Google Plus communities are incredible flexible, and as such you can use them for small teams all the way through to supporting a global brand. Whichever way you go, and know that you can create many communities on Google+, you will want to follow the same type of process you see below.
Creating a Google Plus community from a Profile or a Page
The first choice you have when creating a community is whether to do so from your Google+ Profile or from a Google+ Page.
If you create it from your Profile, you will not show up as the ‘owner’ of the community. If you do so from your Page, it will not only appear but also people can follow the Page straight from the community.
Note: you can transfer ownership of a community between a person (i.e. a Profile) and a Page, as well as transfer ownership to another Page. To do this you will need to have the receiving party be a moderator for at least 2 weeks before you can change them into ‘owner’.
Once you’ve decided which way you want to create the community, you can decide what type you will create.
Types of community
On this occasion we will create a community from a Page.
Once you’ve clicked ‘communities’ on the side bar, click ‘create community’.
There are two types of communities - private communities and public.
1. Public communities - the content is viewable ‘publicly’ and content can be shared out of the community
2. Private communities - the content remains ‘private’ within the community and cannot be shared out of it
Note: once you have decided, you will not be able to alter the community from private to public, or vice versa.
If you set up a ‘public community’ you have two choices:
a) anyone can join, or
b) a moderator needs to approve people
Option b) will increase the administration, but there could be some advantages there as well, in that not everybody can just simply join.
Alternatively, if you choose to create a ‘private community’ you have two choices:
a) have it so no-one can find the community in searches, or
b) have it so people can find it and request to join.
If you want to be totally private then choose option a). If, however, you want to e.g. grow through people finding you then choose options b).
Once you have decided, name the community and click ‘create community.’
The next screen you will see your community.
1. You can see the Page which owns the community
2. You can invite more people to the community
3. This is where you can add an image
Editing the community
As the owner or moderator of a community you area able to edit several areas. To do so:
1. Click the cog. This will bring up a menu.
2. Choose ‘edit the community’
3. This allows you to edit the community name
But note: at 500 people you can no longer change the name of the community),
4. Add a tagline
5. Add or change the image for the community
Changing the way a community can be found and joined
After you have created a community you can alter some of the ways people can join or find the community.
To see it in action:
1. Click on the gear icon(cog) on the desktop’s community page
2. Select 'Edit community', and scroll to the bottom.
For a Public community you can switch between ‘anyone can join’ and ‘ask to join.’
1. Click 'change' to alter who can join once the community is created, and
2. Choose between the requirement to ask to join, or not.
For a private community you can switch between it appearing in 'Search', or not.
1. Click to change
2. Choose from the options available i.e. to be found or not.
Adding an image
Once you click on ‘pick a photo’ you can drag and drop in an image, or you can upload one.
If you add, for instance, an image which is 250 x 250, only 200 x 250 is going to show. So you want to make sure that when it cuts it down to that size it is the area you want.
To do this, drag the clear window into place - you can change its size by dragging a corner.
Once done you can click ‘set profile photo’.
Add categories, guidelines, links and location
Next, whilst in ‘edit mode’ you can add a category,
1. Simply click and the name
2. Add in the guidelines you want people to see as part of the community
3. Add links and a location (if relevant)
Next you can make some adjustments before saving:
1. check your changes e.g. how the image is displayed and
2. you can remove one of those categories by clicking on the x button if people have posted already in that category then the content will disappear.
3. when you are ready, click ‘save’ to save all the changes.
Managing community members
1. As the owner or moderator of a community if you click on the cog not only can you edit the community,leave the community and report abuse, but also
2. You can manage members
Once you reach the next page you can click on ‘everyone’ and see:
Promoting a member to moderator
To promote a person to a moderator click on the upper right corner of their ‘card’.
From there, you can see the options available.
Click ‘Member to moderator’ to change their status.
Clicking the button for ‘moderators’ in the menu:
Once clicked you will see them on the page, indicated by a ‘star’ in the corner.
Next, click on the upper corner to see more options:
This dropdown will give you several options:
1. Remove the person from the community or ban from the community
2. Promote from moderator to owner, or demote from moderator to member
Note: moderators need to be promoted for 2 weeks prior to them being made an owner.
The process of moderation
Once you've created the structure of the community itself, you will want to start really 'creating a community' but that is another story that we can come on to again. How you look at moderation though, is really dependant upon that nature of the community you are running. There are no 'rules' as to making a community 'work' but there are certain things aspects we would encourage including, being very clear in the guidelines you set and sticking to them, removing spam that leaks through into the community (although the filters are excellent), and using tools such as Google Hangouts to build community spirit.
Hope that helps!