As social media continues to rapidly expand, so do its applications and features. One particularly popular feature is communities. Communities offer valuable channel for users to engage in a topic they are passionate about, which provides businesses with a great opportunity to engage with customers. Whether you want to interact in one of these communities as a customer or a business, you need to know the steps for joining and participating in the conversation.
Communities operate a little differently from platform to platform, but the general principles are the same. Here we’ll cover how to participate in these groups on three of the largest social platforms—Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Participating in a Google+ Community
Joining a Google+ community is simple. First go to plus.google.com/communities to browse all communities or recommended communities for you. You can also use the “search for communities” search bar to find a particular community that you have in mind.
Once you find a community of interest, either click the “join” button or visit the page to check it out first. Most communities are open to the public, but some communities are private. These communities will have an “ask to join” button instead.
Once you’re a member of a community, the participation is fairly straightforward. You can post photos, links, videos, events, and even polls. Google+ communities also allow you to categorize your posts.
To reply to a post on Google+, simply click in the “add a comment” bar and enter your message. You can tag other people in your comment by using the “@” or “+” symbol, immediately followed by their name. Click the “+1” button next to any comment or post to show that you like it. You can also share a post to your own Google+ page if you would like.
Participating in a Facebook Community Page
Similar to Google+, finding a Facebook community is very simple. All Facebook community pages are public, and you do not join groups like you do on Google+. Instead, you can choose to “like” community pages in order to participate on them. Doing so will also allow the page appear in your news feed.
Community pages on Facebook are very similar to other page types that you’ve seen on Facebook. According to Facebook, the difference is that “a community page is a page about an organization, celebrity or topic that [the community] doesn’t officially represent.” You will notice, however, that many businesses mistakenly use a community page even though the business itself is running the page.
Once you’ve found a community page that you want to engage with, you can post to the page or comment on posts just like you can on Google+. You can also share posts and like individual comments or posts.
Participating in a LinkedIn Group
To find a LinkedIn group, select “groups” from the dropdown list to the left of the search bar found at the top of any page. Then enter your keywords or group name to search for groups. On the results page, you can use the check boxes to the left to further narrow your search results. Many groups on LinkedIn require approval from a group monitor or additional information to show that you meet the group’s membership requirements. As you would expect, LinkedIn groups are typically learning- and career-oriented.
Posts on LinkedIn are categorized as either discussions, promotions, or jobs. Just like on the other platforms, you can create your own post or comment on others. Of course, you can like and comment in the same ways as well.
No matter which communities you decide to participate in, remember that it’s not all about you. Be sure to post relevant content and keep your comments on topic as well. You’ll make more friends or customers by contributing to the topics communities are passionate about than by trying to promote your own interests or cause.