Google+ Communities Storm Into the Social Media Scene

December 21st, 2012 by Search Influence Alumni

Google Plus communities, the newest section of the social networking site (often referred to as G+ for short) are meant to bring people of similar interests, work experience, or hobbies into one place. These communities can be created by anyone with a G+ account, opening up a whole new vista of networking and sharing potential for users.

The communities are designed for users to have a forum to share similar ideas, thoughts and beliefs and promote discussions amongst peers. The pages themselves can be made open to the public, restricted to certain users or undiscoverable by anyone not personally invited. They are also controlled by a moderator. Community types vary: users have the ability to create general communities such as “People Who Love Food” to more specific versions like “Vegans Rule.” They can also be industry- or location-specific, like “Lawyers’ Association” or “Lawyers of Southeast Louisiana.”

According to Social Media Today, there are several beneficial aspects to a G+ community:

  • No Edgerank: updates reach 100% of users
    • Companies don’t have to pay to promote posts in G+ stream
  • The content posted in the communities can be picked up by search engines
    • Facebook does not have public search engine and the content posted is not searchable
  • Google provides authorship to G+ users
  • Businesses engaging on Google+ may potentially rank higher

Sounds enticing. But don’t be so quick to dump your Facebook social media campaign yet. G+ Communities could be very beneficial to a company that wants to reach 100% of their followers without having to pay to do so. But, how many followers do companies actually have on G+ compared to Facebook, and if they are on G+, how many are actively using it? Google+ has 500 million users and only 235 million active users compared to Facebook’s 900 million, but how much time do they have to spend to be considered active? According to a study by comScore, the average G+ user only spends 3 minutes a month on the social network compared to the average Facebook user, who spends around 7 hours a month.

Facebook is still the king of social media and remains the place users spend the most of their Internet leisure time — but it’s not a bad idea for companies to expand their social media strategies to G+ and create a community for consumers to interact with their brand. While it’s disappointing to see Google, the innovation giant, reinventing the wheel, there are a few advantages to Google Plus communities that make them worth your attention. Let’s just hope that the social network’s next move will be something that we haven’t seen before.