social media toolsAre you struggling to gain traction on Google+?

Do you want to optimize your Google+ presence?

If you want to dominate social media, you have to distribute rich media content efficiently and effectively. Google+ helps you do that and more.

Read on to discover 13 tools that integrate with Google+ to help you create your brand’s media empire.

#1: Take Advantage of the YouTube Integration

If you have a YouTube channel but haven’t taken advantage of its relationship with Google+, you need to. Whether you’ve already established yourself on YouTube (or Google+), you’ll reach a wider audience when you use them in conjunction. Take advantage of the integration!

google+ video share post

Share your YouTube videos on Google+ to reach more people and garner more engagement.

For example, when you share a YouTube video to Google+, users can view the video within Google+. Any comments on that Google+ share show up as comments on your YouTube video.

#2: Increase Your Reach

Webinars are a powerful tool for building email lists and a loyal audience. Unfortunately, webinar software can be clunky and expensive. Google+ has an easy alternative.

Hangouts On Air provides a free video broadcasting service that lets you stream a live feed to your YouTube channel for recording, and of course is completely integrated with Google+.

google+ hangouts on air tab

Hangouts On Air lets you reach your Google+ and YouTube audiences, as well as record your session.

Why is it important to use? According to Stephan Hovnanian, using Hangouts On Air drastically increases your brand’s reach.

If you’re looking to build your own Hangouts On Air audience, I recommend visiting HOAShows and submitting your hangout to the directory. HOAShows is one of the more robust and regularly updated Hangouts On Air directories. (It’s also a great place to find other great Hangouts On Air.)

#3: Keep the Conversation Going

With Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based file management and storage service, you can share an incredible amount of information with your Google+ audience, including presentation slideshows, PDFs and even password-protected documents.

google drive

Google Drive adds a new dimension to sharing your valuable content.

These supplemental documents (e.g., worksheets and notes with key takeaways) add significant value to your Hangouts On Air and can keep the conversation going after your event.

#4: Store Your Pictures

How are you backing up the pictures from your phone? Did you know you can use Google+ to store your pictures for safekeeping? Google+ is a reliable way to store your pictures, and then delete them from your phone.

Once uploaded, you can highlight the important pictures, enhance them so they look better or create image galleries—and easily share all of them.

#5: Extend the Life of Your Content

Google+ Embedded Posts is a cool feature that lets you share your Google+ posts on your blog.

The benefits of embedded posts are twofold. First, post content created within Google+ is eventually lost within the news stream. Embedding that same post on your blog extends the life of the content.

hubspot's embedded google+ post

Share your content on Google+ and your blog for cross-platform engagement.

Second, Google+ content embedded on your blog is directly tied to your Google+ profile. If your readers are logged into their Google+ accounts, any +1s, shares or comments show on both your blog and your Google+ content.

In the example below, HubSpot embedded a Google+ post on their blog. The embedded post records +1s and shares just as if the user was on Google+ instead of the website.

#6: Create Animated Videos with Photos

Videos are popular because they’re visually attractive and (usually) a quick way to consume content.

Google+’s Auto Awesome feature lets you create animated videos with photos, videos or both. It’s a really cool effect and has endless possibilities for video-minded marketers.

To create your video using Auto Awesome on Google+, you’ll need to download the Google+ app for your smartphone and make sure you have the correct settings enabled. Go into Settings > Camera Settings and turn on Auto Backup, Auto Awesome and Auto Enhance.

After taking your pictures, upload them to Google+, then wait a few minutes and check your photo album. Google will automatically make the video.

Here’s a video that walks you through the process.

#7: Take Full Advantage of Images

Visual content is the best way to catch your audience’s attention. Wouldn’t it be great if all social networks agreed to use the same dimensions for shared images? As it stands, we’re stuck formatting images to match the various dimensions for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The truth is, not every image we want to share fits within each restricted space. We’re forced to do one of three things to share images across platforms: crop or resize the image, share it and have it look odd or not share the image at all. None are ideal outcomes.

Google+ is different. It doesn’t auto-crop your images or require you to resize them before posting.

full size image on google+

Sharing full-size images is a great way to tell a visual story.

