My Google Plus Journey - Novice to Now
Tips for sharing your photos to G+
I have received quite a few requests from new Google Plus members asking for advice on the best way to post photos. Rather than rewrite a response each time, I thought I’d make a blog post for frequent referral. If your goal is for greater engagement, more comments, Plus 1's and shares, and ultimately in more circles; and I am assuming of course this is the case, then there are a few tips I can give that may help. There are many blog and forum posts on this topic and I have linked to a few at the bottom which I have found helpful, and give better detail than my own. PLEASE NOTE – I am by no means an expert on this, but I do get asked for advice and love to help where I can. This is simply a, high-level outline of my own experience where I started with nothing, and now I am in nearly 10,000 circles in just over 6 months. To see my own work, please visit Tony Heyward Images (http://www.tonyheywardimages.com.au) and at G+ Tony Heyward
How does your profile look? Visit your own “About” tab on your profile and be concise and accurate about how you want to portray yourself. A tip that helped me was once I’d written my bio and other information I then accessed G+ as a guest and then hovered the mouse over my own name. When you do this on G+, a small summary is displayed on that profile and includes a snippet of that person’s information. Make the effort to ensure your bio is written in such a way, as to convey the right information in this screen, as this may mean the difference between whether you are added to circles or not. People will often not want to dig too deeply into another persons’ profile to find out what they’re about, so making pertinent information easily accessible is a benefit. Always include a photo of yourself: preferably a decent one. When I see a profile on my stream or in my notifications which only has that default blank Google silhouette, I pretty much ignore them. A decent photo that is of you, not a cartoon or other abstract image, says to me that you are a real person, and you intend to present real posts. We are all wary of SPAM, and you don’t want to be seen as someone who is hiding themselves. Present youself with a tidy profile: The first thing I was taught (thank you Zvonimir) when I joined Google Plus was to change my account settings so as to stop displaying community posts in my stream. When you do this, people who visit you will see a variety of your work as public posts, rather than multiple versions of the same photo posted to every community. To do this click on the left menu drop-down and select settings. Towards the bottom you'll see a check box _Show your Google+ communities posts on the Posts tab of your Google+ profile_ Make sure this checkbox is blank. Of course, you may want to leave this checked, but if this is the case you should always consider how your profile stream will look to others and also consider how you share to communities.
How Do You Post?
First post publicly, and then consider sharing that public post to a community. Generally I wait a few hours, days or longer before sharing in order to gain greater exposure for the same image. A lot of those who have you in their circles may also belong to the same communities to which you post. In this case these people will just see your same post several times in their home stream and may only engage on one, or worse, regard your post as something akin to “SPAM”. It also means that others who come on line to Google Plus at a later time will miss all your posts. Another common mistake is that people may post to a private community, then attempt to share that image publicly. Whilst G+ is really geared towards public sharing, the team works hard to give members the option to protect information, and allow community by invitation only. What happens is that theme pages and individuals who like your work enough to share it, are blocked from doing so if your original post is a closed or private share. Tag your posts: You will find pages that have great shares and you should include these in your circles. I personally recommend +Landscape Photography +Best Top Photographer Group (Best Top Photographer website) +ShowYourBestWork +PhotoMania (insert your country) as a good place to start but there are dozens of other fantastic theme pages. Keep the tags appropriate to your work (ie: don't tag Landscape photography for a post of a portrait). When you visit these pages see their shares to get an idea of the quality and also click on originally shared to see the original post. Do this a few times and you'll soon get an idea of how prolific content creators you admire tag their posts. Also on these same theme pages, visit the About tab and you'll see there will be a section that tells you how to tag for this theme page eg: #landscapephotography curated by +(21 digit number). This will send a notification to both the page and the curators, and the hash tag makes your post visible in searches on the theme (eg: #landscapephotography). N/B – Disclosure – I am an editor, curator and member of these mentioned themes so I am naturally biased towards these.
When Do You Post?
