There’s so much buzz these days about Google authorship, the hummingbird update, social media, SEO and the like. Google is growing and offering more and more ways for people to establish themselves and their platforms online. Formatting plays a huge role.
Formatting is a secret weapon of mass domination, because it increases perceived authority, reader-experience, readership and traffic generation. This article provides several tips on how to maximize exposure, Google+ etiquette and audience engagement.
Let’s dive in.
7 Google+ post construction tips
This article is going to go in-depth into what it takes to format your Google+ posts to impress. It’s about generating discussion, engaging readers and coming across as a seasoned and skilled content producer.
Tip #1: Aesthetic Static Imagery
Why does the image sit ahead of the title? Simple, visual marketing is the preferred method especially in a market where time is precious.
We are seeing larger screens on smartphones and home theatre sets plus social media platforms such as Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook users love web imagery.
Each and every blog post should include one, and in an ideal world each one would be original and geo-tagged especially to you.
In fact, at Social Media Marketing World 2013, Guy Kawasaki specifically mentioned how he deletes the auto thumbnail image from a link and instead uses a larger, visually compelling image to attract more attention and increase engagement.
- Bigger isn’t always better, and neither is going over the top in terms or artistic license.
- Make the picture relevant. If you’re blogging about indoor gardening, don’t sport some picture with a care in it…
- Images drastically increase not only the likelihood of people giving the post a chance, but also sharing it on their own networks.
Check out +Peg Fitzpatrick’s image she uses below. The coffee cup and large text naturally raises the appeal factor.
Tip #2: Title mastery: The keys to the kingdom
This is the second step, and typically the second thing people or potential readers see. A few things to keep in mind here:
- Your titles should include a keyword/phrase, but also state a clear USP.
- They should have personality as well, and not sound scripted or unnatural
- Longer more complex (2 ideas/concepts for example) titles are completely fine now, but don’t overdo it.
Who’s done this well?
+Stephan Hovnanian used a powerful and creative title (shown below) by including the terms ‘fishing’ and social media strategy. Would it have had the same appeal if the title read ‘How to determine the right social media posting strategy?” – probably not.
Tip #3: That first sentence
If you’re not a regular on Google+, it is important to note that only the first three sentences are displayed before the “Read More” link appears. So you’ve really got to grab the reader’s attention with the first sentence.
Include a concise and to the point introduction for not only readers, but SEO purposes as well. What will your snippets say on social media platforms? What will the snippet read in Google search results?
- Include a keyword or phrase, but make sure people understand what the article is about.
- No sales copy, or lead-ins that sound artificial.
- Ask a question in the beginning, or mention that answers you intend to provide.
Eric Enge’s first sentence is a cracker stating that G+ hashtags are being found on Google Search. If you’re an SEO enthusiast or web marketer, there’s a good chance you would be tempted to read on.
Tip #4: Pay homage where homage is due
Like in the real world, we’re known by the cyber-company we keep and mention in our posts. When appropriate pay homage to relevant and incredibly visible thought leaders. Mention what you learned from other people that your readers may or may not already know.
- When you mention people, or call them out (not in a bad way), it’s more likely to draw their attention!
- Acknowledgments and showing thanks to other thought leaders adds to perceived authority and overall professionalism.
Here is a great example from +Mike Allton:
Tip #5: The body
Think of your Google+ post as a mini blog post. Unlike Twitter where you’re restricted to 140 characters, Google+ users are accustomed to and respect those who offer a preview when posting an article. This gives you credibility as a content creator and also allows the reader to decide whether it’s something they are interested in reading.
There are also specific formatting options on Google+ you can take advantage of:
Bold: Apply asterisks around the phrase/word to bold it e.g. *SEO* would be SEO.
Italics: By using underscores before and after a word, that word will then italicize e.g. _SEO_ would show as SEO.
Strikeout: If you want to run a line through a word or sentence (strikethrough) you can do so by applying hyphens before and after the word/sentence e.g. This is –cool-would show as This is cool.
Tip #6: Sharing strategically
Don’t just share everything with everyone. In a general sense it’s bad form. Stick to sharing your posts, or trying to, with the most relevant and interested audience possible. Group people into categorical circles, and take advantage of the more advanced opt-in list capabilities that Google+ offers. Be strategic, rather than implementing the age-old shotgun technique. Demian Farnworth refers to the concept of circling as ‘segmenting’ your audience to deliver more appropriate content.
Tip #7: Comment responses
Treat each and every comment (until you become a Google+ rock star) like it’s a piece of digital treasure. When you no longer have the time to reply to thousands of comments, fine, until then take every opportunity to engage your audience.
- Mind what you say and keep it up-beat.
- Remain professional and do not get sucked into arguments.
- Remember that Google is compiling a dossier on you, and everything sticks!
Over to you
So that’s an overview of how to construct great content on Google+. If you are thinking this is too hard, it really isn’t.
Social media expert, Rebekah Radice calls Google+ the platform to post your original content for SEO benefits and build relationships with those who will enjoy and share your content.
Once you’ve constructed a well-written G+ post 2-3 times, it becomes second nature and the results start to show whether it be +1’s, shares or comments.
Don’t forget you also need to encourage people to share your content on their own G+ accounts, so make sure you take the necessary steps to make it easy for them, start by adding social media buttons – if your blog is using WordPress, here are a few to get you started.
A quick final tip before I sign off is to not use Google+ as a platform to solely promote your own material and make it just about yourself.
Do you have any tips to add? We would love to hear in the comments!