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How to Interact Well on Google+ (Update: Basic Etiquette & Posting Tips)

This is an update to one of my most popular posts... some things have changed (re. this topic), but most have remained the same here on the Plus.

How to Interact Well on Google+ I'm 'old enough' on Google+ to know what to do, but I can still remember being 'New Here' and my concerns about doing it 'right'. Read this post and make note of things you may not have known... it will add confidence to your interactions or engagements... and that will help you grow here on Google Plus!

The Dos - what is Good to do on Google+
1) When you like something, i.e. a comment someone made: +1 it.
Hitting the +1 on someone's comment is a good way of saying, "I Agree", "Got It", or "Good Job", etc. (BTW, it is OK to +1 your own stuff)

2) After you have +1'ed something, if you want to engage more, then add a comment. This is how the conversation with others gets started... you may find a friend, and then you can add them to your circles.

3) Share Other People's Posts
When you share someone's post you are telling them that what they posted was good stuff. We all like to know that others like our work... so share (it's one of those early lessons you likely learned in life). 

Think of how what you are about to share impacted you and make a short comment to personalize it while you share it - realize your comment during sharing will be removed if someone else shares your share of it. I like to +1 the post I'm about to share, maybe make a comment thanking them and Then I Share it.

And... when I see someone's post that was shared by another person, I like to thank them when I 're-share it' as only the original post is moved along and the person that helped me find it is removed. I usually say in my added info up top: h/t: +person's name (h/t = hat tip) or //via +person's name. See #6 below re. +Mentions

4) When Someone Shares Your Stuff - Thank Them
When you find that your post has been shared by someone (you'll get an alert), it's a good idea to thank them for sharing it. +1 their share of it, make a comment on the reshare ("thanks for sharing"), etc.

If someone shares you stuff a lot, make note of them and maybe add them to a 'shares my stuff' circle... you might consider asking these circle members (privately) if they mind getting a 'Notification Alert' when you have something important to share in the future. (see #2 in the 'Don't section' below)

5) Post to 'Public' (when you can)
Circles are a way to group people. Sending posts to people that are just in your Circle is fine when the conversation is limited to just them, but if you send your posts to the 'Public' more people will see the content and then you may end up getting some new friends. 

If you post to the 'public', the people in your Circles will still see the posts. When you post 'public' others can join in the conversation (see #1 & #2 above)... and it is easier for others to reshare.

6) +Mention People by name in your posts: +them
This helps us when we are busy, know that we were 'mentioned' - we get an 'alert'. This is a Social Place, people like to know that they are being referenced, so doing that is a good social practice. It is done by simply typing a + just before you type their name.

7) Bold and Italicize with care
You Bold text by adding the * character just before and after the words. You make text italic by doing the same with the _ character. Please don't overdo either! (yes you can combine them.)

8) Edit your post when needed - quickly
You are given the possibility of making edits to your posts (or comments) after you have posted them... use that great feature to clean up those typos! If someone shares your post right away, they may be sharing the un-edited version, so try to clean up quickly. (upper right corner of your post)

9) Add Hash Tags to your Posts
Adding a hash tag will help people find more of your stuff if you use them consistently. It also helps people search out a topic more easily as they can simply click that hashtag and get similar posts listed. Make them by typing the # symbol followed immediately by a word or words (no spaces allowed).

See more about #hashtags  here:

10) When you refer to another Google+ Post, use a URL Shortener
Google+ postings have long URLs, so try utilizing a URL Shortener like to make your link references less obtrusive.

11) When you enter a Hangout or Hangouts On Air - Mute Your Mic & Open the Chat Window
The Mute function is found in the upper right of your Hangout window, the Chat function is found in the upper left. Muting is polite if your environment is noisy (else no need to mute). The Chat window is a great place to 'enter the conversation' without interrupting. Once the participants know you better you don't need to do these things, but the first few times it is a good idea!

12) When you send out a Post, use a Picture
It is just smart to help get people's attention if your post contains a picture or video... posting with just text will not get the attention of most people

The Don'ts - what is not good to do on Google+
1) Don't SPAM people... you'll get Blocked [or Removed] by them and others won't like you either.

2) Don't Alert or Notify people on All your postings
When you send a Notification for each of your posts, people will get tired of your activity. Save the Notifications for the most important postings you do. You Notify or alert people when you + their name (mentions) or when you hover over the 'non-public' circle name you are sending to and then check the box that reads 'Notify about this post'.

