When I heard the “great news” that HootSuite had added Google+, my immediate thought was that it sounded too good to be true. And when I headed over to HootSuite to add my account, in fact my fears were confirmed.
HootSuite did add Google+ Pages to its list of social media sites you can post to, but I use only my personal profile. The “why” behind that isn’t really relevant, but I did write an article about Google+ business pages once if you care to learn more about it.
The reactions I’ve heard to this news are predictably mixed. Some people are overjoyed. Others are just sad that they can’t add their personal profile to HootSuite. And, there are still a large number of people saying “I just don’t get Google+.”
For those of you in the first group of overjoyed Google+ users, I’ll show you how to add your Page to Hootsuite, and look at whether it works well. For those in the other two camps, it’s still worth talking about whether Google+ is relevant, so we’ll do that too.
How to Add Google+ to HootSuite
Adding your Page to HootSuite is easy. Just log in to your HootSuite dashboard and first click on the little photo of you that appears in the upper left-hand corner. Then click on the button towards the bottom of the left side of the page that says “+ Add a Social Network.” Your screen will look like this:
After you click “+ Add a Social Network,” it will bring up this screen:
Select “Google+” on the left side of the screen. Then hit the “Connect with Google+” button. You will then have to click on the “Allow Access” button on the next screen so that HootSuite can access your account. It will look like this:
Next, a screen with all of your Google+ pages will come up. Select the page(s) you want to add to HootSuite by clicking on it. A green check will appear once you’ve selected the page. Then click “Finished Importing.” Here’s what your screen will look like:
And . . . you’re done! Easy, huh? Look at the top where you go to create a message and you will see that your Page has been added to the networks you can select to schedule through HootSuite:
But, Does it Work?
I love HootSuite, and have never found that it “doesn’t work” when posting to Twitter or LinkedIn. But, I have found that the 3rd party apps that have been created so far to make posting to Google+ easier, don’t work.
So, even though I don’t use my Page, I did a test post just to make sure. I scheduled a blog article to post to Google+, and here’s how it showed up:
Posting the same blog article straight from Google+, it shows up like this:
So what did I do wrong? I used a shortened link. As you can see, I entered a bit.ly link, which has never been a problem for me on other networks. Not so here. When I entered the full link to the article (http://www.jenniferherndon.com/is-your-online-business-changing-lives-secret-ingredients-inside/) and let HootSuite shorten it for me, it posted just fine, preview and all.
Another tip to ensure it works just right for you is to make sure you select the circles you want to share with before scheduling your post. After you type in the content you want to share, look for the small lock icon here:
Click on the lock and it will bring up the bar that says “Select Google+ sharing options . . .” Click there and your circles will appear in a drop-down menu. And now you can schedule through HootSuite just as if you were posting manually. The same quality here that you’ve come to expect from HootSuite.
Why You Might Want to Care About Google+
According to Compete.com, Google+ grew 43% in June 2012, with 31.9 million unique visitors in the U.S. For the first time, this made them larger than LinkedIn, who had 24.6 million unique U.S. visitors in June. I can imagine that with the HootSuite integration, the growth will only continue.
The HootSuite blog also reports that Google+ for Pages has been their most requested feature. They have received over 12,000 requests on the official Google+ Pages request form, and over 8,000 requests on the feedback forum. That’s a lot of people caring enough to take the time to go to HootSuite and affirmatively request the feature.
And, with the importance of Google’s Social Search feature, being on Google+ just continues to be more important for your SEO efforts, general visibility, and social proof. The power of Google’s search engine to control what we see, as well as the growing numbers around Google+ use, make this a hard platform to ignore.
It will become impossible to ignore if HootSuite is given permission to add personal pages to their list of services. The response on the HootSuite blog as to when this might happen is less than encouraging: ”There’s no definite timeline but we’re certainly thinking about it.” Well of course they are. They’d be doing it if Google+ would let them.
Hootsuite addressed the issue on their feedback forum when they rolled out Google+ Pages on July 19, stating:
“As well, we acknowledge that many of you would like to post to your personal profiles. When Google allows this feature to be available to HootSuite, we would be thrilled to offer this to our entire userbase.”
I’m not holding my breath, but then I didn’t expect to see Pages added so soon, so I think it’s worth keeping up the hope!
What do you think about HootSuite’s addition of Google+ Pages? Will it change the way you use Google+ at all?