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GoogleApps_Jan02_CCommunity is important. As humans we rely on it to support us and many of us strive to contribute to it. When it comes to the Internet, community has gone online in the form of social media, forums and the suchlike. This is a great way for companies to connect with their customers and show their more ‘human’ side. For users of Google+, there’s a new community oriented feature that has just been launched.

Google+’s new Communities feature is similar to Facebook Groups, in that users can create a public or private ‘community’ around a specific topic or idea.

The whole idea of Communities is to provide a way for users to connect with one-another based on their common interests, or meet new people who have similar interests. From there, they can share information, ideas, etc.

There are some great features of Communities that businesses with Google+ accounts can take advantage of, including being able to:

  • Create public and private communities – The ability to create and moderate communities is a good idea. You can create a private group for you and your employees which becomes an ideal place to share information and events. You can also create a public community through which you can connect with customers and other users in a less obviously commercial way.
  • Create a group around your brand – If you use tools such as Google Places, Maps or Gmail, Communities is a good way for you to extend your presence on Google and reach users who aren’t fans of other social media services.
  • Set your own guidelines – You have control over your community through the use of guidelines. You can set whether the community you create can be found through Google Search, who is invited and even the moderators.
  • Hold hangouts with community members – This is a neat feature because it gives you a free way to hold video chats/conferencing with members. There are so many different ways you can use this feature. It could be the next big way to improve your brand.
  • Share your community from any +1 button on the Web – When you click on any +1 button (Google’s version of Facebook’s Like) you can select to share it with the community. Members will be able to see this and share it.
  • Create community-centric events – This allows you to take the community into the real world, here you can host events and meet with followers.

While Google+ is less popular than Facebook, Twitter, etc. Google is pushing it, and the number of users is starting to rise. If you have a presence on Google+ it could be a good idea to look into Communities and how it can help your company. Interested? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Published on 2nd January 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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