Google+ communities - another way to grow your blog's influence

This Quick Tip is about Google+ Communities, and the ways you could use them to promote  your blog.

Google+ has launched Communities - their equivalent of Facebook's Groups.

If you  want to be a market-leader in your field then you might want to create:

Or,  if your blog is more like a newsletter for a club or group, you may want to create a community for your members instead, with less focus on the niche and more on the people.

Why bother

"Fantastic - yet another social media channel to grow and keep up to date.   Just what we all need.   Not!"

I sympathize ... but  this time around, I suspect it will be worth the effort.

Firstly, if building communication and relationships between people who are interested in your niche is one of your blog's goals, there are strong reasons to move away from Facebook Groups and onto Google+Groups:   On Facebook, Facebook's rules choose which posts are shown to your members.  And people have been complaining that Facebook is showing non-paid updates to fewer people than before.   In Google+, everything shows up in your members stream.

Second, unlike Facebook groups, everything that is posted to a Google+ community is indexed and so might be returned in Google search.

If enough people join the community - which you own and can therefore influence the direction of - then your blog may increase its authority in the niche area, because you are acknowledged as the founder / thought-leader.    You can use this technique this on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc too.   But Google+ communities are new, the best names aren't gone - and there will almost certainly be better SEO benefits from doing this inside a Google product than doing it elsewhere, even though people aren't 100% sure how it will all work yet.   (Assuming that SEO matters for your blog - remember that it's irrelevant for some blogs.)

How to get community members

So far, there don't appear to be any gadgets, badges etc.   I suspect they'll come.   (Although the relative relationship between blog-commenters and community-members could be interesting to work out.)

But you can invite circles, or individual email addresses from within Google+ Communities

And you can put an invitation on your blog, like this
"Click here to join the How to Use Blogger community now, to see how communities work - you are free to leave at any time, and I promise not to spam you."

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