Google+’s latest move: communities

Google+ has become the marmite of the social media world, but having achieved over 100 million active users already, the relatively junior social network shouldn’t be ignored.

Google+ has become the marmite of the social media world, but having achieved over 100 million active users already, the relatively junior social network shouldn't be ignored.

Google announced the new communities option at the start of the month, mirroring the groups function on rival networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Functions include public or private membership, the ability to categorize discussions, group-only hangouts and events invitations.

Will this be of any benefit to brands? Communities are an excellent way to expand on brand interests and campaigns. The category function allows users to browse with ease and Google+'s wall based interface looks incredibly tidy and sharable, much like Pinterest.

A great example would be Cadbury's 'The Cadbury Kitchen' community, which encourages users to share and discover recipes using Cadbury chocolate. This really works as the community taps into a specific interest zone which relates back to their brand, helping to maximise engagement. With the addition of categories, users are encouraged to come back and use the community as a source for recipes, unlike Facebook and LinkedIn groups were comments can easily get lost in the stream.

Before creating a group, you should be aware that your choice of private or public will be permanent, so be careful what you choose. We would also recommend, as with all social outreach activities, planning a solid strategy before rushing in. Also, as with all social media, one size does not fit all. Although Google+ communities is new, it may not be the best option for your brand.

If you're unsure whether you should be creating a Google+ community or need help getting the most out of your Google+ activity, get in touch!