Etiquette Tips and How to Join the Conversation on Google Plus

Today we’re talking about etiquette tips for how to share on Google+, and how to join the conversation! A lot of this applies to other social media networks and the Internet more broadly as well. We’re not exactly talking about the technical process of sharing, but more how best to join the conversation with your shares. It’s like following a path or a stream. As Michael Bennett explains Google+ is all about joining the conversation.

The Naked Share

Now, there’s nothing in the terms and conditions of use that says you can’t just click the share button and not adding anything (sometimes called a naked share), but there’s a lot more you could be getting out of your social experience. By linking to the source of the post you’re sharing you’re bringing that source into the conversation with you.

“That source” is going to be a person who took the time to share something original. Even if it’s a business page there’s still a person behind that page. They cared enough about the topic to compose a post, and it’s courteous of you to mention them (that’s the link we mentioned earlier) when you re-share their post.

Why Join the Google+ Conversation?

Because that’s how we grow both personally and in the world of business. Believe it or not there was a time (not so long ago) that people said Google+ was a ghost town. In fact there are still people saying that this is still the case. See this NY Times article for more on that debate. However wrong this ghost town idea is, there can initially be that type of experience when first starting out.

Until you have some people in your circles you’re not going to see much of anything in your home stream. How do you find people and interesting businesses to put in your circles? We recently covered exploring Google+ in 2014, which shows you just exactly how to quickly begin exploring Google+ and finding people with whom to join the conversation.

Once you’ve added some interesting people to your circles you’ll have the opportunity to join their conversations, and start having your own with people who will begin to circle you. This can quickly become an unmanageable situation, with conversations happening all around you, but it can still be difficult to keep track of it all. How will you know when those important conversations are going on? That’s where the Google+ circle management technique, often called notification flow, comes into play.

Back to the Etiquette of Sharing on Google+

Now that we have some background on why it’s important to join the conversation, let’s get back to the video. At about minute 1:06 in the video Michael shows us exactly how to compose the kind of post that will begin to bring you into the conversation. Pay attention to the circles you’re sharing the post to. Google+ let’s you share to a public “circle” and or to whatever other circles you have that you’d like to include. Okay, enough basics we’re here for more!

When sharing someone’s post it’s important to add your own summary of that content. Yes, this means you’ll actually have to do some reading (I know who has this kind of time), but it’s important. You’re summarizing the content specifically for your own audience. What you’re trying to do here is connect your audience (those who have circled you) with the content you’re sharing.

This is how content goes viral. By connecting posts with influential people, who can then present that post to their audience, in ways that will be of most interest to that audience. This is a bit beyond the scope of simple etiquette, but if you’d like to learn more about how to make content viral see Lee Smallwood’s post on hashtag research using Nod3x (a free to use – for members of Google+ – tool for big data analysis, and influencer identification).

In the video example Michael is showing how to share a brilliant piece of content by Rick Eliason, which includes 50+ tips on things you can do on Google+ right now! What we’ve done in this example post is used the hat tip or h/t to include Rick in the conversation. Just giving him some credit. Like a shout out saying, “hey man great work, if you’d like to comment please feel free”. When you +mention someone in this way they will get a notification of that mention, which gives them a heads up that you shared their content.

Let’s Wrap This Up

The point is that you want to start conversations. You want to join conversations, and you want to become part of the conversation flow that’s going on all around you. This article is intended to help show people how this can be done on Google+, but these principles apply across the Internet. If you see a blog post you particularly like, join that conversation by commenting. Each social network has it’s own unique ways of joining the conversation, but the principles remain.

As a final note Michael describes his own situation where people love to share his photos (and they are amazing photos), but rarely mention him. He’s not saying that this is somehow bad of those people who don’t mention him, but he’s a very busy person and when he gets plus mentioned he gets that nice notification, and can then go thank that person himself which is always a nice touch!

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