While many of us have enjoyed using Google+ to build large, engaged audiences, it’s often been more of a struggle than on other platforms. Many of our friends and family members were reluctant to add another social network to their routine, and of course there’s the ever present possibility that Google could terminate the program tomorrow, like some technological sword of Damocles.
From a usability perspective, what many of us have struggled with since the early days is the simple scheduling of content. No one can be active and posting to social networks all of the time – at least no one with a job. Which means, as a blogger or business owner, you need to schedule some activity. The other networks either build in such capability, or let tools like AgoraPulse facilitate it.
Not so with Google+.
For years, I didn’t schedule anything at all. My personal Google+ profile was my most important platform and it was a place I was spending a lot of time, so posting live, regularly, wasn’t an issue. That was when I was working entirely as a blogger and freelance consultant, though. These days, I have full time responsibilities helping SiteSell launch incredible platforms and services like Trafeze and SoloHacks, and my blog is simply a personal passion. If I don’t schedule activity on social networks, I might go days without posting.
How We Used To Schedule Google+ Posts
Due to restrictions implemented by Google, third-party apps were not permitted to schedule and post on your behalf to a personal Google+ profile. Meaning, you couldn’t use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to share to your Google+ account. Instead, clever developers like DoShare and Friends+Me created workarounds.
Since you can post to Google+ the normal way, through your web browser, these services devised a way to schedule those posts by using your browser’s cache to store the post. As long as you kept your system and browser running, the tool would be able to post your update at your scheduled time.
It wasn’t a bad approach, particularly for users like myself who keep their systems and browsers running constantly anyways. Friends+Me in particular offered incredible levels of functionality by incorporating full support for Collections, Communities and Pages, as well as the unprecedented technique of letting your mirror your source posts to additional destination profiles, including other Google+ destinations, Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest.
But the requirement of keeping that pesky browser running all the time has proven too annoying to overcome, until now, of course.
How To Schedule Google+ Posts Now
While Google+ has been going through extensive cosmetic changes and a re-organization of features and add-ons, there’s also been quite a bit going on under the hood. Some time ago, the API – that’s the interface third party tools can use to connect to Google+ – was updated and the restrictions relaxed. Now, other tools have the full capability to schedule posts. We talked about Hootsuite when the news broke earlier, and now the news gets even better for Google+ users.
Friends+Me has fully integrated the new Google+ API capabilities. Which means that, not only can you schedule personal Google+ posts using Friends+Me, but you can also schedule personal Collection and Community posts!
You can also set up those posts to be mirrored to other accounts.
Once you’ve signed up for Friends+Me and connected your Google+ account, consider what other profiles and destinations you might want to improve your activity and engagement on. Connect those as well.
Then, for each of your profiles, you can set up specific sharing schedules.
Now, before we get to far, know that Friends+Me doesn’t have to mirror every post you publish to those other destinations. Any time you post natively or through Friends+Me, you can simply include the hashtag #ns (short for no share) and that post will not be duplicated. You can also set up additional custom hashtags if you wish.
I currently mirror my posts to my Google+ branded page, as well as a Community that I manage. Each time I post to my personal profile, I simply consider whether or not that content would be beneficial to those other communities and if not, I include the hashtag.
You can specificy a delay of so many hours or set specific times that you want queued posts to be published.
Now that you’ve configured your Friends+Me account, you can begin filling your queues with fantastic content. Mix in evergreen content from your archive along with fantastic news and articles from other sources to provide real value to your audience.
Note, the extended Google+ API do not support publishing to Google Apps profiles, only free Google profiles are supported at the moment. Google+ team promised to remove this limitation soon.
Give it a try, and if you have any questions about Friends+Me or Google+ in general, leave a comment below!