How to REALLY build a community on Google Plus

How to really build a community on google plus
 
How to REALLY build a community on Google Plus

The First Month of a closed PYB Community

One month ago I announced I was 'closing the doors' on the Plus Your Business community.
So, now, as promised, we am reporting back on how it has gone.
Here are a few initial observations.
There has been:

  1. A lot less spam!
  2. An increase in community spirit
  3. Much more initial engagement/welcoming
  4. Less self-promotion posting (as we want it - Plus Your Business is a community and agency, afterall)
  5. Positive, private and public feedback that "WOW! This is really working"
  6. An increase in the 'quality' of members joining - see below
  7. A lot more admin!

The other thing to know is that Stan Bush has done an INCREDIBLE job at generating systems to enable 'closing the doors' to work as a way of building better relationships, especially with new community members.

Let's hear from community manager extraordinaire Stan Bush

I asked Stan Bush how he has found the first month and this is what he said, starting with the numbers:

"Numbers are easy. Punch them into a spreadsheet and it calculates more numbers.
Use those numbers to generate theories.
Use the theories to create scenarios. For example: the community grew by 15%.
Theoretically it will double in 7.5 months. That’s good for a community of this size.

But PYB Page follows increased by 35%.  Membership request has increased 685% per week. Those numbers say it will double in 4.5 months.

So which one is right? Neither. It could double in two months.  Here are the numbers that matter. I don’t need a spreadsheet to track them.

0% of blueheads are accepted into the community.

100% of the blueheads receive a PM video link on how to change their profile image.

25% of them change it and are accepted.

100% of the new members are Welcomed into the community, personally, and mentioned by name.

100% of spam post are removed

100% of posts are addressed and an action taken

We strive for a 0% unsolved issue rate.

I could talk about the effect of a simple ‘Good Morning Post”, or the increase in questions. Or the increase of people answering those questions. Those are ultimately the things that matter. People connecting with people in a trusted environment. We require profiles, images and posts to establish that trust. We keep the noise down, which increases the trust. The trust creates a culture, and that culture is one of helpfulness towards a shared goal. But… what are the goals?

The stated goal of the community is to help people learn GPlus. The members stated goals are to learn GPlus. But this is Plus Your BUSINESS. So the deeper, unstated goal for the member is to communicate more effectively with their clients, vendors and prospects. They want to increase their sales. Learning Google Plus is second fiddle to their bottom lines.

I am mindful of that when I’m working in the community. PYB is providing solutions to business problems. We increase their income. That gives me satisfaction. It gives them a warm and fuzzy. It encourages them to help others.  And it never has to be said. It’s all internalized because of the culture of the community.  I intend on increasing the income of the community members by establishing a culture of helpfulness.

Numbers will never tell you the intent of a person, or the heart of a community."

My thoughts:

The final statement from Stan above sums it up well. We want to build a true community that helps people learn Google+ to a depth that will transform their online experience as well as their business.
With 'The Academy' announced this week we have moved into the next phase of commitment and opportunity for the community members.
The 5 levels, with the PYB community now becoming the starting place for many, as well as a place for general discussion.
Without three things, however, we could not have moved into this phase:

1. A way to track new entrants into the community, and
2. A committed, friendly and experienced community manager, who...
3. ...was able to create systems, including ensuring pre-requisites were met before people joined.

The success of dramatically increased engagement has come from A LOT of effort by Stan, and you want to to do the same it won't just be about 'closing the community doors'.

In contrast, closing the Plus Your Life community doors has had little effect.
Without 'good management' you can expect much the same as you had before. With PYL the plan will not roll out fully for a little while, by which time we will have a tried and tested method for PYB.

Conclusion

This is just the first month and we have much more work to do, but has it delivered what we hoped? As Stan Bush would say "HELL YES!".
My advice would be to consider whether your community is being run as well as it could be, and if you want to chat about how we can help, well you know where to get in touch.

There you have it. Quite the month for PYB, and we are still learning more every day.
And you know us by now, we like to share what we learn! So myself, Stan Bush and the rest of the PYB hope to see you at the Plus Your Business community here!