#BloggingBreakthrough - G is for Google+ (The Ultimate Guide)
Hey #BloggingBreakthrough friend! Are you ready for Chapter 7? Yes? Good answer. For the letter ‘G’ we’re going to be talking again about another social media platform. A platform that a lot of us don’t really get – myself included. But there are actually plenty of reasons why you should be using it.
But today’s post is all about Google+. Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- What Google+ actually is
- Your profile
- How often to post
- What to post
- When to post
- Creating a community
Remember, if you want access to all the extra exclusive content that goes alongside this post, sign up to be a member of the Blogging Breakthrough community!
Most of us don’t know about Google+. We believe that the platforms we need to promote our blogs are Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram. But this isn't true…
Bloggers can actually get their brand out there a lot more with Google+. It’s one of the best social platforms for getting you more visibility. A lot of us have it – I do myself – but we don’t really know how to use it.
Now in this post, I'm not going to try and convince you to get on Google+. That isn't what this is about. Instead, this is more about raising your awareness of this platform by making you aware of some of its best features. That’s what we’re going to dive into today as part of the Blogging Breakthrough series.
WHAT IS GOOGLE+?
Google+ is Google’s own social network. You know how Google is the biggest, most successful and most popular search engine, right?
Then just think about the power of Google+
Two years ago, it was the second-largest social media channel in the world with over 235 million monthly active users. It’s now got over 300 million.
So really, it’s a pretty intriguing network.
Just like Twitter and Facebook, Google+ is a place for community, engagement and interaction.
SETTING UP YOUR PROFILE
To get yourself on Google+ you need a Google profile. You can easily set one of these up for yourself. And if you already use Gmail, then you should be able to use your details for that account.
All the basic things are needed, like your name, date of birth and email address. Like other social platforms, you’ll also be asked to add a profile photo.
The best thing to do is use the same photo you use for all your other social platforms. This helps people to find you
Then it’s all about adding people to your circles. But I’ll go into that when we talk about communities.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I POST?
Between two to five times a day is a good schedule for Google+. It’s not like Twitter where you can tweet ten or more times a day. But it’s not like LinkedIn when it’s better to post once.
A lot of people have the impression that it’s better to post less content to Google+. But really, you shouldn't be scared about posting more often. As long as what you’re putting on there is useful, high-quality and of value to your audience, there’s no problem.
It’s like with all the other platforms. If you post quality content, you’re active and you interact with your audience, you should see your engagement grow
WHAT SHOULD I POST?
Google+ is seen as very similar to Facebook and there’s good reason for that. Like Facebook - images, charts, infographics, GIFs and videos attract a lot more interaction that posts that are purely just content. AS for text-based posts, quotes and questions perform really well on Google+.
One of the best things to use Google+ for is to promote yourself. So one of your posts everyday can be to share your new blog post. And if you don’t publish content every day, head to your archives and pick something out from there!
You can also share useful articles and freebies that you find, links to free webinars – anything you share on other social channels that your audience will find useful.
When it comes to writing your Google+ posts it’s about length and enthusiasm
Posts that include “Finally! Yes! Wow! OMG!” tend to get a lot more interaction than if these weren't included.
I also did a bit of research when it comes to formatting your Google+ updates. Sometimes, it can be as simple as hitting copy and paste.
#1 Start off with your headline
Think the headline of your blog post. Put it first and leave a gap underneath.
#2 Include a brief summary
Usually, what I do here is put the introduction to my blog post. If that’s too long, I can just shorten it a little. It’s like when you post a link to anything you’ve written – you’re trying to get people to read it.
#3 Add bullet points
Are there certain points or sections you go through in your article? List these next, but just the bullet points. Look at the post I linked to on there yesterday:
#4 Use a big image
Get the image you use in your blog post and include it in this post update too. Images work really well on Google+. If it’s not your image, make sure you include the source.
#5 Add hashtags
Just like Twitter, you can add two or three hashtags relevant to what you’re posting. This will help people to find you on this platform. We’ll talk a bit more about hashtags later.
And that my friends, is how you post on Google+.
WHEN SHOULD I POST?
The best times to post to Google+ overall are between 9am – 11am every weekday. Posts that get the most interaction and activity are at 9am on Wednesday’s.
So apart from that you can post, let’s say, two or three times every weekday from anywhere between these times.
It’s a simple as that. You can connect your Google+ profile to Buffer and use their optimal scheduling tool to find the best times to suit you. But I've found that between 9am – 11am works best.
SHOULD I USE HASHTAGS?
The answer to that would be a big fat YES.
When it comes to hashtags on Google+ think Twitter not Instagram. Instead of using ten or more you want to use about two or three.
This helps people to find you and your content on Google+.
You can put them right at the bottom of your post, and they’ll be added to the side menu when you’ve posted your update. But the great thing about Google+ is that it automatically adds hashtags to your post that it thinks are relevant.
You can also keep an eye on the hashtags that are currently trending on Google+ and see each day, if some of these relate to what you’re posting.
WHAT ARE CIRCLES?
I'm gonna’ be honest here – Google+ circles confused the hell out of me at first. And they still do a little bit. But actually, they’re brilliant for creating a community, sharing and connecting.
The way I’d tell you to think of Google+ circles is like Twitter lists.
So you create the lists, or circles in this case, and decide who gets added to them
One of the points of these circles is that you can tailor your Google+ updates to be shared with specific people.
So say you’ve got a circle of people who are really interested in learning more about video marketing (or vlogging). You could share your latest post on vlogging with just this circle.
So just like you use Facebook groups and Twitter lists to keep up to date with certain people, it’s exactly the same thing for Google+ circle. They’re brilliant for building relationships and community.
You can also request to join different communities on Google+. Soon enough the platform will start to suggest ones that it thinks you’ll be interested in. Each group should display how many members it has and then all you’ve got to do is request to join it.
There are also Google+ hangouts which is probably the most-loved and most popular feature of Google+. There’s also a live version called Hangouts on Air where a lot of people choose to host live webinars and workshops.
They allow for everything you’d need in a normal presentation – slides, visuals and tools to engage with your live audience throughout. Plus, because of the link to YouTube, every video your broadcast on here integrates with YouTube, meaning you’ve got that ready to use and share as new content. It’s like recording a video without even realising!
If you’re thinking about trying your hand at video, it might be worth doing a hangout before you jump in. it might be good practice.
A Final Note…
So really, Google+ isn't as scary as people make it out to be, right? What you need to do to build on a community on there is quite simple, and all included in this guide. If you want to start somewhere, this advice is as good a place as any.
Even if you’re not convinced about Google+, that’s OK. I just hope this has shown you what benefits this platform could have for you and how it might fit into your online plan.
Now I know I didn't do a Periscope last Sunday for Facebook and I’m so sorry about that! But I’ll be live this Sunday around 2pm when I’ll be digging even deeper into Google+.
Plus, if you sign up to the #BloggingBreakthrough community, you’ll get access to a very special email that will take you behind-the-scenes of using Google+ to really mean something for your online presence.
Want to be part of this?
Are you on Google+? How do you use it as a platform? If not, is it something you'll try out after reading this post?