For those of you on Google+, you’ve seen the addition of Communities on G+. For me it was a dream come true.
I have been working on building a community for food bloggers on G+ since Federated Media sold us out and dismantled our community. We had become a wondering band of food bloggers with no where to call home. Then Google+ rolled out their communities and we had someplace to gather and call home.
With the new communities in place, I thought all I had to do was rally the troops and show and all everything would be as it should be….sigh. What I didn’t think of was how many other food communities would pop up and how chaotic and poorly moderated most of them would be. I know what you’re asking, why worry about other communities? Well the problem is that many of the same food bloggers are joining every community they can, and have begun leaving the exact same post at each one, including ours.
When I set my community up it had specific guidelines, the most important being No Self Promotion. That means, you cannot share your blog posts or images within the community, unless there is a specific question about it, or unless it’s a tutorial that will benefit the community. I had to amend this statement to include promoting others posts as well. I thought it would be easy to understand, evidently I was wrong.
This all goes back to what I’ve been saying all along about the audience we want to be reading our posts. Our target audience is not other Food Bloggers. Think about it. We love our friends and need them for support, and guidance but they will never be the readers that will help us grow. To grow as a food blogger we need regular people from all walks of life reading our blogs, telling their family and friends and sharing our recipes with them. This is where our growth comes from.
As a Food blogger I can tell you that I rarely have time to read other food blogs and not because I don’t want to, but because I just don’t have the time. I have a blog to write, pictures to take, social media to use and there are just not enough hours in the day to do all of that and read blogs with any regularity. But those folks looking for inspiration in the kitchen do have time to read our blogs, and they also have time to share it with their friends and family. This is how our readership grows.
This all leads back to food bloggers using communities and how so many of them are using communities wrong. If you’re one of those bloggers who leaves the same post in all of the communities you belong to, you will fail. Not only are you selling yourself to the wrong audience, your wasting your time, posting in communities to a limited audience. You should be posting to Public so that more people will see your post and you’ll gain some new readers.
Oh, you say you do post to public too? I know you do, when I visit your profile page and see a never ending steam of self promotion, I see a post to public as well. It reminds me of a hamster on a wheel, constantly moving and never getting any where.
I have told you before in order to succeed on G+ you have to be a good plusser, and only self promoting isn’t being one.
Communities are meant to be a place where you can go to interact with the other community members, and self promoting isn’t interacting, is it? Your time spent in your communities, should be time spent wisely. Ask questions that you have about your craft, and ask your peers how they deal with issues that plague us all. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and don’t be afraid to share what you know.
Communities should be a place to help you grow, to help you become more successful in your craft, not for mindless self promotion. Check out how other interest group communities run, and you’ll see what I mean. Yet some Food Bloggers just don’t seem to get it. Unless you’re learning something the time you spend in a community is wasted. Your post’s wont be seen on the public stream and any interaction, comments or +1′s isn’t seen either……… there’s that hamster wheel again.
If you want to grow on G+, spend your time meeting new people in different interest groups, don’t waste your time re-posting in multiple communities sharing to food bloggers and foodies who probably already follow you.
In the G+ Food Bloggers Community that I set up, we share what we’ve learned from personal experience, and share posts from other interest groups that help us learn to use G+ better. Google+ is growing rapidly and the folks at G+ are adding new features all the time. If your’re late to this dance the learning curve is going to be huge. But don’t worry because even if you’re not already on G+, you’ll have our members and posts on subjects that will help you become successful.
Our community is a place for sharing knowledge and opportunities. And speaking of opportunities, our community was recently used to pilot a program for G+ running cooking demo’s as Events on Air, and they couldn’t have been happier with the results, even featuring one of our bloggers on the Google+ main page. So there are some benefits to using Google+ Communities correctly.
If you’re on G+ and not already a member of our Food Bloggers Community we’d love to have you with us, and if you haven’t already joined G+ now’s the time! You never know what opportunities might be coming your way! So get with the program you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose!