Scheduling Google+ Posts, The Complete Guide

Scheduling Google+ Posts, The Complete Guide

Scheduling Google+ Posts, The Complete Guide

First, can we all agree that not everyone uses Social Media the same way? Some of us are on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ just to have fun, while others are there for specific purposes, like establishing a brand. And within those segments, there are still countless ways to utilize the platforms, from consuming to creating to communicating to curating and more.

But another general idea that I think we can all agree on is that sometimes, nearly all of us will have a need to be able to schedule our activity on the network. Perhaps as an individual, you’ve found 2 - 3 or more articles you want to share, but you don’t want to spam them all out at the same time. Or perhaps as a business, you have time early in the morning to get online and create some social media activity for your brand, but want to make sure that your message goes out when it’s better for your actual audience.

On Google+, it’s easy for everyone. You simply log into your Google+ account, begin crafting your Google+ post like you normally would, and then click on the little scheduler icon to… Wait, huh? Oh, crap. That’s right! There is no built in scheduler for Google+! </facepalm> Now what do we do?

Fortunately, there really are some simple tools and techniques we can use. I’ve mentioned most of these in other places and blog posts, but since this is a topic that comes up often, I thought it would be helpful to do a roundup that shows you all of your currently available options, and a quick rundown on each. And as new tools and options become available, I will make sure that this post is kept up to date for you.

Quick Links

Personal Profiles vs. Brand Pages

Before we get into the tools and techniques for scheduling Google+ posts, it’s important to understand that there is a clear distinction between personal profiles and Brand Pages. Your individual Google+ account, in your name, is your Personal Profile. If you have created or if you’re the social media manager for a business account or organization profile, that’s a Brand Page. If you’re not sure which you’re looking at, just bring up the profile on Google+ and look at the profile pic to the left. If you see a +1 count under the profile pic, that’s a Brand Page. If not, it’s a Personal Profile. [UPDATE: Google+ removed the +1 count from Brand Pages. Now, to easily tell the difference, Brand Pages will display a website link under the profile image, while Personal Profiles display that person's tagline, employer and location.]

This is important because Google has put limitations on what third-party tools can do with profiles versus pages. Third-party tools like HootSuite interact with Google products using a programming interface referred to as the API. The API limits or allows access to information, changes to be made, and so on. In this case, Google has not yet set up the Google+ API to permit the more established social media management tools to post to or schedule posts for Personal Profiles.

So, for the time-being, we will break out Personal tools and techniques versus Page tools and techniques, with the hope that perhaps later this year, there’ll be more crossover and less confusion. I will also mention whether or not the solution supports Google+ formatting which, if you're not familiar, you can learn more about here. (For your convenience and comparison, links within this article will open in new tabs.) And you haven't yet decided whether you want to use a Profile or a Page, this decision-making tree may help you.

How to Schedule Google+ Posts to your Personal Profile

DoShare

DoShare is currently the only available option I’m aware of for scheduling personal Google+ posts. With the tool, you can create a new post or be visiting an article or website and send that page to DoShare to start a new a post. Once within DoShare, the interface actually provides a nice way to add a Title and add bold and italics within the post, and other features. You can change your mind and decide to share the crafted post immediately, or set it up to be shared at a later date.

Pro’s:

 - Only available option for personal profiles

 - Offers nice formatting features, yet still supports manual use of * and _ for those used to typing that way.

Con’s:

 - DoShare is a Chrome Extension so it only works with the Chrome Browser.

 - Chrome must be running in order for the post to be shared.

Learn more about DoShare.

Everypost

I mention Everypost here simply as a heads-up. This may be an option soon. Everypost is a clever mobile app that lets you set up posts to multiple social networks, and customize each post separately, so even if you’re sharing to multiple platforms at the same time, each post can be a little different. And while the app does support personal Google+ profiles, it does not yet support scheduling. That is a feature that is currently in Beta.

I have been granted access to the Beta app and am currently testing and reviewing it. Once released, users will be able to schedule and customize posts to their Google+ profile as well as Pages and other networks.

Learn more about Everypost.

SMS, IFTTT, etc.

I have seen claims that you can use SMS Text Messaging to schedule updates to Google+ but I have yet to see any real evidence that it works. Most of the links refer to documentation within Google about how to set up your phone to receive SMS updates for notifications. Clearly, that's not the same thing as scheduling or even sending an update.

Similarly, an IFTTT (If This Then That) recipe that automatically scans an RSS feed and then schedules a post to Google+ for later really isn't what most people are looking for. Nor is automated sharing of RSS content something I advocate too often. So until I find or someone shares with me a technique that proves otherwise, I consider these methods to be myths.

There is a technique outlined here by Mike Elgan that you can use to post to Google+ via email. If that works for you, you can then use a third-party app like Boomerang to schedule the delivery of your outgoing emails, essentially giving you the ability to schedule Google+ posts via email.

How to Schedule Google+ Posts to your Brand Page

DoShare

Yes, DoShare does in fact support Brand Pages. When setting up a post to be shared and scheduled, you can select one Brand Page that you manage using whatever Google+ account you're logged into. You can only schedule one post to one profile at a time though, so you wouldn't be able to schedule personal posts at the same time as Page posts. You can, however, have mixed posts queued up to be shared, so if you want to schedule posts to your personal profile as well as one or more Brand Pages, you simply have to craft each post individually.

When you're crafting your post, in the lower right you will see your profile image with a small drop down arrow that you can click to reveal all other Google+ Pages that you manage. Select one to post as that Page.

The other Pro's and Con's and directions remain the same for Pages as for profiles.

Learn more about DoShare.