3) When joining a Hangout or HOA, Don't just yell 'Hello'
Hangouts are conversations, it is not very polite to just start yelling in someone's conversation... for some reason people feel it is OK to do that in Hangouts... well, it is not! (see #10 above).

Written by: +Ronnie Bincer 

If you like this kind of stuff, you can get more from me by 1) Adding me to your circles, 2) Click on the relevant hashtags at the bottom of my posts like #googleplustips 3) Filter the G+ Search Result by choosing 'From your circles'.

You can also find more by clicking this link!
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#googleplustips   #gplustips   #MGPW   #etiquette  
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John Pitcher's profile photoDebi Davis's profile photoFrank Gainsford's profile photoCropped Stories's profile photo
+Janet Chong  No, your post is not being duplicated... if you add Circles along with the Public posting, the circle members will get a message saying that the 'post was shared directly with them'... the main reason however to add circles to a Publicly shared post is the ability to notify up to 100 people via that post.

Although I still am in the habit of sending out Public & to various focused circles because of how they get the msg. noted above.
Very useful and helpful, thank you!
+Sebastien Defrance That is also called ' Strikethrough ' - funny thing is, the text does not usually show on Mobile when it is barred or Stricken. That is partly why I did not mention it, but thanks for the reminder ;-)
My comment it not to post things you cannot comment on or frame it is red, I do not like to have my hands slapped.  It is an insult.
This is great information. there are many members that are just using Google+ the best way they know how. This is a good way for them get to understand it more.
I have also noticed, particularly with my direct family and friends that they have not been aware of all my posts. I find they log into G+ and see one of my posts, +1 it or comment on it and log out, not being aware that I have a few earlier posts. I have pointed out that they should click on my profile icon/picture to the left of one of my posts which will filter a list of only my posts. This way the can be sure not to miss any of my other posts. Of cause this applies to anyone's posts. If I like someone's post, I'll use this method to list their other posts. You can exit from these filtered posts by clicking on any of the circle filters at the top where the posts start being listed, or clicking the 'Home' icon, or clicking the Explore icon on the left side menu bar to list 'What's Hot.'
+Making Google Plus Work Sorry, you misread my comment.  I do not think posts should be posted without a warning that you cannot comment on the post. You see other comments then a yellow bar flashes across the screen saying, very un-diplomatically,  that you are not allowed to comment on this post. Either re-word that yellow bar with kinder wording or eliminate the post-or hi light it so the general public will not feel like they are being reprimanded.  My comment did not in any way mention the red 1"s.  
I appreciate very much that this is finally becoming a focus.
+Janet Chong I am not the only one that has encountered this situation.  I posted about it before.  If a post has the limit then that should be noted.  It is not new.  When I first signed into this site that was one of the first things I hit. It is like your hand being slapped by your teacher. You are not the general public.  Maybe that is the reason you have not encountered it.  I almost signed out at that time.  The wording is crude to say the least.  Education is not used with those flashes. Facebook was bad with the crude wording.  I appreciate your attention on  this.  I stayed because I have met some amazing people from around the globe.  Extreme talent also.  It encourages you to at least try even if you are not top dog in the profession. Thanks.  
I now have Chrome but internet explorer does not have a spell check.  
I was out all day, just seeing these... everyone ok?
Need something clarified?
Pehaps +Wynona Gibson is saying that when she is signed out (a difficult thing to do) and is trying to interact with posts she is seeing a warning which is not worded the way she would like.

