How to schedule Google+ Posts
While I do not recommend trying to fully automate all of your social media activity, as that defeats the purpose of social networking, I do recommend that businesses with an active blog find a way to re-post old blog entries. Re-posting blog entries is great for reminding your followers on great points you've made, as well as sharing that content with new followers who might not have seen the post the first time around.
It's also important that businesses use social media to share content from other sources that your followers may find interesting, but you don't want to spam them with a bunch of links just because you found 5 interesting articles to share. That kind of activity needs to spread out throughout the course of the day.
I have talked about using Buffer for scheduling Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter activity, and many WordPress users swear by TweetOldPost. I have also mentioned how HootSuite can be used to schedule posts. And while HootSuite does support Google+ Pages, the bulk scheduling utility requires some cumbersome Excel work, and the application still doesn't support personal Google+ profiles.
To make sure that your Google+ personal and business profiles have regular activity, and that your followers get to see your older articles, I recommend checking out Do Share.
What is Do Share?
Do Share is a plugin for Chrome from Tzafrir Rehan that currently boasts more than 10,000 users. The obvious drawback to this utility is that it is for Chrome only. There are currently no solutions for other browsers. Fortunately, both Chrome and the plugin are free and can be installed on both PCs and Macs.
To get started, open Chrome (download and install it first if you don't already have Chrome) and go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/do-share/oglhhmnmdocfhmhlekfde... to open the Do Share page within the Google Chrome webstore. You read an overview of the plugin and read some of the reviews. When you're ready, click on the ADD TO CHROME button in the upper right corner of the pop up window.
Once the plugin is installed, a new icon will be added to the Chrome toolbar that is initially 0 and will change to reflect the number of posts that you have scheduled.
How to Share Posts to Google+ Using Do Share
Once installed, go to the blog post that you want to share and click on the yellow Do Share button. That will open a new tab for Do Share. It's a little tricky at first, so I'll walk you through the process.
The first screen you will see will present you with a field for a new post, and below that, you should see a link to your blog post. You must click the link to tell Do Share that that's what you want to share. When you do, the screen will change to optional Title and Description fields, plus a preview of your blog post.
Make sure that you choose whom you're going to share your post with. The first time you share, that field may be blank. You will typically want to simply select Public and that should be set by default for future posts. You can, however, choose to schedule posts for specific circles or communities.
Under the description field are options to add a poll, image and link. There is also an icon which should be your Google+ profile image. This is where you can choose to post as one of your Google+ Pages. You will not able to schedule posts for more than one account at a time, but you can at least choose to post to any one of your Google+ Pages.
Once you're happy with the post and settings, you have three options. You can save it to Drafts, Share it immediately, or Schedule it for future posting. Click on Schedule and a calendar will appear that defaults to the current date and time. You can change the date, and either type in a time or use the sliders to adjust the hours and minutes. Click on Schedule once you have selected when you want the post to go up and it will be added to your queue.
Now, because Do Share is a Google Chrome Plugin, and not a web service, you must leave Google Chrome running on your computer. You must be logged in and it must have access to the Internet to work.
Do Share is great because it allows you to introduce your post with a Title and discussion text, and even offers more convenient formatting options over the Google+ normal _ and * selections.
How Often Should I Schedule Posts on Google+?
This is a question to be debated, and I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below. While we may be able to provide a guideline, there are no firm rules. Every business and industry is different, and so how you use Google+ may vary. More importantly, it's really your followers, the users who have circled you, who should be driving your engagement levels.
One consideration is the type of information that you're sharing. You certainly don't want to share content that is dated or redundant. Hopefully you have past posts and articles that might be considered "timeless." At The Social Media Hat, for instance, a large percentage of our content consists of news stories on developments in the social media world. Those stories generally have no interest after a short amount of time and should not be re-posted. Our How To articles and guides, however, make for great posts all the time.
Another consideration is your followers themselves. Are they active on social media and Google+, or not? If they don't look at their Google+ stream very often, than it's likely that when you re-post an article, they will be seeing it for the first time. If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated following that +1's and comments on all your posts, you may want to keep your stream 100% fresh content.
As with most social media marketing strategies, it's usually best to try various methods and techniques and monitor results to find out what works best for you. You might try starting with just one or two scheduled posts a day and see how that goes for a few weeks, and then try increasing the frequency.
If you're already scheduling posts to Google+, what's working for you? How often are you posting, and are you using a different tool or technique?
Google LEGO image courtesy of keso, Flickr.