Whether you like it or not, there is no debating anymore that Google+ is a legitimate social network and marketing platform. Google+ has come a long way since it’s “ghost town” days, and more and more individuals (brands and companies too) are joining Google+ each day.
When marketing channels become popular and the potential customer base grows, the need to optimize efforts in that channel comes to the forefront. Google+ is no different. Believe it or not, there is a proven format of Google+ posts that will give you the best opportunity to get +1s and shares.
Say hello to the perfect google+ post!
You’ll notice that this isn’t the typical link sharing post. When you share a URL on Google+, it automatically formats a post with a small thumbnail image and the title from the URL. This isn’t the best way to do things!
The Title or Call-To-Action
Start off your Google+ post just like you would a blog post or marketing page. Give it an enticing title or use a call to action to draw users in. Make your title relevant and not too wordy or lengthy. In the post I embedded above, I probably could have stopped at just “Have you tried Share Tally yet?”
Another way to make your title stand out is to bold it. In Google+ posts, you bold text by surrounding it by *asterisks*. This is Google+ markup for bolded text. Here are your options for Google+ markup:
- *item* for bold
- _item_ for italic
- -item- for strikethrough
- +name or @name to tag someone
Below your title or call to action, in a few sentences or less write a short summary about what the post is about, what the product does, etc., etc. Make it brief and to the point, as most readers will likely not get all the way through it!
Don’t just copy your meta description either, this should be optimized for Google+ users. The summary should explain what you are sharing and why the user would want to read it! Remember to not make it too long, or users will scroll past it or abandon your post altogether.
Link with Call-to-action
Below your summary, include one sentence with a call to action and a link to your content.
The call to action should be simple, something along the lines of “Read the full article here” or “Try it our for yourself!” You’re the marketing genius, you know what to put here.
After your call to action, include a link to your content. If your URLs are inherently long (like some of mine are) use a URL shortener to keep the entire sentence on one line. If your URLs are short, then leave it as is, because there is some added trust when the user can see the actual URL they are clicking through too. Shortened links often scare people away, but long links will produce even worse results.
Below your link, be sure to give your thoughts on the content. If the content is not yours, be sure to comment on the material here, whether you agree or disagree with it. You’re not trying to create controversy here, just give your feedback to the content that you are sharing.
If the content is yours, summarize your thoughts on the article or subject matter in a few sentences or less. The point of writing down your thoughts is to spark questions and comments on the content, and drive engagements.
We’re nearly finished! Write a call to action that will suggest to users that they give you their thoughts on the content. This is an attempt to get the conversation going, so your content can be shared over and over again.
I won’t tell you which call to action to use, but short sentences like “Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below” or “Do you agree with this? Leave a comment below!”
Last but certainly not least for our text portion, we will include the obligatory hashtags. This will increase the reach and visibility of your post by allowing users searching for certain keywords to stumble across your share.
The best way to do this is to watch what is trending, and tailor your content towards popular topics. Make sure that they are relevant to your industry, as it doesn’t make much sense for a Web Developer to be sharing recipes or dog grooming tips – even if they do happen to be trending.
Make sure your hashtags are short, relevant, and both broad match keywords and longtail keywords. Keep it under a half-dozen, and you won’t look like you’re trying to spam.
The Oh-so-important Image
The image is perhaps the most important part of your Google+ post. People like visuals, and images draw users eyes. Make sure your image is clear, and has bright colors – but also make sure it’s relevant! If you share a cute picture of a dog on a post about WordPress Templates, you’re going to lose all of your potential readers.
Bonus Tip: The size of the image you share should be 1000 pixels wide, and about 650 pixels high. By posting a large landscape image such as this, you are putting yourself in a great place to be featured full stream.
What is full stream, you might ask? Full stream is when your post spans the width of the page, and your image is greater than twice the size. It’s a great spot to be in, and full stream posts get more engagement than their regular sized brothers and sisters.
That wasn’t so hard!
Right? The concept really isn’t that difficult to grasp. All we’re trying to do here is entice people to engage with our post, and get a conversation going.
Respond to Comments
Another important aspect of your post is to respond to all comments. Your goal is to keep the conversation going as long as possible and encourage others to comment as well.
These suggestions are really nothing new, and perhaps you are already doing them. Give them a try out, and see what kind of result you get.