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How to Use Google+ to Update All Major Social Networks

This is a guest post by Alan Cairns of bozboz.co.uk.

We tend to use social networks as channels that feed into each other, with certain channels for posting content and others for re-publishing it. Widgets and apps can help pull a Twitter feed to a website, or a blog RSS feed to a LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile.

The hub and spoke distribution model represents this system, with a structure that resembles wheels on a bike. The hub is at the centre of the model, connected to each spoke. The hub is the source of the data, and the spokes are the individual channels where that data is published. The hub might represent a blog or Twitter feed, and all the spokes separate social media channels.

It’s important to think strategically about how these channels work together, which channel is going to function as the “hub,” and which as the “spokes.” Obviously, creating bespoke content for each social network is the ideal, but bloggers need to be efficient, and using the hub-and-spoke approach is an efficient way of reaching a large audience through multiple platforms.

Social networks are usually happy for users to integrate feeds and streams into their profiles, making import features available or apps for importing content from elsewhere.

Google+, however, does not allow Twitter feeds, Facebook activity streams or RSS feeds to be imported. This reflects Google’s effort to ensure that the content on Google+ is always unique.

This means that managing a Google+ profile or page can require a lot of work, as updates need to be done manually. This is likely to increase the quality of posts on Google’s social network, but for marketers it creates additional work. Why post bespoke messages on each social media platform if the content and its message is the same?

Considering that feeds are a no-no with Google, using G+ as the “hub” makes a lot of sense, with other social networks being updated from a G+ feed. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t even provide the functionality to export a Google+ activity stream as an RSS feed.

Thankfully, several people have found ways to create a feed from a Google+ profile.

Working with Google+

Several services emerged last year which offered to turn a Google+ profile into an RSS feed that can be imported to other social networks. But most of the hacks that were blogged about last year don’t work any more—Google seem to be discouraging users from importing feeds to Google+.

Fortunately, Rob McGee created an easy-to-use service which can feed your Google+ posts directly to Facebook and Twitter.

All you need to do is sign in with your Twitter and Facebook logins, post a validation code on Google+, and then any posts shared with Rob McGee on Google+ will automatically be posted to your Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Something tells me Rob is being added to quite a few circles as a result of developing this handy service!

How does it look? Here’s a Google+ post of mine.
My Google+ Update

Here’s how it looks on Twitter.
Google+ feeds to Twitter

And this is the post on Facebook.
Google+ feeds to Facebook

Remember that Twitter can only re-post updates of 140 characters or less.

Facebook and Twitter will create shortened links to Google+ posts that include videos, but posts with images will not be shared automatically. The only way to share images is to put the URL of the image into the status update, which automatically becomes a hyperlink on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s also important to remember that follow-up comments will only be visible on the social network on which they were posted.

Once Google+ is the “hub” rather than the “spoke,” your Twitter and Facebook statuses can be updated centrally from your Google+ account. You might still need to check both networks, respond to comments, and so on, but Google+ now sits at the centre of your social media presence.

While it could be considered duplication of content to feed updates between social networks, this is an efficient way to communicate with followers, friends, and fans—and to roll out your content strategy across several social media profiles simultaneously.

Alan Cairns is a Search and Social Marketing Analyst at BozBoz, a Brighton-based Digital Agency.

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Comments

  1. Samuel says:

    Google+ is a new platform waiting for blogger and web masters to take advantage of. I personally update everything by hand on all my targeted “social” networks.

    But if you are Google+ for everything, this article comes handy on ow to update directly from Google+ to all your other social profiles. We will see how it goes…

    Nice article……

  2. Vince says:

    Looks good. But is it not dangerous for the next update? I think Google is so allergic with all kinds of Automation and shortcuts.

  3. Jack says:

    I post things to G+ that I wouldn’t post to Twit or Facebook. Can’t see the use in this unless I dumb down my G+ posting and stop using it for what I like to use it for, which is actually building relationships while doing a little passive marketing once in awhile. Or, actually remembering to share with the dude who I’d never add to my circles because stuff I don’t want on FB or Twit would all go there. I say “meh” on this one.

  4. John says:

    I use HootSuite for things like twitter and Facebook. I update more than one twitter and Facebook feed so it is so much easier- plus I can schedule updates. I guess with all the issues everyone has had as of late, I don’t trust automation right now. Plus Google will up and drop an app or change it completely with little or no notice. So for now I will stick with HootSuite and manual updates. Google+ has value, but I’m not sure what it is at the moment. That being said, I did find a lot to think about and possibly test over the next few weeks. It’s posts like this one that keep me coming back to ProBlogger every day.This like my blog away from blog. (too corny?)

  5. I prefer posting manually to G+,Facebook and twitter. I always afraid of doing things automatically.Anyway Good info.

  6. Chris @ NPI says:

    Hi Alan, thanks for sharing.
    Personally I make it inversely – I post my Tweets on my G+ account :)
    It works great for me.
    BR, Chris

  7. Anthony says:

    Interesting post Alan. It looks like when it updates to Facebook, it updates as a status update rather than a share meaning that there is no thumbnail. Am I right in thinking this?

  8. Ayaz says:

    Wow, I was awaiting for such updates and this post has come up at the right time and certainly g+ is been making progress really well and providing almost all the features.

    Thanks for sharing a great post :-)

  9. Alan says:

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone, I’m glad some of you found it useful.I agree that ideally all social media profiles should be updated individually. There’s several good reasons for this including the format of updates/shares and the audiences being communicated with on each platform.

    Having said this, when rolling out a content strategy across multiple social media profiles, it can be useful to automate the process if possible. It doesn’t mean that all your updates have to be automated, but is a good option to have.

    Anthony – correct. These updates will be shared on Facebook as status updates rather than shares. Thanks for the tweet :)

    • Anthony says:

      Thanks for clearing that up Alan. Personally I’d rather update manually on Facebook as I find that people click more on post updates with thumbnails rather than just an update that looks like a status update.
      No problem about the tweet – good content naturally gets tweeted and this is a good example of just that :)

  10. Wade says:

    I dod not know that Google+ was used this in depth!

  11. Kent says:

    I am still waiting for hootsuite to update their system to allow to add Google+ as one of the social network. Meanwhile, I can try yours Agent G+

  12. Mike says:

    There’s an iOS app called iStatus+ that can update to Google+, Twitter and Facebook with one click.