The new Google+ app is here, and this article shows you, step by step, how to take advantage of the new changes so your posts are appealing to both mobile and desktop users.
In the new app, media posts are now larger than life with photos stealing the spotlight, while text-only posts seem to stand out like little islands of white paper in a sea of colors and dark grays. It’s all visually stunning, but unfortunately many readers shake their heads in shame because their ability to skim full posts has been taken away.
Don’t despair, as this focus on brevity is the perfect opportunity to format your posts with attention-grabbing titles and relevant images.
How the mobile stream has changed
The app truncates text, overlays text onto media, and even the media itself is truncated to dimensions similar to that of mailing envelopes. Take a look at this comparison of the iPhone and Android G+ Apps.
(Major thanks to quick-draw Alex Johnson for the iPhone screenshot)
As you can see, the overlying white text is truncated differently across these three devices. It seems Android does not register line breaks, and depending on your version, bold and italics may not work. What is a social media rockstar to do?
Before you start posting, search your topic.
What is the overall theme of your post? Use the Google+ search bar to open a discussion about your subject. If you are sharing a link to your blog article, this might be the category. This is a great SEO practice, especially for photographers who may not want to add descriptions or captions to their photo posts.
By joining the discussion, your post will now appear in the stream for this particular search term, even if you don’t use these keywords directly in your post.
Hook the reader and clearly explain the content of the post in ten words or less.
Newspaper articles are structured so that the title and opening sentence immediately answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Questions are also a great way to grab attention.
Beautify your posts with a bold title and an italicized subtitle, each followed by double line breaks.
Note: You may not even need a subtitle or additional information. For example, if you are sharing a Youtube video for entertainment value only, a short title like “I found this funny” is enough. Please state something though. Your posts are less likely to be ignored if you add a personal touch to them. Be real; not an auto-poster.
If you embed the link, remove the URL
One link is enough. Tidy up your post by deleting that lengthy URL. You know what I’m talking about. http://hereisalink.tomyblog.com/2011/12/04/that-is-unsightly-and-takes-up-too-much-space-so-please-remove-this-after-it-embeds-itself/
Check the quality of the attached link image!
When you attach links, the image that is pulled from the website becomes the background for the post. If the image is too tall, too wide (in this case), or low quality, it will make your post ugly like in this next picture.
Remove the attached image for a clean, text-only post.
The post now looks clean on desktop and mobile, but it’s not brilliant yet.
Upload an eye-popping graphic in place of embedded link
If you are not a graphic artist, one quick and dirty solution is to search Google Images for a solid color rectangular background. Then after uploading the background to the post, click on Add Text.
If you are feeling brave, click on Edit photos first (and click on the pencil icon on the next screen) to play with crop and the lomo effect in the Creative Kit.
Then add the title of the link into the middle area.
Now we’re getting noticed!
Wow! Anyone scrolling through the stream, whether on the desktop or mobile versions, is going to stop and investigate this brilliantly crafted post. It can’t be ignored!
Makes a huge difference, doesn’t it?
Save hashtags for the end of the post
If your post content is descriptive enough to be found in search, hashtags are unnecessary in my opinion. If you must have them, I suggest putting them last so they do not wind up in the snippet.
Post to public
I am restating the obvious here. For maximum visibility, always post to public. The only reason these tutorial images say “Limited” is because I was sharing them to myself for testing purposes.
Follow up in the comments
Keep the conversation alive and more users will join in, continually bumping your hot post to the top of the stream.
Don’t ask for +1′s or reshares
Please don’t. If your post is brilliant and worth sharing, people will do the obvious.
Thanks for reading this tutorial! Did I miss any tips for brilliant posts? Tell me what you think in the comments below!