As the resident Google+ Fanatic at Web Talent Marketing, I wanted to share another great possibility for marketers to take advantage of there:

Communities!Google+ Communities

I will share, and show, why these handy groupings are potentially one of the most valuable resources a marketer has right now.

1. Professional Engagement = Opportunities to Get Noticed

mike blumenthal in Google SERPI’ve made this argument before, but the fact that Google+’s engagement is still stacked in favor of professionals is a HUGE opportunity to get noticed. In a typical Forum or MessageBoard, you’re competing with the voices of sometimes tens of thousands of individuals of varying skill levels – playing the percentage game that someone with enough knowledge about your particular issue will take a look. However, Google+ Communities are fresh ground – and the influencers typically hit that ground first. To give you an example – I was able to join a Search community on Tuesday, place a question regarding Local Search in the General area – and had responses from +Mike Blumenthal – an extremely well known Local Search God and Speaker – and +Joel Hedley – a Google Local Search employee – within 24 hours. I’ve used the forums – and I’ve NEVER gotten engagement like this. It was like getting advice on business from Warren Buffet, seriously. The Community had 1,850 members. And I had just signed up that day and didn’t know anyone.

2. Community Posts – Like all Google+ Activities – Influence Authorship

Make a post on Google+ – It goes to your wall. It influences your social engagement. It potentially gets you added to more Google Circles. Each post can be +1’ed AND show up independently in search results. In a nutshell – it makes you more socially engaged on a system Google uses to potentially enhance search engine results. That alone is something the other social networks cannot give you.

3. Google Hashtags and +’s Allow You to Specifically Address People

We’ve all used a forum thread or post where an expert or some other authority is mentioned – but with Google+, you can actually call out specific experts within a post. Now, I admit, this can be pretty annoying and potentially invasive, but it also provides an opportunity to unite a conversation with specific individuals and to request their input. It makes it much easier to notify an expert for their particular viewpoint via the social network then with an old-school email. In the conversation I mentioned in number one, the experts were called in by the forum’s admin by using a +name. I didn’t know them like the moderator does – but with a simple +Name – they were brought to my question in a matter of hours.

4.Responses and Engagement appear right on your Google+ Newsfeed

Forums? Ain't Nobody Got Time for THATThis doesn’t seem like much – but for me, it’s a huge time saver. I use Google+ as my primary newsfeed: I organize circles based on the type of news I’m looking for and isolate accordingly. When I engage with my news, I’m also greeted by the most recent posts from the communities I’m a part of. Then, I can decide to answer questions or simply read them and move on. This is in contrast to traditional forums where you have to engage each post individually via login, email or RSS. Communities are non-invasive and easy, and that spells efficiency for me. Is your feed getting overrun with Community updates? Use internal Google controls to fine tune what you see – GENIUS!

5. The Recommended Communities Feature

Recommended Communities
Whoa Barry Schwartz AND Cyrus Shepard are in SEO Hangout Panel? Sign me UP!

I don’t know if I can really state how cool this is. As a marketing professional, you are always on the lookout for places to hear from industry leaders OR to find influencers in your niche. Recommended Communities takes a look at your interests, as well as the individuals in your circles, and recommends Communities to you. No more waiting around to see if a top professional you’re aware of actually uses the services you do – throw them in a circle and check out recommended communities to see where they are. Not as easy to pull off in a forum and so much more efficient. I have to point out too – anyone can build a community – so, looking where the thought leaders are helps weed out potential duds as well.



Thanks for reading everyone – and feel free to +Matt Riggleman with feedback or questions!