This is what I can share about G+ Communities as of right now. They are still very new and things I am sure could be changing as I type. But, here are the questions that are most often being ask.
What Are Google Plus Communities?
Are They Just Circles Or Pages?
Communities are not like circles or pages. A G+ community is more like a forum. The “members” can be people you do not have circled and you do not see all of their post, you only see what they share IN that particular community.
A community is not like a Brand page because any member is allowed to start a post “thread“, whereas on a brand age, only the Page owner or moderator can post a beginning thread.
Communities are like forums since they can have categories or topic sections within the community. These categories are added or deleted by the community owner or moderator. General members can post in the categories but cannot make new or delete a category.
Who Can Start Or Join A Community?
A personal profile or a Brand Page can start or join a community. Although to join some communities you will need to be approved 1st.
Are All G+ Communities Public?
No, when setting up a community, the owner can make it Public or Private. Keep in mind that once it is set up, it can NOT be changed.
If you make a community Public, you can set it so anyone can join or it can be by Approval only (a person will have to “ask to join” using a button on the communities page).
If you make a Private community, you can set it so it does show in the searches or you can hide it from search. If you totally hide it, it will have to get member from Invites.
I joined a community, but how do I find it again?
Click the Communities icon on the left side bar. That will open a new page and the communities you are a member of will be listed.
How do I find Google Plus Communities to join?
Just click on the Communities icon in the left column of your Google Plus page. There you will see a list of communities that your friends have joined. You can also use the search to plug in your keyword interest.
When I post to a public community, who sees it?
Obviously, the people in the community will see it inside the community and so will any one that visits. That post will also show on YOUR profile under your POST tab. The post will also go into the main stream of others in the community even if they do NOT have you in a circle. Although, I see some if not most and at times I see none in my main stream, could be me or a glitch they are changing around.
January 18, 2013 Update – They added a box where you can now chose if you want your post to a community to also be posted to your personal profile.
How do I move a post to a different category?
You don’t! At this time it seems that even owners cannot just move a post, they would need to have the person delete and repost in the correct category OR they could reshare it into the correct category and then delete the original.
April 20, 2013 Update – Owners and moderators of Google Plus Communities can now move a post to different categories within the community.
Mods and owners can go to a post and click the topic that is next to the date of the post, they will get a dropdown and can chose a different category and the post will move.
Can I start a hangout in a community and who can I invite?
Yes, you can start a Hangout while inside a community and right now, you can invite others even if they are not members of that community. But BEWARE! When you start a Hangout while inside a community, it becomes PUBLIC INSTANTLY!!! That means as soon as you hit that button, other people (even people you don’t know) can join in. I found out the hard way.
Can I disable community notifications?
Yes, there is a little “bell” icon in the left column right under the community logo, you can turn it on or off. You will still get notifications when a reply is added to your post or a post you commented on. You can also MUTE a post, so you do not get more notifications about it, although that has not always been working (a glitch I am sure they will fix).
Should I start a Google Plus Community?
Ummm…that depends. Ask yourself how much time you have to moderate it and post new content. If you have ever owned forums, you will know how much work this is.
Is there a community already based on the topic you want? It may be easier and less time consuming to join a community that is already there and someone else has to “take care of” and you can just participate without all the work.
I am already seeing more and more spammers jumping in every community. They are posting non useful crap like you would expect to see on YouTube. The same spam you see on blog comments is showing up also. If you do see this kind of waste that is going to clog the community, each post and comment does have a little Flag you can use to report it.
Some Large Brands are starting communities so; their “fans” can ask questions and make post about their brand. I would say that if you manage a large brand then you may want to think about doing this.
Some regular Hangouts on Air teams are also starting communities, so their viewers can ask questions or make comments about the shows. If you have an active viewership, this could be a great way to communicate with them.
Please, do NOT start a community and then decide you do not want to mess with it when the “shiny” wears off. That is complete Bull and when the space is filled with spam, other members (me) will be call you nasty names.
February 1, 2013 Update – Now a community moderator can delete comments. This will mean the owner has a bit of help keeping their community clean and on topic.
Can more than 1 community have the same name?
Yes, if you don’t believe me…search communities for the word “Cats“. LOL!Originally Published: Dec 26, 2012
Updated: January 18, 2013
Updated: February 1, 2013