10 Google Plus Lessons

Ten Hard Lessons Why You Aren’t Growing In Google Plus – G+ Tips

This article offers ten simple Google Plus tips help you get started with building a true Google Plus presence and will help those that recognize the possible mistakes they are making. Some of Google Plus Tips seem like common sense while a couple of the lessons may force you to think a little. The ten lessons here reflect the top ten complaints I see within the Google Plus community as a whole.

Before we get started, I’m directing this post at those that need to read it so don’t take offence that I keep saying “you” throughout the post. The reason for that is because most of us know someone guilty of at least one of these Google Plus crimes. If you know someone like that, now you have a post to send them to so we can educate them on Google Plus etiquette.

Lesson 1: Your Posts Need To Be Public

This is getting better but some people seem to catch on a little slower than others. If you post something on Google plus and send it to anyone but “public” those people will receive notifications and, depending on their settings, may even receive an email. As appealing as that might seem to your marketing side, you need to understand that you’re going to be looked at as a spammer. You will be blocked, un-circled, ignored and disliked.

Private G+ posts or if you have something to share with a specific person or group of people and THEY understand why, it’s perfectly okay to add their name or add that specific circle.

Google Plus Sharing Tip – Share Publicly

Bonus Tip: While on the subject, I recently ran across an excellent post by Leslie P that shows you how to prevent every +1 you make spam your circles with a simple settings change: Don’t Spam Your Friends.

Don’t make me a spammer too! One more thing, while we’re on the subject. If you share to just certain people or circles, I can’t reshare your post publically. Did you know that? So the only way anyone can share your post is to spam their circles. That doesn’t sound like a smart marketing strategy, does it?

Lesson 2: The Internet Isn’t Private

When you circle me and I visit your profile to see if I want to circle you back, I’m looking to see if we’re a good match. We could be a match made in heaven but I’d never know it if I’m greeted with a “SuchAndSuch hasn’t shared anything with you yet” message. Major fail and I will never circle back. If you need that type of privacy, good luck being online in 2014.

Lesson 3: It’s Not All About You

Share other people’s stuff too. When I go to your Google Plus profile or Page to see if I want to circle or follow you back and all I see is link after link of nothing but your latest blog posts, I figure there’s no point in circling you since I’m not there as a way to subscribe to your feed.

Lesson 4: Turn Off The Tweets!

Seriously, it looks horrible and makes you look amateurish when you automate and send your tweets to other social networks like Facebook and Google Plus. Stop it, please.

Lesson 5: Google Plus Is NOT Facebook

It’s so frustrating to see otherwise intelligent people compare Facebook and Google Plus as if they were comparing a Chevy and a Ford. We hear, “G+ doesn’t have the same numbers as Facebook” or “Google Plus is more technical and geeky“. OMG, please shut up. You’re comparing apples and oranges here and most of you are simply repeating what you’ve heard others say. If that’s the case, try an original thought for a change, get smarter friends or stay on Facebook.

Lesson 6: YouTube Comments

This is a BIG but new creation. YouTube and Google Plus now share a commenting system and when you comment on a video, you are given the option to share that comment on Google Plus. I LOVE that! What a great way to cross-promote? But, it’s not so great when you comment over and over on a video. Don’t get me wrong, that is exactly the type of interaction we all want but keep in mind that if you don’t uncheck the “Also share on Google Plus” box on all but the first YouTube comment, your Google Plus is going to look like this…

YouTube Google Plus Tip

You don’t want the exact same video being posted by you over and over; it makes you look like a spammer even though you’re just interacting on a video.

Lesson 7: Update Your Profile – Please

You need to have a somewhat complete G+ profile AND have the permissions set-up where others can actually see it. Your images, who you are, where you’re at (approximate location, not exact location) and what you do are some of the most basic things we want to know so we can decide if we want to circle you back. Without that, it’s going to be a slow process growing your Google Plus presence. Have no fear, spammers and bots will still circle you, they’ll circle anyone.

Lesson 8: Buying Friends… Really?

This one amazes me to no end. The whole idea of building an online community, on any social network, is interaction. Am I right? Isn’t it common sense that buying circles, +1s or comments off Fiverr is exactly the opposite of real interaction? I understand the power of social proof but buying it is only proof that you’re dishonest. Please protect your reputation and, if you ever want any influence at all, don’t lower yourself to these types of low-life tactics. You’re better than that!