The image above shared by Jesse Wojdylo is impressive because you can see the full picture and feel the intensity of it. Google+ didn’t crop or adjust the picture and the result is that readers are intrigued by the photo and are compelled to engage with it.

#8: Format Your Posts

Readers want to consume as much information as they can in as little time as possible. Scannable content is a must if you want any social media marketing success at all.

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook don’t let you format your post content. That means you can’t always draw your reader’s eye to the important parts of your post (e.g., links or media you’re promoting).

Google+, on the other hand, allows you to add simple variables such as “*” for bold and “_” for italics to quickly grab your readers’ attention.

text formatted in google+ post

Post formatting helps your most valuable content stand out.

In the image above, you can see how I used strategic bolding and links to guide my readers’ eyes through my post and draw them to the most important parts.

#9: Use Relevant Hashtags

Just like Twitter and Instagram (and unlike Facebook), hashtags can have a notable impact on reaching a targeted audience on Google+. The Explore feature uses hashtags to help Google+ users quickly find and interact with topics they’re interested in.

trending hashtags on google+

Use Explore to find out which hashtags are trending.

When you create sharable content, check Explore to see how your topic relates to trending hashtags and use them if they apply. Or if you see a hashtag relevant to your brand or industry, create content around that topic and share it (including the hashtag, of course).

#10: SoundCloud

No media empire is complete without its own broadcasting network. Google+ has integrated SoundCloud, the audio platform that enables sound creators to upload, record, promote and share their originally created sounds.

This means you can share files from SoundCloud and play them from within a Google+ post. Now your audience can consume, comment and share your audio content without having to leave Google+. It’s just one more way to increase your content’s reach.

soundcloud post on google+

You can’t ignore the importance of audio content. SoundCloud lets you capitalize on it within Google+.

#11: Segment Your Audience

Google+ circles are one of the most important tools of Google+. Unlike other social networks, circles are much more than “people who see your content.” They’re more like subscribers.

As you connect with other Google+ members (or they connect with you), you can place them in circles, which are essentially lists that let you easily segment contacts.

When Google+ connections give you permission (and make no mistake, permission is very important) to contact them, you can directly notify them via circles. To distribute permission-based, targeted traffic to your posts, just include “circle” in the to: field of your post shares.

I want to make a comment about proper Google+ etiquette. While this type of contact is similar to the way you contact email subscribers, it’s important note that you should never notify your Google+ connections via email. Their permission to contact them only extends to Google+.

send email option on google+ post

Respect Google+ etiquette to gain trust and keep your subscribers.

If you’d like a little more information about circles, the video below gives a brief explanation.

#12: Use +Post Ads

+Post ads take Google+ posts and create display ads that run across Google’s ad network of over two million web properties. According to Google, +post ads are way to “amplify your content and create conversations across the web.”

This is a revolutionary concept for marketers from many standpoints, but most notably the direction of engagement.

google+ post ad

+Post ads drive traffic to your Google+ profile, not away.

Twitter and Facebook ads run inside their respective social networks and work to push consumers to outside websites—away from the network.

Google +post ads run outside of the network and work to pull consumers back to Google+. +Post Ads let people comment, join a hangout, +1 or follow your brand right from within the ad.

#13: Track In-Depth Analytics

Marketers have to track social media marketing efforts and the key performance indicators (KPIs) attached to them.

You can find many analytics tools that integrate with Google+, but here are my recommendations (all either free or with quality free options): SumAll, CircleCount and Steady Demand.

SumAll analyzes more than just Google+, and marketers will enjoy the visual representation of published posts, post engagement and new Google+ followers.

CircleCount was one of the first tools to track activity within Google+. It has continued to be a valuable tool because it provides a database of influencers, allowing you to make important connections.

google+ analytics

CircleCount’s database of influencers is an important resource for marketers.

Steady Demand’s Google+ Brand Page Audit tool is a good option for Google+ pages. This free tool quickly analyzes your Google+ brand page to make sure you’ve properly set up all of the basic functionality Google+ brand pages have to offer.


