G+ Communities

Google +.

Hands up, who’s using it?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

When I’m teaching my social media classes, I always dedicate some time to Google +. Why not? I’m an avid user of Google’s products–I use Gmail every day, I use chat, I create surveys and spreadsheets and documents to share (oh my!). I use Google Reader. I search for images. Google is as integrated into my life as my iPhone.

But G+? Yeah, not so much.

Google did an amazing job of launching their latest social network. I’m guessing the learned from the failure of past Google launches (anyone remember Buzz? or Wave??), and they did a really smart marketing ploy when launching G+: they created scarcity.

G+’s new “Communities” feature.

Remember the old days, when you had to be invited to Gmail in order to get an account? It wasn’t because there was a limited amount of Gmail accounts. It was simply a marketing ploy. And the smarty-pants at Google used exactly the same ploy to launch G+. And it worked. The day G+ launched, the Twitter was abuzz with nerds begging for invites. G+ became the fastest growing social network in history, taking just 16 days to reach 10 Million users, a mark that took Twitter and Facebook around 3 years to reach.

And then??? Insert “wah-wah-wah” sound here.

Why didn’t G+ really take off? Yeah, lots of people are on it, but I hardly know anyone that’s really using it on a regular basis. Are we saturated with social media? My day is spent on Facebook and Twitter and email, do I have room for one more? Or is it the audience? G+ is mostly populated by nerds and early adopters, the average user (read: Facebook user) is just not here. This is not really the place for talking about what you had for lunch, or posting photos of your kid. The kinds of things you’ll primarily see here are articles about tech and social media.

This week, G+ announced Communities, the latest add-on to their platform. Like Facebook or LinkedIn groups, Communities are groups of users who are tied together by a  common theme. So far, I’ve joined communities for food, wine and social media in the arts.

Communities can be closed (meaning invitation only, or need to be accepted by a moderator) or open.

I use Groups primarily on Facebook as a way to communicate with a specific group of people, so I primarily use closed groups. This mostly takes the form of creating a closed group for classes that I’m teaching. I also belong to tons of groups on LinkedIn, but they all feel very spammy and self-serving to me. The Communities on G+ feel more like real people sharing, and less sell-serving (BUY MY EBOOK!!) than the LinkedIn ones, so perhaps Communities could be a way for G+ to experience a bit of a revival.

Or maybe not. Only time will tell.

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Oh–and if you want to learn more about Google and how I use it for business, sign up for my Art of the Business Newsletter. It comes out around the 15th of every month, and I share a social media tip with y’all. This month’s newsletter is dedicated to talking about Google’s tools and how to use them for your business.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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