Consider the time of day you post: Ask yourself what geographical region/s are you mostly targeting and what time of day are they most active. There is no easy answer to this and much of it is trial and error, but engagement on a post may be as much about the content, as about ensuring your followers are awake. For example if you live in Australia, and you get up and post at 8am on a Monday, many of those who have you in their circle may live in the US or EU and it will be late night or very early morning for them on the weekend and a large proportion of your audience are unlikely to be on-line. By the time these persons become active, your post is buried beneath many others and may be missed altogether. On this same topic, certain individuals and groups are active at different times – I have seen studies which suggest one network is more active during work hours, whilst another might be more active during recreational hours. Thank you to Brianna Smith for this guide: Facebook – between 10 am and 4pm Monday thru Thursday. Twitter – between 1pm and 3pm Monday thru Thursday. LinkedIn – focus on posting before and after business hours, 7 am to 9 am and 5pm to 6pm Tuesday thru Thursday. Google+ – 9am to 11am on workdays. Pinterest – This is the one social network you should focus on posting during weekday evenings and on the weekends. specifically 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am on weekdays. The best time to pin items on Pinterest is on Saturday morning.
Use Google Tools to help here - start with Google +Timing . Even the pattern in some countries varies between hours of peak usage. See this very enlightening graphic.
What Do You Post?
The first and most obvious rule is to be a content creator. We aren't all acclaimed artists and G+ is about real people, sharing their own journeys so don’t be afraid to share because you may deem your work of lesser quality than others. We are all our own worst critics so by all means put yourself out there! Having said that, post what you believe to be your own best quality. My reference in this article is geared towards photography but the same general rule applies. I know that some of my early posts fall far short of my later works, but at the time they were quality to me and that’s what I shared, and that’s how I presented myself. To put it bluntly, if you’re about photography, then too much sharing of funny cat memes, cartoons or offensive materials will lose you a lot of credibility very quickly. Treat your G+ stream as an active and interactive portfolio.Sharing is good, in moderation. Try to avoid tagging a shared image to themed pages, as you may become known as a sharer, rather than a creator. This means that often your posts may be overlooked as these theme pages generally only share original works. Remember, the curators of these pages look through hundreds or even thousands of images every week to select the best shares. So being visible, clean and known for only quality original content helps get you noticed. Also, too many shares can make your stream a little messy. Your stream is the depiction of your personality and demonstrates how you want to portray yourself to the Google Plus community. If you really want to share a lot of work, consider starting your own theme page or looking for the opportunity to curate for an existing one. Always remember the golden rule – Don’t plagiarise work, only share with credit to the content creator!! – and when you credit, where possible (ie: when the original content is from G+ and not an external source) then link to that profile so they are notified, and others can easily click through to that persons profile.
Be friendly, be nice! It sounds simple but is all too easily forgotten. If you want people to engage with your posts, engage with theirs. Plus 1, leave comments complimenting their work and don’t forget to leave a comment on your own post thanking those who've commented on yours. People like reciprocity, this may also mean if someone adds you to their circle, consider adding them to your own. Sometimes you might find that someone adds you to their circles, but their content does not suit what you usually search for or joined G+ for in the first place. You may not wish to add some of these people at all but another consideration is to create a special circle just for these people. Every so often, you can revisit that circle and see where those people are in relation to your own G+ journey. You might find that a person your circled in return who initially only had a few followers and a few, uninteresting posts, later proves to be a highly active individual with great engagement and a prolific sharer. On the subject of circles, engage in Circle Sharing. Once you have made some circles of your own, and found themed pages and individuals who create and share fantastic, quality content, you will find these profiles will often share entire circles publicly. You can elect then to import this circle into your own, and increase the quality and quantity of content that appears in your stream. The other bonus is that when you add any profile to your circles, whether individually or in bulk such as importing another circle, every person will be notified that they are now in your circles. If your profile and content appeals to them, they will likely choose to circle you in return and the ripples then flow on from there. In addition to this, there are many active circle sharing projects in which anyone can participate, and potentially become part of a larger shared circle. This is a fantastic way to find new connections both individually and collectively and really gives a boost in creating a significant G+ presence. Two such fantastic examples are the G+ Photography Engager’s Circle organised by the Photo Exchange Club (PEC) and the High Quality Sharing Project (HQSP). Repeat Caveat: These two pages are ones in which I also participate actively which why I have singled them out. There are many others which may prove more or less useful to your own circumstances..
I realise that, as they say in the automotive industry, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) but this is a snapshot of my own journey. Advice and opinions should be sought from a range of sources to tailor your own approach to your Google Plus experience and goals. Whilst much more could be said on this topic, I will leave this here as it is already longer than I originally intended.