Why I Build Community In Social Media & Google+
- September 5, 2013
- Posted by: Craig Chamberlin
- Category: Uncategorized
My website and YouTube channel have seen a number of failures in the past. Building a successful community was one of them. That is, until I built it on Google+. Choosing where a community should congregate leaves most web designers and marketers stumped. How can we make community appealing? Interesting? Engaging? How can we make it profitable? Grow? Succeed?
Most of us attack these questions from the wrong angle. Perhaps out of pride, we believe “if we build it, they will come.” The truth is even the most dedicated fans have trouble connecting with certain community platforms, and that’s where we should start.
A community platform is a tool. Whether building a community through forums, plugins or social media, each platform has learning curves. These learning curves greatly affect the growth rate and participation in a community. Chris Pirillo, a prominent figure in community building on both YouTube and social media, once said “Social Media is where people live”, and I think he was right.
We need to avoid the mistake of expecting the community to come to us. The majority of users time is already spent connected through social media: whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or many others. Social Media is the tool by where little learning curve is necessary. Social media sites are constantly in process of perfection by those who design and engineer it.
Building our community within social media increases exposure to our potential audience through content streams they use daily. More importantly, growth and participation increase through a familiar gateway to connect and participate with other members.
There are limitations, of course. One cannot have full customization when relying on 3rd party features. We also limit traffic from organic results when community content does not get associated with the domain. These limitations, however, do not carry enough weight to justify an uphill battle of getting people away from social media.
My site first implemented forums, then a social commenting system and then an embedded social media platform. All three failed. I simply could not compete with the vast social media platforms that offered community outside of my domain.
Since I implemented Google+ as my primary community gateway, membership and participation has soared. The greatest advantages Google+ has over any other platform is the simplicity and connectivity through Google services. Members can connect through their YouTube or Gmail accounts. Notifications are displayed across all Google services. Google takes care of keeping my community members engaged for me.
Google+ also utilizes video hangouts, offering an opportunity for engaging in a video conference with community members in a much deeper way. Community customization is advanced and offers enough flexibility to keep information organized and relevant. The interface is simple and fun to use.
At the end of the day, go to where your audience is – do not reinvent the platform. Allowing social media to do the heavy lifting leaves more time for the important things: community engagement, sharing and growth