Google Plus Communities Q&A

Latest Update: February 1, 2013

Google Plus Communities Q&AThis 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.

Originally Published: Dec 26, 2012
Updated: January 18, 2013
Updated: February 1, 2013

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!

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46 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Wow, that sounds just like you. lol As you know I started a community called Leadership Cafe, and so far it’s going about as well as I expected, although I had one topic that actually got a few people talking to each other, something that’s never happened in my Facebook group. In my opinion that one conversation put it miles ahead of the other one.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..12 Things For 12/12/12My Profile

    • I think the newness is already wearing off of some communities as they are drying up and withering away. The people who started them are not posting new interesting content so…there is no reason to visit them. Others are a bit more active because the members themselves are experts and can start threads. This seems to be more in the tech, G+ and SEO type stuff.

      So, just keep putting up some interesting stuff and try to find other experts to join…hopefully they to will post and not just links. LOL!

      I joined a couple of Facebook Groups and they never did anything…I left. I wasn’t building their group for them. LOL


  2. Twitter: Lisapatb
    I am so glad Brian that you mentioned how to disable those notifications that make a loud noise on my Droid. I am liking what I see in the communities so far. I would agree they are like forums which I never participated in a lot in and I like how these are set up on Google+. I like them better than the groups over on Facebook. I was also unaware of the same names. May I ask how many you participate in?
    Lisa recently posted..Social Websites to Ditch in 2013 to Save TimeMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa!
      I never really participated much in Facebook Groups. They all just seemed to sit idle or people posting their own links.
      I have used forums forever, in fact, that is how I met Brian MANY years ago.

      I think the Google Plus Communities will go well, if they get the right members and the owner/mods are willing to invest the time.

      Glad we could get that notification noise stopped…we wouldn’t want you smashing your phone. LOL
      Sheryl Loch recently posted..Promote YouTube Videos With Comment LuvMy Profile

    • Hi Samuel, yes some communities are having a harder time with spammers than others. Maybe if enough communities block them, they will eventually all be gone? Ok, probably not…spammers just keep coming out of the woodwork. LOL

  3. Google plus always seemed very confusing to me and I never had much interest in it. However, after reading this post, I feel I am getting rid of this confusion and trying to understand it slowly. I know it will be a slow and steady process, but finally I will learn every thing about it.


  4. Twitter: originalravi
    Seems like google is planning and following footsteps of facebook, they are just making analogous features like facebook, and here they have launched google communities. Although its became easy for bloggers to promote blog posts.. Thanks for such a nice article

    • Hi Wade, the communities may be a really good for business of all types…you just have to find the right communities with the right people.

      We just did a Hangouts on Air this week about the new Google Plus Brand Page features…I think it will open up a lot of new doors if used properly…or close a lot of doors for people who abuse it. LOL!

      Google Plus Brand Pages Going Social
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDDg65SO0TY

  5. Hey Ravi, I hope they never turn into Facebook. LOL!

    I think G+ communities have an advantage over Faceboog Groups because they are so easily searched. Facebook has no way to search for anything (at least not that works for crap).

  6. Ferb


    Twitter: FerbHinlor
    Hi Sheryl, these questions are so great. They are just what I’m looking for. To be honest, I started my Google Plus page but I don’t use it at all but I mainly use my Google+ profile and don’t really know any of these questions at all but I learn a lot from these questions and answers.

    Thanks – Ferb
    Ferb recently posted..7 Ways to Get Twitter Followers on PurposeMy Profile

  7. Though Google+ is way too complex than Facebook, but some things which G+ can give to its users, Facebook & twitter can’t provide and that is Dofollow links. This is especially beneficial for community like SEO that’s what I have heard. Anyways, I have never really involved in both of the communities. Thanks for providing “how-to” with the G+ communities. It is always helpful for me to watch the step-by-step as you talk through it. I have joined both communities and looking forward to learn both of them precisely. Thanks for sharing such great information!

    • Hi Charls. I don’t think Google Plus is rally any more complicated that any other site…it is just different and takes a little bi of adjusting to…just like we have done with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube…

    • Hi Aasma, I have not been part of any Facebook groups in a long time, they all seemed to just stop posting.

      I hope that the communities in G+ stay active and clean from spam.

  8. Hi Sheryl,
    I truly agree with you and i don’t think that Google+ is complicated.It is just the way that they present themselves to others.Also it is the best way to get search as well as referral traffic back to your website.

  9. Nice information about google+ communities. Your post proved helpful for me. I read about the google+ communities elsewhere too. But you have explained it in nice way.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Spammers are a concern for the communities that are public to all and i think that something should be done on this aspect to keep them away but i really love this community thing that Google is offering and it is really amazing.Thanks for sharing this post.

  11. Steve, spammers are always going to be a pain, but the community owners will need to just block them as best they can. Other users can help by flagging the unwanted post…some communities have now locked their “join” buttons.

        • Hi Brian, I think most people knew spam control would be a job in itself.

          Getting people to understand what links are and are not acceptable is hard. Most people think they link they want to share IS important. And others who just do not care and will toss out their link in hopes it doesn’t get deleted.

    • Hi Shanky, I think that we will always have the spammers who only post and run, but they are pretty easy to spot and can be blocked.

      If used right, communities could be a great traffic source and a way to show you are an expert by answering questions and sharing.

    • I am not sure that you can hide the community members list. Some people would not feel comfortable not knowing who else in in the community. By seeing all the members, it makes it easier to find more people with your same interest and can help people decide if they also want to become a member.

  12. Hi guys, was wondering if there is some way as a Community owner, to look at ant stats, like one does for a website, like number of visits, where they have linked from, which threads have had the most hits etc.

    Thanks

    Steve

    • Sorry Steve, i do not know of any stats like that as of yet. It is Google so we have hope that they can add some type of analytics for community owners.

      Don’t worry about typing errors…I do so many of them myself that I just consider them part of my personality. ;-)

  13. Jim

    If I understand correctly, there is currently no way to post to circles and communities simultaneously, or even for posting to multiple communities simultaneously. I’m a photographer and I basically use my Google+ account similar to a blog. If I want to post an article to my circles along with, for example, four nature photography communities, I’d have to post separately to each and would end up with four duplicate postings on my profile page. Is there any way around this? I’ve seen profiles that sometimes have a dozen duplicate posts for each posting, and I can’t imagine that makes people want to visit and view older articles.

    Any thoughts?

    • Sorry Jim, at this time I think you are stuck with doing multiple post.

      I know you can not post to multiple communities at one time. Which actually makes sense, otherwise people would be abusing it and posting the same thing to every community they could find.

      There was a way to post to your circles and a community at the same time, but I am not sure if that still works.

      I think the idea of communities is so “like minded” post could be separated from your normal streams and go to those special interest groups.

      I do know a few people who make the same post to communities as they do in their normal stream and that can get irritating if you have them personally circled and are both members of the same community…their double posting just clogs my stream with no real added value.

      You may want to post different things to each community and on your profile. It would mean less overall post, but would not be redundant to those who may be in several circles or communities with you.

    • If you have a G+ community, you can make it private by invite only. This would allow you to checkout out people before allowing them to become member and interact with other teens. It could be a little safety precaution.

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