A Guide to Posting on Google Plus
This is the fourth post in our “Google+ 101″ series. View the rest of the posts here.
So: you’ve chosen your type of business page, established a quality profile on Google+, and set up a few circles. Now, it’s time to start posting.
Your Homepage stream
Just about every social network has a primary feed, and Google+ is no different. This is where you’ll see the content shared by those in your Circles and Communities, and vice versa. In Facebook terms, it’s your newsfeed. If you click the “Explore” tab, Google+ gives you a wealth of content to browse, from categorical hashtags, to other popular content. For businesses, the main advantage of the Explore tab is the Trending feature. Like Twitter (and more recently, Facebook), this shows the current trending hashtags and topics. If you’re looking to join the general Google+ public in posting on a popular topic, this is the place to see what’s buzzing.
Posting on Google Plus
You can post in three primary places on Google+: on your own page, on the home page stream, or in a Community. There’s no real difference in whether you post on your own page or on the stream, but posting in Communities is another matter altogether. We’ll cover posting in Communities in a later post, but for now, just remember that if you join a Community and intend to post there, it’s different than posting to your own page. As long as you stick to Google’s TOS (and use common sense about what you’re posting publicly), you can post whatever you like on your own page. When you post to Communities, you’re posting to a shared space – and you’ll want to read and adhere to that group’s guidelines before you post.
When you initiate a post, you’re met with several options:
Similar to Facebook, you can share everything from basic text updates, to photos, links, videos, or events. When sharing a post, you can also choose to send an email notification to your circles – just be sure to use this sparingly (if at all). If you are regularly sending email notifications to your followers about your Google+ posts, it’s likely they’ll perceive you as a spammer, and un-circle you.
Using #hashtags on Google Plus
Like Twitter (and Facebook), Google+ also has hashtags. The same as anywhere else, they’re used to organize posts, and create dedicated content streams. And – the same as anywhere else – it’s wise not to go overboard. Feel free to toss in a hashtag or two on your posts here and there, but stuffing your post with a bunch of hashtags (especially if they’re irrelevant) will only make them look like spam. “Hashtag litter” is a term for a reason.
Choosing what you post
This will vary for each business, and each social media strategy, but there’s a few good rules of thumb here.
For one thing, try to post visually rich content.
This doesn’t mean simply recycling memes – remember how that turned out on Facebook? It also doesn’t mean peppering your posts with obvious stock photos. Try to get actual photos of your business and your employees, at work, or at events. If you can, create original visual content that’s eye catching, and stands out in a feed. You can also easily share YouTube videos that are appropriate to your business or audience. When you do, keep in mind that whatever comments you add will also be visible on that YouTube video’s comment section.
Another tip: encourage engagement.
Rather, don’t just drop links to content on your website and expect people to interact. They might – if you’re Mashable, or some other major news source. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t, so you need to encourage your followers to interact with your posts. How? Ask questions. Post content that taps into their interests. Remember, it’s not just all about you, especially on social media.
Sharing with your Circles
When posting content, it’s also important to consider your circles. Last week, we posted on Circles, and explained the default share settings. There are two major takeaways there:
- You don’t always have to share to Public and all of your circles – you can cater your posts to the different circles you’ve created, if you feel it’s appropriate
- If you’re only posting to your own profile, and only a few people are following you, your posts aren’t going to be particularly visible
In other words, posting content is only half of the equation. The other half is interaction, and building a following. And that isn’t something that just happens, for most businesses. Sure, you’ll get a certain amount of existing clientele that circle you organically, on their own, but the other half of that is getting out there on Google+ and making new connections.