Lesson 9: Tag, You’re An Idiot

Does this bother anyone else on Facebook? Someone posts a nice picture or quote and tags everyone they can to draw as much attention as they can. We are seeing a little of that on Google Plus and it’s a spammy thing to do. Tagging someone should be limited to people (that you really know) that have something to do with the post. For example, if I’m sharing your blog post on G+, I’ll probably tag you (in a way – see Lesson 1) by adding you to the share group. A couple of weeks ago I shared a cool Star Trek post and I know Mitch Mitchell well enough to know he’d want to see it so I added him to the share. Beyond something like that, or an actual picture of the person, you’re just spamming.

Lesson 10: The Thank You… Tactic?

I saved this one for last because I personally don’t think it’s that big of a deal but I have seen a lot of complaints about it. Okay, so I share your post or image on Google Plus, either to my profile or page. That gives you additional exposure, obviously. Now say that happened ten times with a post, how do you thank everyone? You can +1 the post and actually say, “Thank you” but apparently that is being viewed as a form of self promotion to some people. The idea is that you’re creating additional buzz for that post by interacting with it.

The best way to thank them would be to return the favor and share something of theirs that you like and your followers would like. That’s not always possible, depending on who shared it, their niche, tastes, etc. Personally, I think the problem here is with those that are making it a crime to thank one another by insisting it’s self-serving. Don’t make it more than it is and don’t be so quick to attack, we’re all here for one another.

Your Lesson/s?

Do you have a lesson to add? Were any of these Google Plus tips helpful for you? Do you know someone that needs to read this? I bet you do so feel free to politely refer them to this page. Your comments, as always, are always welcome here.

Google Plus Related Posts:

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Some stuff I didn’t know Brian.

    I hadn’t realised that if you +1 a post of yours someone has shared it’s considered bad form.

    I usually do it to thank them! I’m not keen on thanking everyone but that seemed like a good compromised.

    I don’t think I’m going to stop that though.

    I’ve seen the circle sharing and it’s irritating when I get a notification about a post.

    The same with tagging if I’m not mentioned in the post!

    Good stuff Brian.

  2. Hey, I got a mention! I hadn’t realized that was called tagging. I also didn’t know about not +1-ing a submission when someone shares something you posted there; I thought that was how you should acknowledge the courtesy, like when people RT your RT of their post; that’s interesting…

  3. I’m not going to stop either Tim, I even click reply and thank them for the share. Those that think that’s self serving on my part will just have to dislike what I’m doing. I understand their point, I just disagree with the intent.

  4. I think that’s just a few of the G+ influencers stirring things up but they’re wrong Mitch. To me, its polite to “thank” those willing to read, comment on and share our content.

  5. Hi,
    Bang on target.Really much needed great tips,you are right growing on Google plus is hard but not impossible.I am trying to grow on G+ but i failed because i treat it like Facebook and not completed profile till many days.And finally i realized that Google plus is not for solo performance it is future of social media. than you for such great tips.

  6. Number 9 is definitely on the rise – its becoming just like Facebook was a while back when people kept adding you to groups and tagging you in updates.

    Highly annoying.

  7. Brian, these are some really interesting tips. Number 1 was very surprising to me. So you are saying just post something publicly and do not do private posting as a general rule. Most of my contacts are other attorneys, so in that case can I post to that circle when I post say a tax or estate article?

  8. Hey Brian,

    Okay, that was some good stuff that I didn’t know. Some of it that is.

    The annoying thing I hate is when they send those private messages of sharing their stuff so like you said they’ve obviously got me in some group and what they share is so out of my niche I don’t even know why they’ve got me in their circles. I mute so many people it’s not even funny and I don’t put everyone who includes me in a circle in one of mine. Just like on Facebook, I don’t have 20 million friends or fans. I try to stick mostly with people I know or I want to know or who impress the heck out of me.

    I also wasn’t aware of the +1 thing but I don’t go crazy on that or tagging people either. Kind of the same thing once again relating to Facebook even though I’m not comparing the two. I find it annoying when you tag me to tell me about something you did that has nothing to do with me. If you want me to see it, email me but stop tagging me darn it. You’re annoying as hell and I’m about to unfriend one guy for constantly doing that to me.

    I personally don’t like the YouTube connection because to me they are two totally different platforms. If we want to share something from YouTube great, we have that option but I hate when people comment and it goes to Google+ when to me it should remain on YouTube. I know, that’s just me but I don’t like that either.

    Thanks for sharing these though Brian, I appreciate it and I’m going to go and check to see what Leslie has said.


