I recently hosted a retreat for the multicultural kid bloggers, and as part of the day presented on using Google+, focusing on a parenting blogger’s perspective. I’m sharing some of my top Google+ tips here today; drop by Mia’s blog for her Twitter tips for bloggers that she shared the same day.
Google+ for Bloggers: Things to do and Things to Avoid
My blogging time is very much secondary to the time I spend with my four young children who I love to play, craft, and learn with – so I do not spend a lot of time on social media. I only do a fraction of the things I’m going to recommend in this post, but I have done all of them at one time or another, with great success – and I have seen all of them done by fellow bloggers who are very effective on Google+.
1) Be authentic
I consider Google+ to be the most authentic social media site. If you come across as genuine, you should do fine. Start trying to follow formulas, and you’ll flounder. I think you are better off interacting less in this particular network rather than risking coming across as fake.
2) Don’t spam
Blogs are brands, and people expect us to self-promote, but if you share the same post over and over it shows up in your feed over and over – and, depending on the settings you and your readers have, it may show up in your readers’ feeds over and over as well. This is true if you share the same post to several communities at once – please do not do that! Most importantly, don’t select the “also send email to your circles” unless what you have to say is truly *very* important. Emailing Google+ posts is the easiest way to get yourself muted by followers!
3) Format posts
I recently discovered that, if you put your link into the text box first, before adding any other text, Google+ usually displays it as a large image (sometimes cropped – they accept a range of dimensions and I haven’t worked out the limits year). It doesn’t work (for me, at least), if I start writing and then add the link. I consider this to be much better than uploading a separate photo and then adding text and links, because the large image links directly to your post, and because it doesn’t start acting strange if other people share your post. Typing text *like this* will bold the words “like this”. Typing it _like this_ will italicize it, and typing -like this- will cross it out. Use bold or italics instead of typing in all caps.
4) Use hashtags
Google+ is a great place to use hashtags as a way of emphasizing keywords and helping readers find your content. You can click on any hashtag, and Google+ will pull up all the posts with that hashtag, as well as a list of other hashtags that are frequently used with the hashtag you clicked on that you can explore. Before adding a hashtag to your post, think about whether you would be happy to see your post on a page if you were to click on that hashtag from someone else’s post.
5) Create Collections
Collections allow you to organize the material you share by topics. Google features your collections at the top of your profile, making this a great way to showcase your favorite content!
Clicking the +1 button on posts is nice, and appreciated by bloggers, but if you want to truly get noticed commenting is the way to go (do click the +1 button while you are there). When I make the time for it, I like to click on the hashtags that I added to my most recent post, find a few posts that have that same hashtag, and leave a few comments. Since Google+ is all about authenticity, I think you are better off leaving a few interested comments than a bunch of “could have been generated by a clever AI program” comments.
7) Build and join communities
Google+ communities are wonderful ways to interact with people who share your interests! I love that communities can easily be organized into categories, and that content stays in chronological order – making it easy to pick up where you left off. You can choose to be notified any time anyone posts in a community, or you can turn notifications off so that you only see new posts when you choose to visit the community. Build communities where you see gaps, and join existing communities that interest you.
8) Share in communities
Google+ has a wide range of communities, which are great places to find your target audience! Take the time to read community guidelines before posting, and make sure you share within the correct section of the community. If you want to share the same post to several communities, use DoShare to space it out, over several days or (even better, in my opinion) weeks. Anyone can see posts that are shared in a public community, but you have to belong to the community to leave a comment.
9) Be generous
Google+ is a “the more you give the more you get” community. Sharing content written by other people that you genuinely enjoy and find interesting is a great way to build your Google+ community! Taking the time to leave thoughtful comments also pays off!
10) Get the mobile app
Since I try to keep blogging time to a minimum, I like to use my phone to comment and +1 posts while I’m out and about – waiting in the school pick-up line. I find the Android Google+ app very easy to navigate. I have a data plan through Republic Wireless that gives me unlimited data for $25/month, and the Google+ app is streamlined enough that it runs nicely on 3G internet.
11) Share images – without links
Sharing images – with no link – is a great way to build interaction with followers in Google+ without giving off a I-am-only-here-to-promote-content vibe. If you have an Android phone, it is easy to have it back up your photos to your Google+ account. Funny photos and quotes seem to do particularly well on Google+ – but they need to be fairly original, not something that your friends have already seen posted all over other social media networks.