I’m not suggesting you use Google+ as your sole marketing platform. Google+ is complementary to your owned web properties, not a replacement. Google+ updates enhance media creation and the way that published content is consumed. The distribution, segmentation and analysis capabilities of Google+ provide marketers with an ecosystem of limitless potential, especially when used in conjunction with existing social identities.

What do you think? Have you had success on Google+? Have you used any of the tools listed here? Leave your experience and questions in the comments.

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  • michaelwroberts

    I hadn’t heard about +Post ads before. That’s an awesome way to be able to pay to promote content and a Plus page. Has anyone here run these types of ads before? I’d love to hear about they’re working out for people.

  • Excellent summary, Ryan. One quick note: Google+ +Post Ads are still in beta, being tested by a few Google+ brand partners, and have not yet been made available to other users.

  • @michaelwroberts:disqus +Post Ads are still in beta as @trappermark:disqus mentions below. But they are an exciting feature to look forward to when released to the public!

  • @trappermark:disqus I for one am looking forward to opportunity to test out +Post Ads when they become available to the wider market. Appreciate you stopping by here!

  • Awesome post Ryan! Thanks for breaking all this down for us!

  • @stephsammons:disqus my pleasure. I’m glad you took some value out of it!

  • Definitely didn’t know you could bold text in Google+. I love bolding important words! Will be using that tip on a regular basis. Thanks!

  • CarlosVelez

    Regarding #5, embedding G+ posts into blogs…would that be considered duplicate content? That is, will the algo choose one version (presumably the Google Plus version) at the expense of the blog version?

  • @Chris_Macro:disqus using Bold and Italics is a great way to make your content stand out on Google+. It also helps with driving traffic as you can use Bold for CTAs.

  • @CarlosVelez:disqus The G+ embedded posts will not be considered embedded content as they’re really just windows to the actual post in Google+. Google will rank your blog page for the content included with the G+ embedded post.

    I would NOT use G+ embedded posts as the only content on a blog page. They’re meant to highlight conversations inside G+ not act as actual blog posts.

    Does that make sense?

  • I’m starting to like Google+ more and more each day. Recently we started really using it more to push content and we are starting to see a nice impact from it.

  • @36creative:disqus have you tried hangouts or creating any original content on Google+? I’ve found these two forms of content go a long way.

  • We haven’t tried Hangouts yet but it is something we are brainstorming. Maybe something our clients can watch to keep retention numbers up.

  • @36creative:disqus hangouts are also great for creating deep resources on topics as the recording YouTube video from Hangouts on Air provides easy format and very searchable.

  • CarlosVelez

    Makes complete sense. Thanks.

  • excellent and informative piece, i think pretty soon we will see follow
    +Ryan Hanley thank you for this. instead of the normal
    @ryanhanley:disqus thank you for this.

    how long will it take no idea? but that is where my bets are going

  • @mcccode:disqus If Social Media Examiner was using Google+ Comments (which are a little buggy and not 100% approved by G+) then that would be possible. I’ve tested them on my own site with success.

    Conversations happen on Google+, there is no better way to say it.

  • Outstanding review of Google+ tools @ryanhanley:disqus. I’m using them all except for Soundcloud (need to get going on that!) and post ads since they’re not widely available yet. I’m sharing this with my peeps.!

  • @blogsquad:disqus I’ve seen some cool things from people like Chris Brogan doing short thoughts on Soundcloud and then sharing them. I’ve also done audio versions of blog posts and shared those with some success.

  • I used to record and share blog posts with Audioboo and then another tool, I can’t remember. Then just got busy and stopped. It is a great way to extend the reach of your content though.

  • yep i have also experienced excellent interactivity on G+

  • I was very sorry Google+ tied my YouTube account to my Google Business Page instead of my personal Google+ account. I don’t want to maintain two pages – my personal and business page. I know if I delete my Business Page, my videos will be gone. The good news is I have very few and I downloaded them. Can I delete my Business Page, then set up YouTube under my personal account and reload the videos?

  • Nicely done! Great information. I’ve been struggling with my Google + page – have a hard time finding value in it but these suggestions are definitely worth trying! Thanks for the info.

