Promoting Web Content with Google+ Communities

In this post we’re going to examine Google+ Communities and how we can leverage them to get our online content in front of the right people (shit, any people would be nice, right?). Let’s go!

What the eff is a Community in Google+?

Google+ Communities are Google’s┬áversion of a group or forum, built to bring people together around particular topics. As a Google+ user, you are able to join Google+ Communities and share content of interest with the members of that community. You don’t have to earn followers in order to have the content you share be visible to the members of the community. Let me re-phase that in a way that makes it sound as freakin’ awesome as it is:

By simply joining a Google+ Community, you get to put your content in front of a group of people who want it. You don’t have to earn followers, or re-tweets, or friends, or any of that mess!

How to Search, Join, and Participate in G+ Communities

Words are hard; let’s use pictures:

1. Log-in

Login to G+

2. Click Communities

Click Communities

3. Search, Create, and See Recommended:

Search, Create, Recommended

Those three images sum up how to begin using G+ Communities. Now let’s dive into more detail.

Finding Relevant Communities

Hypothetical: I own a small yoga studio in Denver. I have been publishing great content on my blog. I have blog posts on everything from the latest yoga positions (I’m not sure whether they’re still coming up with new yoga positions, but you get it), to tips for yoga friendly food (I’m trying), and I even have videos of some of my personal favorite yoga workouts. But, alas, no one has discovered my BAD ASS content.

Here’s what you do:

1. Search “Yoga”:

Yoga Search

2. Say to yourself:

“Holy yoga pants! Look at all of the tens of thousands of people who want the precise content that I am creating! I am gonna join the yoga pants outta these communities.”

Identifying and Connecting with Influencers

Ok, you’ve now joined some communities full of people who are interested in your content. Now, it’s time to find the specific community members who are going to spread the good word that is your content. Here’s how you do it:

1. Find Posts with High Levels of Engagement

Start browsing one of the communities you just joined and look for posts that have generated lots of activity, like this one:

High Engagement Post

*Tip: as you do this, take a mental note of what kind of content produces the most engagement. This can help guide your own content creation and sharing strategy.

2. Check Out Who Is Sharing

To see the specific users who have engaged with the post, and how they engaged with it (reshare, comment, +1, etc.), click as shown in this image:
Click to see users and how they engage

Then you will see this:
Users who engaged

3. Visit the profile pages of the engaged users, and see if they are worth connecting with

To visit the profiles of these users, simply click on their names. Then have a look at how many circles they are in and what kind of engagement they are able to generate on their own posts. If those numbers are impressive for a given user, then that user is someone you want promoting your content!

As an example, I clicked on “Vee H” from the image above, who +1’d and reshared the post. 1,540 people have Vee in circles and her latest post has 6 +1’s and 6 comments:

Vee H - Influencer

Clearly, this is someone you should connect and make friends with; she is interested in Yoga, actively engages with content, and has a large number of engaged followers.

4. Add influencers to a custom circle, designed for engagement

Now that you have ID’d your influencers, it’s time to circle them, adding them to a new circle designed to contain only influencers in the yoga space. To do this, simply hover over the “Add to Circles” from their profile page, and click “Create New Circle”:

Create new circle

Call the circle something like “Yoga Influencers” (don’t worry, they can’t see what the names of your circles are). Once you have added the top yoga influencers to this circle, you now have a stream of content being shared by the people who you want to take notice of your content.

5. Interact with these people and their content; make friends!

This is the critical step of the process, as you’ll get precisely nowhere if you can’t show these people that you are worth interacting because you produce great content that is aligned with their interests, and that you are willing to share and interact with the content that they are posting.

Thanks to Emmett Smith as I stole everything from that last section from his post on Google+ Engagement and SEO.