  9. I don’t believe it’s any more difficult Sameer, i’s actually easier than Facebook in my opinion; at least as long as Google doesn’t come up with their own strict edge-rank.

  10. Hi Mark, luckily people can’t add us to communities yet and I hope they never will. Tagging doesn’t see to be as bad on G+ as Facebook but it’s still there.

  11. Absolutely Steven, as long as your group (Circle) want to be notified of new posts. We do that with our Hangout Crew whenever we need to quickly share something that we all want/need. Sharing to a circle for collaboration like that is an awesome use Google Plus. I’m referring to things like sharing blog posts and other content; those are better sent publically.

  12. First of all Adrienne, I have to say I feel like celebrating because you not only didn’t go into my spam box, you even skipped moderation and went into approved comment status. That’s exactly how it should be. 🙂

    I always check those that circle me on Google Plus, just like Twitter. I’m pretty open when it comes to circling back, as long as they are somewhat active, real people and not spammy. So far I haven’t restricted those I circle to related niches because bloggers needing tips can be in almost any niche. What I do though is initially put them in a circle I call “Trial run”. From there they can be promoted to a better circle or kicked to the curb, depending on their actions.

    I actually just uncircled and blocked someone today. I’m tagged along with all of his circles every time he posts something and a couple of days ago I explained to him why that was wrong and asked him to pull me from the circles he was adding. Today I got home from work to see he did it 3 times. I tried but now we can’t be friends on G+.

    You’re not alone with the YouTube disappointment, a lot of people are unhappy with it. I’m okay with it but I understand everyone’s point.

    That was a great tip that Leslie shared. I adjusted my settings so now everyone doesn’t see every time I +1 something.

  13. Now I’m doing the happy dance over here Brian. Mitch and I played around and I can only guess it was Chrome. I totally uninstalled it, cleaned my computer, shut it off and then went back through the process of installing it back and tada! Yay!!!

    I get so many people circling me everyday and it’s really overwhelming. I do my best to check them out but I haven’t gotten the hang of keeping up with Google+ as much as I do the other sites. I try though but a lot are so off my niche that I know what they share won’t be of any interest to me which is why I don’t follow a lot of them back. I know though that like you I write about blogging which can benefit everyone so I’m hoping that’s the reason they’re circling me.

    Wow, that’s really something that you reached out to help him learn and he totally ignored you. Yeah, those guys really get under my skin too.

    You do a lot of videos though but for some of us that don’t, I just don’t like it. They are totally different platforms so to me that’s like posting something on Twitter and allowing it to post on Facebook even though that’s not where it belongs. Same point so why doesn’t Google get it!

    I checked out Leslie’s tip and mine was already set up like that. I never know, it’s been so long but I was so proud of myself Yay!!!

    Thanks Brian for the reply and you have an awesome day.


  14. Since we started using the Google+ strategy of sharing, commenting or +1-ing posts from people and businesses in our circles, we have seen a 50% increase in people following our Google+ page, as well as a 200% jump in people that have shared, commented or +1-ed our posts. Of course, you have to be selective in posts that you engage with on.

  15. While it may sound funny, since Google Plus are Google themselves, if you can manage to gain fair bit of +1’s from established users, your ranking in Google itself will tremendously boost.So it is really important to engage in Google Plus community.

  16. Hi Brain,
    An awesome post on google plus tips. Really these day authority has been tough subject here. So using google plus effectively would surely help in quickly increasing authority. Thanks for all above mentioned google + tips.

  17. I have yet to really kick my Google Plus efforts into high gear, but I’m getting there. I’d highly suggest anyone to start using it, because Google is putting a ton of emphasis on authorship and social signals.

    Also, as you mentioned above, I would highly suggest that no one buy any followers. That’s dishonest, a huge waste of money and people will catch on.

  18. If you are very active in Google+, your Google Authorship will also improve. Having a good Authorship can help you improve your Google SERPS as well as more people will add you to their circle.
    Communities are another great source of traffic.

  19. Authorship rank is a new metric introduced to provide a higher rank in the Search Engine Results. If we can learn to dominate and leverage it, it would be a great asset to our blogs.

  20. Great post. With the announcement of Google doing away with Google+ the other day, do you still think its worth focusing time on?

  21. Thanks for a helpful post on google,Personally i never stress more on google plus after going through your points i will definitely give it a try to gain real users in it too

  22. I agree with you that why people are compairing facebook with google+. Google plus is very nice and good than facebook in every aspect. As you already say apple and oranges

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