Getting Started On Google Plus (Part 3)

Getting Started On Google Plus - A Geekalicious series
Thanks for returning for part three of my Getting Started With Google Plus series.  This four part series is designed to help you learn to love Google Plus and enjoy your time on the platform. 

We have already covered setting up your profile (part one) and starting to share content with relevant circles (part two) so we can now move on to improving the look of your G+ content which will increase engagement and interaction even more.


Part 3. The Bigger Picture


Formatting Your Updates

Online engagement is enhanced by images so with a fast paced social media platform it is important to create updates that stand out in the crowd.  Google Plus is very intuitive and it is worth taking a couple of extra minutes to structure your update so that it is shown off at its best. You can use bold, italics and strikethrough in your updates as follows (you can use any combination of this formatting to create really great, eye-catching updates):
  • Adding an asterisk ( * ) at the beginning and end of a section of text will create bold text
  • Adding an underscore ( _ ) at the beginning and end of a section of text will create italic text
  • Adding a dash ( - ) at the beginning and end of a section of text will create a strikethrough effect

Images

Google Plus is a great place for images.  It is really worth using the Google Plus photo tour to understand what is available for your images. This includes introducing auto-backup (saving photos as you take them on your phone), auto-enhance (showing your image at its best) and auto-awesome (stitching continuous images together to create a mini-movie or panoramic view).  As these images are created and saved within your Google account you can use them all within your Google Plus updates.

Using Formatting And Images In Your Updates

The anatomy of a G+ post is something that is much discussed but it is without doubt that Google love original content and there is so much more room to "talk" than on Twitter (for example).  If sharing a link then it is expected that you introduce the link (a title - maybe bold that text), write a summary explaining the reason for sharing the link (I have even reproduced an opening paragraph or important part of the article), link to the article itself, use hashtags to really specify the theme of the update and include an image.

G+ automatically links any URLs that you include in an update and creates a 'rich snippet'.  This is where the title of the article is hyperlinked and a small image included.  To create an even more striking update you can remove this rich snippet and include a larger image:

Formatting your updates in Google Plus
Please click on the image to enlarge it
  1. remove the auto-link
  2. choose an image from your Google photo albums or your computer
  3. auto-enhance the image

Using this technique has its pros and cons.  Rich snippet links links are given a 'follow' attribution which helps with search engine optimisation (SEO). Any additional links within a G+ update are given a 'nofollow' attribution.  This was introduced to prevent people from filling G+ updates with links just to gain PageRank or SEO juice. However, it is noted that updates with a large image are much more likely to invite real interaction.  These can include +1's, conversation and social sharing which all count towards the SEO and SERPs (search engine results page) for the original article.  Here are examples of both techniques from my own Google Plus profile.





So now it is time for you to go and try out these different engagement techniques and see which ones work best for you. Tag me in one of your updates - I'm +Nickie O'Hara - and let me have a look at what you're sharing.  Please come back tomorrow for the final section of this series which will provide some more tips and tricks, more circle recommendations and some apps that can be used to save even more time.

Please also read: 

Part 1 - Sharpening Your Settings And Preparing Your Profile 
Part 2 - Getting Social Without Getting Sucked In 
Part 4 - Tips And Tricks


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