I too an not sure what she is seeing. The only times I can not participate in a comment thread are when the comments have been turned off by the author (or the post is 'locked' bu the author, there are already 500 comments (not often), or I am signed in as a Page and therefore can not participate if the author has not added me to their circles first.
 +Joanne Thomas. Forgive me but that is not what I am saying.  I see an interesting post and I see comments. I like to also comment it the features or subject is what I like. I have done this on several occasions. I am just  running down the stream. I am in the right stream because I always hit my name. It was the first thing that happen when I joined this Google plus..I wrote it off because I did not know if I had to have those people in my circle.  The wording is flashed across in a bright yellow bar and it say plain out, "You are not allowed to comment on this?" At first I preceded with caution on any comment.     Four times I have been hit with this.I tried bringing it up on feedback but I am unable to hi-li the wording before it goes away. Also the circles are driving me crazy. Moan Lisa keeps telling me that all I have to do it hit and share.  I just tried that again. It opens up wanting me to add name after name. It tells me to either create another circle or enter this one.  It never tells me if I have added enough people. It goes on and on until I quit.  I decided to let it go. I like to participate but something is wrong.  Thanks for listening.  I have a year old Gateway computer and Chrome is my browser.  I went to school to study computer when the DOS Sytem was in use.  I have been using technology for a long time.  This is long but I have been very irritated with these two issues.  I know how to click and drag. 
Again I will try and get the time to download this information. I know it  can be useful and thank you for putting out for all the new groups that are joining. 
I have been treated with respect by most that I have added to my circles.  I do not censor when I see posts I do not agree with. I feel free to move on down the stream.  Most of the work is amazing, I enjoy the little tidbits of conversations.  I ran into a problem the other day that completely floored me. Some gentleman pull up photos from my profile and kept displaying those.  This went above the usual re-share from profile. I continued to be nice but he keep venturing further into flattery. I tried to halt it several times.  You do not have a place to report this direct vulgar attack on this post.  All I received was we will check into the situation.  Alright, I went along with that but he hit me again with a post this morning.  I am the age where remarks of this kind are totally out of place..  I try not to hurt people.  Please put a special area where this can be reported with the direct wording.  I think you for your time.  Continue to communicate with this sight. 
Thanks for that answer. I was so upset all I could think of was how can I handle this.  I was aware at one time but have not had an occasion so the knowledge slipped through. I really appreciate this consideration.  Most are so kind. Senior moment there!!!!!
Well, I got another  Flash in yellow the other day telling me I was not allowed to comment on this post.  It was related to the fires in Colorado. I just let it go but it can truly intiminate a person.  It appears at the top of the screen and there was a comment section so what  the heck it going on????????? I get a lots of opp! When I hit a Plus, Like a problem occurred please try again.  I understand that .  The yellow flash I do not. It is still occurring .
 Also twice every new people I greetied has had  a continual profile attached, that that person is not aware of.  
Most of the time things run smoothly and people are kind and polite. I hesitate at this time to welcome any new people until this problem has been cleared. 
+Wynona Gibson I still don't ever see the problem you are speaking of... can you try to capture a screen shot of the image and send it to me?

Perhaps that will help me or anyone else in seeing what you see with this Yellow Flash thing. Sorry it is causing you to hesitate in your interaction here, but I've never heard of this issue except from you.
I think the yellow thing is a message box that appears at the top saying what the error is.

Reading what is says, and posting that here would help.
+John Daddow I cannot post it.  I have tried.  It is a bright yellow strip that appears across the top of my window and states rather arrogantly, (That you are not allowed to comment on this post!)  That does not make sense as a comment post is there.  It is also someone on my circles. This was the first thing that I got hit with when I first joined Google +  I though, well I am supposed to have them in my circle. This keeps happening to me at random and it feels like your hands are being slapped.  I am also having problems with what I call phishing. Profiles photos are attaching to my welcome to new additions.  At first I though it was just a common plus but it keeps on to everyone that I add.  The people that are attached are not aware of it. So what do I do? 
It happened again.  At exactly 9:12 pm. on a post the stated at the top Riet Vossestein  It showed a baby girl sitting on a floor licking a chocolate bowl and was really messy.  I no sooner made a comment when the bright yellow bar flashed across the top of my screen.  I tried to hi light but did not have success.  I have report this incidence several time now.  I think it is so rude and I have no idea who is doing it but for sure someone is  Find out who and why.  If I cannot comment on a post  do not put it on the stream.  Thanks 
And it is Sunday 7/8/12,  I commented on a post by Kathy Morlock. The post was two separate incidences in Indianapolis where children were left alonein 104 %heat.   After I made my comment I got the bright yellow flash again telling me that I was not allowed to comment on this post.  The yellow bar is about 5 inches long, 1/4 incheses thick and has large exclamtions points on it. Would that not intimidate you?? The time was after 9:30.  Now that I think of it most of those I receive are around that time.  I would like to find out what is causing this!
+Wynona Gibson that all still sounds strange to me... do you know how to take a screen shot?

