Buffer is one of my favorite tools for maintaining consistent activity on your Google+ Business Page. You can use it to not only post and schedule status updates, but also have specific times and frequencies set up in advance for your shares so that all you have to do is decide what you want to share and craft the post.
One of the limitations though has been that businesses are unable to craft a post to their Page, through Buffer, that mentions someone.
Or can they?
Thanks to a heads-up from Jaana Nyström, I’m going to show you exactly how you can in fact mention a Person or Business any time you post to your business Page. (Note: this technique also works with HootSuite.)
Mention a Google+ Profile or Page in Buffer
To begin, start crafting your Google+ post you normally would, either from within the Buffer App using the compose dialogue box, or if you’re on an article you want to share you might use the Buffer Chrome Extension.
First, remember that Buffer fully supports Google+ formatting so you can write as much as you want, include paragraph breaks, and use the * and _ to make words and phrases bold and italic as needed. You can attach a link preview or share a full image and include multiple links within the post.
Whenever you’re ready, insert a + symbol followed directly by the Profile or Page ID number. When the post is published, Google+ will automatically convert that to the clickable user or business.
For instance, The Social Media Hat has a profile ID of 106860584597630365429 and when I put +106860584597630365429 into a Google+ post I will be mentioning my brand Page.
The technique itself is pretty easy. Finding the ID of course requires a little more work.
Because there’s no automated lookup, you will need to open Google+ in a separate tab and find the ID you want to reference. I’ll explain how in a moment.
Why Use Buffer to Post and Mention on Google+?
Of course, some of you may be wondering, if you have to get into Google+ to get this to work, why use Buffer in the first place?
The most likely reason would be to take advantage of Buffer’s scheduling capability. Since Google+ offers no native scheduling options, if you want to craft your Google+ posts in advance and have them scheduled to go out later in the day or a future date, you will need to use a tool like Buffer to do it.
This is particularly usefu to business owners who may have a few minutes in the morning to manage their social media, but want to share several posts throughout the day. Rather than spam them all in the morning, they’d use a tool like Buffer to space them out.
Like HootSuite, Buffer also shortens URLs that are shared and is then able to provide analytics on click-throughs for those URLs. So using a tool to share links to social media can help a business measure the success of specific social media shares and activity.
So let’s review how to find that ID.
How to Find a Google+ ID Number
Finding a User ID
The easiest way to find someone’s ID is to view their profile page within Google+ and look at the URL in your address bar. Unless they have a Vanity URL (which we’ll cover in a moment), you will see their User ID as a long string of numbers within that URL.
Highlight the string of numbers only, and then paste that into your HootSuite compose field directly after the + symbol to mention that user.
Finding a Page ID
Similarly, you can get the Page ID for a brand page by visiting that Page on Google+ and copying the ID number from their URL.
Finding a User or Page ID when they have a Vanity URL
Since more and more users and Pages are adopting vanity URL’s, those ID numbers are being replaced by their names, like +MikeAllton or +TheSocialMediaHat. Unfortunately, using the vanity name will not work – we still need the ID number.
For this, check out the recent posts from the user or page. Right mouse-click on the date stamp for one of the posts and open in a new tab. This will open the post in a new tab and reveal it’s URL, and you will see the user or page’s ID number included as part of that URL structure.
Just as before, highlight the numeric sequence only and paste that into your status update.
Now, if the post URL gets shortened and doesn’t display the full URL with ID, you can also go back to that date stamp, right mouse-click, and choose Copy Link. That will put the full URL into your clipboard. When you paste it into your compose field, you’ll see the ID number that you can take out and delete the rest.
And that’s it! You can now find ID numbers for both User Profiles and Business Pages and mention those profiles even in scheduled Google+ posts.
PRO TIP: If you find yourself regularly mentioning the same accounts regularly, like your Brand Page or other influencers, grab their ID numbers and put them all into an Evernote note or someplace else where you can easily label and find them for future reference.
If you’re struggling with what to post to Google+ or when, and would like to arrange for a consulting session to help develop a winning strategy for you and your business, contact me.
Image courtesy of josef_moffett, Flickr.