Guest Post: John Ward on Google+ Communities

Today I am pleased as punch to have John Ward on the blog. Not only is he the founder and fearless leader of an amazing community on Google+, he happens to be the nicest guy on the internet. Really...we took a vote. John wins.

As the founder of one of the biggest communities on Google, I asked John to talk to us today about why WDG is so successful. His answer is pretty simple. Take it away, John.

Sarah asked me to write a short piece about Google+ communities. Specifically, she asked me to write about the community that I founded: the Writer’s Discussion Group. This community has grown to over 10,000 members in just under four months.

I’d like to tell you why I believe the community has grown and continues to grow.

Discovering the Power of Generosity

Few books have had as much of an impact on my life as Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I won’t rehash the book here, but let me take a moment to highlight the philosophy that has completely changed the way I approach strangers and interact with the people I already know. The most compelling lesson contained in Ferrazzi’s book, at least for me, was communicated in just three words. Ferrazzi writes that people should approach others with a spirit of generosity.

That phrase really spoke to me because I know my limitations. There are things I will never be able to do in life. I’ll never be an actor or a politician; but I can be generous. That’s something anyone can do.

Those three words have become my guiding philosophy for everything I do.

Sharing Knowledge and Forming Connections

Everyone approaches social media differently. Regardless of whether your approach involves posting pictures of cats or talking politics, you should be thinking about your followers as you craft your posts. Think about how you can entertain them, educate them, and most importantly start a conversation with them. That should be the goal behind your every post. Here are a few guidelines I try to follow when creating posts:

1. Give freely to the people with whom are you connected.

2. Try to create posts that have real value and share insights that only you can offer.

3. Choose two to four topics and post about them on a regular basis.

4. Participate in other people's posts. Take an interest in what others are doing.

5. Be genuine and make friends.

I realize that this seems obvious. You would think that everyone would follow these strategies; unfortunately, that’s not true. How many times have you seen people post ‘Buy my book’ over and over? That type of behavior is focused on what your followers can do for you instead of what you can do for them.

The fact is that everyone already has too many commercials (Buy my Book) in their lives. We're bombarded with it everywhere we go; but we can all use someone who looks out for us and tries to help us when they can. Everyone appreciates a person like that.

I have found that if you freely give to people and actively try to help them that they will happily step up to help you during those times when you ask, but more importantly than that, you’ll make some really great friends.

Thanks, John! If you want to get to know the nicest guy on the internet, you can find him at his G+ Profile. And if you'd like to make friends with a really great group of people (and you do, trust me), head over to the WDG Community Page on G+ and sign up.