Some other ideas to try... would be to try using a different browser to see if you end up seeing the same yellow error.
+Ronnie Bincer I know it is weird.  It is always around this time except the first time.  I was new so I thought I was not supposed to comment on certain post.  I do not know how to save it.  I know it is happening, also  several times when I have welcomed new people to my circles  I have had a profile picture of another person attached to each new addition.  This has happened on two different occasions. It is gone at this time.  The yellow flash has not. I tried everything I could to save that one last night.  Do you ever use that type notice? Where do you think it might be originating from.  I just know I get those and it is not a good feeling.  
+Ronnie Bincer I have switched browsers.  This is Google chrome and so far it is better on everything except this one crazy thing.  
+Wynona Gibson A couple of thoughts (This is Ronnie here again)... 1) you should try to not let this bother you.. it is a strange thing and has nothing to do with you personally... 2) I have never seen it (from the way you describe it) happening nor do I know of anyone else that has.

How to make a screen shot
If you are on a PC, you can press "ctrl-print screen' and capture your screen... then you can paste the capture into a word doc or something like that which you can share... If you are on a Mac, press Command-Shift-4 and drag around the area to make into a screen shot (the yellow warning, etc.) you'll end up with a file on your desktop which you can share.

Sharing a screen shot of the issue may help me or others in determining where it comes from etc. Ultimately, I'd ignore it if I were you, but for some reason you find it upsetting and such a problem that you are fearful to let anyone else you know experience it, so you seem to not want to invite others you know to participate inside G+ (if I understand your comments above).
I have also been trying to figure this thing out. That is why I contacted Google+. It is as I say weird and whether or not anyone else has reported it or not is insignificant.  I did because you need to be aware of it.  I could not come up with such an accusation like that.  I am careful about what I report.  Thanks , I am becoming used to it. It does however need to be corrected. 
A few things to track down. It seems like there are two problems.
1. yellow bar warning cannot comment
2. unknown images showing with new profiles added to circle

Both sound odd. I wonder if the yellow bar about no comments allowed are related to specific posts where for some reason the poster is not allowing comments, or only allowing comments from their circles? I remember bumping into a few posts I could not comment on, but I don't remember the warning message being a yellow bar. Maybe it was, but I quickly forgot because it was not important... it was just telling me I can't comment. I don't take it personally.

The other images on new profiles is just strange. Could it be possible there is a plugin/toolbar on the browser or computer that is inserting images? Maybe advertising being pushed from somewhere?

+Wynona Gibson next time you cannot comment, copy the post link here that you are trying to comment on, and then we can see if we can recreate the problem on the same post.
+Making Google Plus Work Can I clarify one of these comments to your point about Public vs. Circles? I have been posting to Public and My Circles, does this mean that every time, the people in my circles are getting an alert? And how does Extended Circles work? Thanks!
+Monique Sherrett When you post Public and to Your Circles, the people in the Circles do not get an 'alert' unless you hover over the 'circle' and check the 'Notifications' option... which you can only do for up to 100 people total per post.

Extended circles (If I have it right) means the post is seen by the people that are in the circles of those that you have circled. Kind of a friends of friends concept.

IMO posting Public & to Extended Circles has no purpose. Posting Public and to Your Circles does, as they don't always get an alert, but the post says that it was shared 'directly with' them.

The whole 'who gets to see it' thing is a bit tricky IMO.

The main key is if you want the world to know about it, but sure you post to Public ... and if you want to show new people what you post about, post it Public, else they will never see any activity on your profile and will not know what you post about when they look at your profile.
Hey people sharing...
Feel free to leave a quick comment here as you share.. it makes us feel good ;-)... Thanks!
This is a great post for those (like me) who want to use the plus more often. One thing I don't quite understand is which people to follow (circle) and how to do it. Do you have any tips for that? Thanks.
+Luis Maymi Thanks for the comment!
Yes, Trying to figure out which people/pages to follow can be a big deal, but a good place to start is to do a Search inside Google Plus. Right up top, you have a search field, enter in a phrase related to a topic you are interested in... see what you get and who is talking about it.

When/if you find good stuff, circle the people making those good posts. You can refine the search results by choosing the 'people and pages' choice instead of the 'everything' default results.

You can also find plenty of people pushing around shared circles... that is a way to see groups of other people to add to your circles.