  • Great tips @ryanhanley:disqus! I didn’t know about HOAShows and have been looking for some HOAs to attend. I’m hoping to integrate those into my content strategy here very soon.

  • Awesome post @ryanhanley:disqus! Love this. Looking to check new resources. 🙂

  • Chris Tucker

    Careful what you wish for :-0

  • Chris Tucker

    Hoping they will allow us to edit titles and descriptions of links in posts soon!

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  • Hey Ryan – Great compilation here. Also, thanks for the reminder to clean up my circles. 🙂

  • Excellent post. I plan to use the embedded post feature. I was trying to figure out how to send my blog posts to Google + without paying for a WordPress plugin. I never thought of doing the opposite.

  • JonYoffie

    Great article. So much good stuff happening on Google+. I’m continually surprised at how few people and businesses are taking advantage.

  • Hi Ryan, good to ‘read’ you here too! Very good article, and very useful tips. I still miss a tool that would tell me the Reach of Google+ posts, and I don’t think Google will release this in the short term. Honestly, I don’t care so much about Reach as a care about Engagement, but I’d love to use those figures every time someone complains Facebook Reach is bad, and blah, blah, blah… 🙂

  • @disqus_O1ahUSQzPb:disqus I agree with you. It seems silly, though they may be trying to avoid anchor text abuse.

  • @millercathy:disqus you can change which page is attached to your YouTube account. Go into your YouTube setting and follow the instructions. You’re not stuck with that setting.

  • @suecandlesoffmaincom:disqus Have you built up your personal profile yet or just your business page?

  • @paulserwin:disqus I’ve found attending HOAs are a guest to be an incredible tool for audience building… but truthfully it all depends on the host. Good host, goog hangout… bad host…

  • No doubt @jeffkorhan:disqus, I’m happy to finally be part of the SME contributor family.

  • @assistingauthors:disqus I definitely would caution you against auto-posting to google+. That is not a strategy that usually produces results.

  • @JonYoffie:disqus me too!

  • @AntonioCalero:disqus what exactly are your looking for when you say reach? SteadyDemand has some good figures and the new Views metric gives you an enterprise wide reach… But you’re right there aren’t any hard numbers on reach yet.

  • This explains exactly why Google+ is the next best thing 🙂 All we need to do is understand its capabilities, and then really take the time to apply them. And yes, Google Hangouts are SO POWERFUL – love them! Awesome post, Ryan!

  • Google+ is one of the most powerful social media tools. If done right, it could help you boost your brand’s presence online and build a reputation towards your followers. It’s imperative to know how to use it the right way and take advantage of its full potential.

  • Great Post. Loved reading. Never knew that there were so many google tools which actually helps in marketing 🙂

  • Uma Mahi

    That was exactly my thought @Nikky StylishWalks:disqus. I am saving this post to do more research on some of the tools. Thank you so much @ryanhanley:disqus

  • very nice article… probably a good way to try out since g+ is still at nascent stage to explore

  • +Ryan Hanley, perhaps you could tell me or maybe someone here could I have asked this question throughout a couple of communities and circles and other users of Google+, but just have not received a straight out answer from anyone yet about the HOA. Can I join, participate or even start my own HOA using a low level professional video camera such as a Sony HXR NX 70u video camera instead of using my web camera on my laptop. This is a much higher quality camera than a typical consumer based one and I need to know this before I purchase it. (very expensive). I do enjoy reading your posts and recognize a few others here. Love Google+

  • Thanks @ryanhanley:disqus for sharing such valuable tools to improve our Google+ marketing .

  • Just my business page:

  • I initially found circles a little confusing but in point 11 the video cleared things up. Thanks for the tips guys.

  • Sandeep Jaiswal

    Great post, Ryan! Keep it up.

  • @disqus_tUyH0es6VU:disqus circles definitely can be confusing and I haven’t always used them correctly but they are powerful.

  • @arthurmorehead:disqus you absolutely can. Always as you can connect it to your computer and the camera has the capabilities of live streaming there is no restriction from the HOA side as to what kind of camera you use.

    I know a bunch of people using Canon Dslr cameras for their HOA work.

