you see not only their posts, but the posts they’ve interacted on – +1’s, comments, and shares. It’s a great way to find the content you are looking for quickly and participate in those conversations most important to you.
Moderate for a Community – An effective way to build your influence in a Community is to lend a hand and help to moderate it. If you haven’t started a Community, or if the one you have hasn’t taken off like you expected, see if there is an active Community along the same topic that you can contribute to. Remember, Communities are about engaging with other members, so you want to go where that is most possible. After being active on the Community for a length of time to build up your credibility on the topic, ask the the owner if she or he would like some help with moderation. Many owners could use the help, but aren’t sure who would be interested, or whether they would commit to it. So, they may not ask. You reaching out to them shows that you have a commitment to the Community and intend to remove spam, post your own content, and comment on posts from other members. Getting a bit of responsibility for the success of the Community will offer that push to contribute consistently and build the network further.
Bonus Tip – Okay, one more. This one is more focused on bringing people into the Communities you own/moderate and encourage activity there. Here it is: Offer a weekly roundup of the best content from that week as a post on your personal G+ page. You know your Community is great, and you want even more people to know it too. Well, show them what they are missing with a weekly update of the best conversations, collaborations, photos, Hangouts, and whatever else that shoutout those that are contributing. This brings in interest from people that already have you circled, but may not be active in your Community. The image below is what I am talking about. It’s from Gideon Rosenblatt, and he is promoting a Community I am a member of, but had not been very active on at the time. His posts about the Community appearing in my stream brought me up to date with what was going on, and made me want to engage with the interesting people there.