HootSuite

HootSuite is, without a doubt, my preferred tool for social media management. And this is one of the main reasons why. HootSuite fully supports Google+ - as much as Google currently permits - which means that using HootSuite, you can create a post and schedule it to be shared to one or more Google+ Pages just like you would any other HootSuite composed post.

Pro’s:

     - Supports fully formatted Google+ posts, both Send Now and Scheduled

       - Can also be used for ongoing monitoring of Streams and Circles for Social Listening

         - Free account supports Google+

        Con’s:

           - Does not support Mention look-ups (But you can mention people and pages using this technique)

          Learn more about HootSuite.

          Buffer

          Buffer is another great tool for social media management that I regularly recommend, particularly for scheduling. I actually use it in conjunction with HootSuite, as a means to ensure that I have regular activity on all my social networks, even when I’m busy. That’s because the entire point of Buffer is to have a daily schedule set up in advance with specific time slots for each network. You can then add posts to your queue and Buffer will go ahead and share them in the next available time slot.

          Pro’s:

             - Supports fully formatted Google+ posts, both Send Now and Scheduled

               - Free account supports Google+

              Con’s:

                 - Does not support Mention look-ups (But you can mention people and pages using this technique)

                Learn more about Buffer.

                Friends+ME

                Friends+ME does support posting to and scheduling of posts to Google+ Brand Pages. While the service is designed to save users the trouble of duplicating posts across multiple social networks, its support of Google+ Pages means it belongs in this list.

                In order to utilize the capability, you'll need to upgrade to at least a "Starter" package which supports up to 3 Google+ accounts and publishing to Google+ Pages. That package currently costs $4/month.

                Once you have upgraded your account and connected a Google+ Page, you can click on the Publish tab and set up a share to be published at least 4 hours out.

                Schedule Google+ Page posts using Friends+ME.

                With Friends+ME, you can also set up one or more "Source" profiles to publish to "Destination" profiles either within a set number of minutes, or at set times per day on a schedule. Google+ Personal Profiles cannot be Destinations, so you cannot use this to schedule to duplicate posts to personal profiles.

                Get started here.

                Sprout Social

                Sprout Social offers a complete Social Media Management tool that also supports Google+ Pages. Like the services above, the Sprout Social dashboard can post to and schedule posts to Google+ Pages, and supports multiple Pages. Sprout Social currently starts at $59/month.

                Sendible

                Sendible offers a complete Social Media Management tool that also supports Google+ Pages. Like the services above, the Sendible dashboard can post to and schedule posts to Google+ Pages, and supports multiple Pages.

                While Sendible's analytics does include basic Google+ Page information like +1's and followers, the monitoring within Sendible lacks support for Google+ Circles. Sendible currently starts at $9.99/month for the Solo plan.

                CoSchedule

                CoSchedule offers an interesting option. It is a plugin for WordPress blogs that provides a complete editorial calendar, enabling users to schedule both blog posts and social media activity. The beauty then is that businesses who are being mindful of their Message Calendar can visualize when each new piece of content is going to go out, regardless of platform.

                While the plugin does support Google+, there are some major drawbacks, not the least of which is that it is for WordPress only. Sorry Drupal fans. There's also a $10 / month fee for the plugin. And finally, in order to connect to Google+, you actually have to have a Buffer account and your Google+ Page connected there. While technically you could use a free Buffer account for that purpose, you'd then hit Buffer's limitation of just 10 scheduled posts.

                How to Schedule Google+ Posts to Communities

                DoShare

                Yes, DoShare does in fact support Google+ Communities. When setting up a post to be shared and scheduled, you can select one Community that you have joined using whatever Google+ account you're logged into. You can only schedule one post to one destination at a time though, so you wouldn't be able to schedule personal posts at the same time as Community posts. You can, however, have mixed posts queued up to be shared, so if you want to schedule posts to your personal profile as well as one or more Communities, you simply have to craft each post individually.

                And just as before, you can select whether or not you want to post as your personal profile (default) or as your Brand Page.

                Use DoShare to schedule posts into Google+ Communities.

                The other Pro's and Con's and directions remain the same for Profiles and Pages.

                Learn more about DoShare.

                Other Options

                HootSuite does support Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups, so if Google ever allows it, I would expect that capability to be added in short order.

                And this area will be updated at that time.

                Other Tools

                HootSuite and Buffer aren’t the only social media management tools that support Google+ Brand Pages, they’re simply the two that I’ve personally used and can vouch for as being easy to use and effective. The following tools also advertise Google+ support:

                I will continue to test some of these other tools, as well as add any others that pop up over time.

                A Final Word About Scheduling

                I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating, particularly for Brands. Please do not try to use these tools or others to completely automate your social media activity and presence. I think it’s great to schedule activity in advance, but try to make those posts interesting, and be prepared to respond to comments and questions so that you have an active and authentic presence on your social profiles. Be Social.

                If you have questions about any of these tools, or have one you’d like to see added to the list, please feel free to comment below. And if you feel like you need more help getting a handle on your brand’s overall social media presence, please contact me. Typically, individuals and businesses enjoy setting up one or two consulting and training sessions where strategy is discussed, ongoing activity is planned, and technical details are covered and taught. Each session and plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals for Google+.


                Mike is a Social Media Consultant and Blog Coach in St. Louis. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's. He is active on all of the major social networks and enjoys writing and teaching small business owners on how to leverage the Internet to promote and grow their business. Mike provides training and seminars to businesses and individuals on topics like "Content Marketing - Using Blogging + Social Media + SEO to equal Small Business Success" or "Establishing a Brand on Google+" or "How to use HootSuite to Manage Your Social Media Presence."

                Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management."

                To schedule a consultation or to book Mike for a workshop or seminar, please complete the online contact form.

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                The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management