  • @uma_mahi:disqus and @stylishwalks:disqus you’re very welcome. The best part is Google is working hard on even more tools and so are many 3rd party developers… Lots more to come.

  • @JohnLeeDumas:disqus appreciate that buddy. HOAs in particular have a ton of power for creators. The ability to capture high quality content and host it on YouTube is feeding Google exactly what it wants. Great to see you here.

  • @barbaramckinney:disqus one of the great things about Google+ is that even using just some of the tools there is immense benefit. Thanks!

  • Paul_Salais

    Great tips!

    The YouTube/Google+ integration is great, but I have run into a problem. I now have a Google+ page for our company’s local business for Google Maps and a Google+ page for my company’s YouTube. Is there a best way of integrating the two Google+ pages without having to delete the YouTube channel or local business page?

    Any suggestions would be great!

  • wendyrhernandez

    I enjoyed your article, Ryan. You pointed out several Google+ features that are new to me. Specifically, I am intrigued by the integration of SoundCloud with G+, and this is something I will be exploring soon.

    Thanks for the great read!

  • @wendyrhernandez:disqus the Soundcloud piece is something no one is really taken a hold of yet… Looking forward to what you do with it.

  • @Paul_Salais:disqus You can reassign which page your YouTube channel is attached to… then if it makes sense I’d delete the duplicate page and just run off the page attached to Google Local and YouTube.

  • Everything I have read said after 14 days of the switch to the Business Page, you cannot change the setting. I see no option under Settings to switch to my Personal Page.- in fact it looks like I have to go to Google-this is what their Help section shows: We know how easy it is to get a response from Google+ 🙁

    If you recently connected your YouTube channel to Google+, but connected to the wrong Google+ profile or page, don’t worry. Here’s how to connect your channel to the right profile or page:

    Disconnect your channel from Google+. Note that you can only do this within 14 days of connecting your channel.

    Then link your channel to the Google+ page or profile you want.

    If you connected your channel to Google+ over 14 days ago, try submitting the form via the link below. We’ll help you get your channel connected to the right profile or page.

  • Thats great thank you Ryan, The other thing I am trying to figure out is why I am not getting notifications via email from Google when people within my circles are posting?. This has just recently changed. Is there a setting for this just as there is for communities?

  • Paul_Salais

    I appreciate your response, @ryanhanley:disqus! After doing a bit more research, the Local Business Page acts as a separate type of Google+ page. When you connect your YouTube to a Google+ account it is a brand / product page from what I understand. Unfortunately that causes conflict when you try to merge the two “types” of pages. It’s a tad bit confusing…

  • Post Ads, Sound Cloud integration and some help organizing my circles! This is a great article @ryanhanley:disqus . It’s now in my “reference forever” file!

  • So they operate like an iframe?

  • John Tyler

    In the photos section you forgot to mention Google Business View.
    Having a virtual tour of your business surfacing on the See Inside box is a great marketing tool, especially for SMBs.

  • Thanks, I wasn’t aware of a couple of these, including the SoundCloud integration. That gives me an idea for something.

  • Dreamgirlz Elite Strippers

    google has edited my google plus page taken away its content disabled its url and verified an old page of mine that i never used. I am guessing its trying to merge a duplicate listing in google maps and google + places. I just want my old page back wit a lll my followers +1s and content that as linked to my website but now is not. How do i fix this ?

  • Kyle Giesbrecht

    14. Google Maps Business View – fill out that about page with rich professional imagery and a “see inside” info box, linking directly to your street view virtual tour!

  • Uh oh that’s how it started on Facebook also…..wait for it…..

  • @deborahtutnauer:disqus similar yes.

  • @suecandlesoffmaincom:disqus Have you been spending anytime in Communities commenting? That’s a great way to build relationships and connections.

  • @arthurmorehead:disqus if you go to your settings page there is a whole section on what notifications you get.

  • @deborahtutnauer:disqus It’s great to see you here and I’m so glad it connected with you!

  • Thanks for that John.

