The graphic above by Gabriel Vasile illustrates how content is generally shared on Google+.
Building communities is important socially and professionally. But how do we build communities on networks that hold thousands of friends and followers?
Communities hold shared culture and interests. Can we consider our 5000 Twitter followers a “community”?
Unlike Twitter, Facebook is a permission based platform, building a community means juggling privacy setting and building people and interest “lists”.
We start off “friending” actual friends. Gradually, our definition of friends widen a bit and we’re accepting request from people we went to school with; then people we met at the beach last summer; then people who knew the people we met at the beach last summer…and on, and on.
Google+ is more like Twitter than Facebook inasmuch as it’s an open environment. Anyone can choose to see our public posts. We get to control the content we see by choosing to circle someone, or not. This is one of the reasons it’s seen more as an “interest driven” network as opposed to a “friendship driven” one. It’s like going to camp and making new friends as opposed to sticking around the neighbourhood and chillin’ with the ones you already have.
Building a community in Google+ is about managing your circles. It’s about organizing your followers into smaller communities that are defined by their common interests and levels of engagement.
One of my favourite Google plussers, Martin Shervington, a writer, psychologist and comedian, came up with a method of sending his posts to his followers in much the same way as an “opt in” email system works.
As someone in his circle of engagers, I received this in my email box recently.
I have my settings set so that I receive an email whenever someone mentions me in their Google+ feed. (Much the same way I do in Twitter).
By giving Martin permission to include me in this circle, I will receive a notification; of his posts both in my email inbox and in that pretty red notification box found on any Google site.
It’s much like setting up email groups in Outlook or Gmail.
The notification circle can have 1 to 100 people in it (including you) as there is a 100 person limit to the number of individuals you can send notifications to in a post.
One of the advantages of having your clients on Google+ is the ability to customize your content to their particular interests. This filters unwanted content for them and improves readership for you.
If you’re a small business and want to personalize your customer service, this gives give you relatively easy way of doing that.
How would you use this feature?
Feel free to circle me Ray Hiltz on G+
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.