12) Use Your Circles
One of the things I love about Google+ is that it is very organized. You can place the people you follow into different circles, and you can click on a circle to see only posts from people in that circle. You can also share your circles publicly, which allows other people to add the people in your circles to their own circles.
I hope you’ll join me on Google+ ! What are your favorite Google+ tips?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
37 thoughts on “Google Plus for Bloggers!”
I’ve been struggling to understand Google+, I think that’s because it’s so different to the other social media platforms, so thank you for creating an easy to understand guide!
I am so glad you found this guide helpful!
I LOVE G+! It’s a Good option for people who do not have a blog. I am in Direct Sales and I used G+ For my blogging needs before I went with WP.org. Thanks for the Tips
These are great suggestions. I’ve only been on it for a week, although I’ve been blogging for six months and having a bit of fun with it. Still not completely figured out but you gave me some useful tools.
This is very helpful as I am trying to use google plus more, but have no idea how to really “work it”. Thanks for the info!
Great tips! Those are all things I should do more of… when I find time! Great tip about Chrome plug in. I am trying to win myself off FF and get on Chrome :)
I like Chrome better than FF – now.
Pinned it, saved it on Feedly. Great article filled with excellent tips. Thank you,
Thank you! I’m glad you found this post helpful!
nice tips. will surely help me in using google+ more often
Great article and tips. I circled you on G+ find me there as well, I have a page called “Sharing is Caring on G+” for I believed in the power of sharing since the very beginning of my G+ adventure almost three years ago.
Thanks for posting this. I haven’t interacted much on Google+ partly because of time. These tips are great!
There’s never time for everything… glad you found these tips helpful!
Thank you MaryAnne – I’ve been trying to figure out Google+ and these are wonderful tips!
I’m so glad you found these tips helpful! Google+ is a lot of fun once you figure out how it works!
I’ve bookmarked this, great tips!
Thanks for your clear explanations and descriptions. I’ll definitely refer back here if/when I decide to get active on Google+.
I think you would enjoy Google+
I’ve really been loving Google + lately, especially with the reach on Facebook being so low. Do Share is something I only recently discovered and I’m loving being able to schedule posts on G+. I think more bloggers should work on building their G+ followings too! :)
I agree! DoShare is a great way to spread out content on Google+, and to save time.
Hi MaryAnne, Thank you for such clear explanations in a simple format. Very helpful. Everyone is very friendly and reaches out when I need help at G+. I think I’m gonna like it here.
I agree that G+ is a very friendly community!
This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing it MaryAnne! I heard it once but I keep learning more as I read it and re-read it!
I am so glad you found this helpful! Your Twitter expertise was extremely helpful to me!
Great tips MaryAnne – thanks for sharing. I hope that the retreat was good it sounds like it was
The retreat was fantastic, Cerys! I had a great time and learned a lot, too!
I’m trying to work on my use of Google+ this year, and I’m getting used to it. It’s still not my go to, and i need to turn off notifications from one community which is doing my head it at the moment. But this post has given me some good ideas.
I’m so glad you found it helpful! I’m a big fan of Google+ for bloggers.
I love G+, it’s a great place to check for other resources.
I agree! So much interesting stuff there!
Thank you, Mary Anne! I found some really useful tips here, especially about uploading only images.
I did the picture thing by accident the first time, and then it took some fiddling to figure out how it works. It’s such a nice (and relatively new) feature!
Great tips – thank you! I’m still trying to figure out Google+ and these are super helpful as I try to navigate through all the circles:)
Thanks! I’m glad you found my post helpful.
This is such a great resource, MaryAnne! I admit I only got into Google+ the last few weeks… but am so glad I did. I think it’s becoming my favorite social media platform, although Pinterest is still pretty awesome (I don’t really see the two competing that much anyway).
I still get confused with Twitter, and I don’t like how Facebook only shows your posts to like, 2% of your followers. Maybe Google+ is also as stingy with who gets to see your posts, but I LOVE how it looks, how it functions, and how easy it is to use.
I’m still learning (For the longest time, I was like, “What the heck are circles?!”) and I’m sure I’m still making mistakes, but I’m really enjoying this social media platform.
My favorite tips of yours are clicking on hash tags and putting the link first to show a big image.
Google+ is definitely my favorite – alongside Pinterest, really. I agree with you that they complement one another rather than competing.
Haha, I am still in the “What the heck are circles?!” phase. Like you, I’m also frustrated with Facebook, it’s so easy to build a following, but yet your posts are only shown to a small percentage of your followers, even if you boost a post.
Thank you MaryAnne for posting this great information about using Google Plus as a blogger!
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