  • I am not thrilled about it as this probably means our so called free market reach will soon come to an end with Google. No more free HOA or very limited use. Could it be that we will have to pay to start a community just as it has with That the way its done these days with social media. Work off the backs off it’s early members to build huge audiences and internet traffic for free and then WHACK! reward them fees and/or take away their traffic base.
    I surely hope Google isn’t planning on doing this

  • I’m talking about the same Reach figures offered by Facebook, the ones that have half the world upset with Facebook’s algorithm and the other half defending its rationale. Many people from the first group claim that that filtering does not happen on other networks like Twitter or Google+, but the reality is even without ‘EdgeRank’, nobody would be able to get 100% Reach… and this is where I’d like to see some figures on other networks.

  • Back at you @ryanhanley:disqus !

  • guptaabhijit318

    I totally agree with you and i believe that Google Plus is the major thing which gives good links and drives traffic to your website. Google Plus is playing very important role incerasing traffic of website. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • jimmy23

    can you make money using ads with Google+ and how?

  • Ryan,

    Great article and many thanks for the mention of HOAShows.Com.

  • Aren’t most people struggling to gain traction on Google+? The truth is Google+ and YouTube are time consuming endeavours, nofollow tags take away their usefulness as a link building medium so unless you plan to spend countless hours promoting your Google+ or YouTube account it is likely to just sit there unobserved. Your time is better spent building positive “dofollow” links that will increase your “own website” identity rather than a virtual identity for an account that you have no control over. Does it really make sense to spend a lot of time working to build up a following of Google+ members if you can get far more followers with less effort on more popular social media sites such as Twitter. I can pickup a hundred followers a day on Twitter with little effort, if I try to do the same thing on your Google+ account it will be suspended so fast it will make your head spin.

  • Interesting post. Many thanks for sharing and regards from italy

  • You’re very welcome Mark!

  • @apexcapstone:disqus is followers is what you’re after, there are tactics on every platform to gain followers.

    I’m not sure what followers get you. Additionally Google+ provides both search and social benefit. But if you’re chasing “DoFollow” links than in general social media is probably not where your time is best spent.

  • @kyle_giesbrecht:disqus that’s a good one.

  • Great tips Ryan Hanley! Thank you!
    Regarding #3
    We’ve tried to share GDrive presentations on our G+ stream but
    we’ve allways ended up with just a link (they don’t show up in the
    stream as presentaion slideshows). All GDrive docs were set to “public” and
    we’ve followed the instructions on
    Is there something else we’re missing?
    Thank you.

  • This was an incredibly helpful post! I’ve been reluctant to spend a lot of time on G+ simply because it doesn’t feel very intuitive to me. However, I set up a little experiment for myself this week to basically treat G+ like I generally treat FB and I’m already, just a couple days in, getting some interesting results. I’m also finding much more interaction and engagement on G+. I do a weekly HOA called #blogworkshop… so I’m excited to check out the directory and add our hangout. Now to just get it integrated with G+! Thanks again for such a thorough article!

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  • Great article. Soundcloud is interesting, but I’m not sure what content to create or if it’s worthwhile. Seems a bit redundant and not likely as effective as a YouTube video. Unless of course you’re a musician.

  • @momtohanna:disqus I’ve heard it a hundred times. There is just more true engagement and conversations happening on Google+. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  • @disqus_HchZneO6CJ:disqus if you’re good with the visual component of YouTube then it probably doesn’t make sense to use SoundCloud. Some aren’t though and also if you podcast.

  • This is brilliant Ryan. Thanks so much. It’s a challenge to get a handle on Google + This simplifies it. I always feel a little more ahead of the curve when I check into Social Media Examiner.

  • Hey Ryan I love the fact that there is a caption on that image of the G+ post that says “Never Click This!” Lol, that’s awesome and a great idea to tell people this. It seems like a good idea at the time to email everyone, but people need to refrain from doing this unless they have otherwise told this notification circle that this was going to happen before they opt in so to speak.

    You are the man my friend.

  • Sherry Hayes-Peirce

    Great posts! Reading at the beginning of 2015 never too late to add Google+ to marketing plans!

  • Well guys from my year end analytics it appears that my blog has had its worse year ever. No reason, always had good strong content, good image SEO, never spammed anyone, just a good clean site. Use to have a Page 4 ranking. And how was your end year results?