It should be driven by what YOU are interested in. I've got plenty of folks I can connect you with, If I know what interests you.
+Ronnie Bincer thanks for the reply.

Let's see if I can find interesting people using the search. Thanks for that suggestion. 

I'm looking to circle video producers and bloggers (that are interested in making videos for their blogs). That's about it
+Luis Maymi Well I do lots with video, you can also watch my posts on video, and circle those that interact in the comments. Another idea is when you see thoughtful comments, go check out that person's profile to see what they post public about. Then when appropriate, circle them.
Awesome post +Ronnie Bincer, like I told you before this should be the G+ users unofficial handbook!
I try to + 1 you guys here but as a PAGE, I can't do that until you add me to your circles.
Great information!  Would love to see more!  Google + is awesome but underused. 
Excellent post! Thanks for the info. 
+Molly Clarke depends on your settings (BTW I run +Making Google Plus Work)... but usually NO... if you are simply "Following" someone, you see their stuff, they do not see yours in the stream... and notificatons are not sent out unless you +mention or check the box stating you also want to send an email to the circles in the address area, etc.
Thanks for the useful tips!
+Emma Sutton can't... you can delete it and start again.
Posting Public means it is visible to many many others, posting private means you have sent it to only select people/pages. It is all in the address area (how you address the post). Once posted as public, you can't undo the share scope, so you might want to use the drop-down in the upper right and delete the post and try again to a 'limited' group of people/circle.
Wonderful tips for beginners and a nice refresher for those of us that don't use it often!
+Ronnie Bincer thanks great info, those tips will help the learning curve.
Some great tips thanks! Was wondering if anyone has a link to explain how things work when people add you to their circles, but you havent added them to yours? And best practice here?
Thanks for the post... but does anyone know how you can g+ things and post them to your Page rather than your profile? It never gives you the option, so makes it hard to show outside content easily.
+Ned Kelly that is a good request, but apparently (currently) not possible. The best way I can advise is to copy the URL of the post and then go back to your G+ Page and paste in the URL to the Page's post.
+Ronnie Bincer thanx for the copy an paste tip, I have advised others to do this before, and now that they have actualy seen you recommend this they appreciate my advice more... I got feed back by and SMS from a customer who I told to follow your profile....  Once again many thanx for the great help you give us...
Tank you for this. I am a Google Plus newbie and this was very helpful!
+James Levine remember to include your circles, your extended circles and the public in your posts and you should be good.
+Ronnie Bincer Great tips. Here's an etiquette question. Is it bad form to explicitly ask users to +1, re-share, or circle me if they like my content? I'm a photographer and just now find myself building up presence on here. I recently created a short blurb that I include when I share my public posts to other photography communities. 

I only post stuff that I'm very proud of and have been taught that you always ask for the result, action, or outcome that you want. Ever since I started doing this the rate of +1s, reshares, and circle adds has been at a higher rate.  But, I recently got two comments telling me that I shouldn't do that because it's the individual's choice whether they take action or not. Each of these people had 10K and 50K followers so clearly:

(1) they both knew how to build good presence
(2) they had no need to explicitly ask for followers due to their increased footprint per post. 

I have neither of those, but I want to get to the point where I don't have to ask. I do believe my work stands on its own, but ABC.

Is what I'm doing wrong or am I fine to continue, just realizing that it off puts some people?
+Rafael Farias I see nothing wrong with asking people like this: "If you like this ...... please + 1 it, comment and/or reshare it to others you think would find it (useful/fun/enjoyable, etc.)

You are suggesting action that way and not requiring it. If you find that the community that sees your content constantly thinks it is inappropriate to ask them to do the above, then perhaps you should not do so, otherwise, go for it is what I say. I hope that helps.
I agree with +Ronnie Bincer, asking is a very powerful technique, and if you do it right like the way Ronnie was explaining. Actually research shows that you will increase the amount of plus ones and re-shares if you nicely ask for it at the end of your content.
+Ronnie Bincer +Luis Galarza Thanks for the feedback. I agree. Below is my actual blurb. Too strong?

If you enjoy, please make sure to +1 this photo, reshare publicly to your circles, and/or add the photographer to your circles so you can stay in tune with future work.

+Rafael Farias Sounds good to me. I'd caution the use of it with every post you do however. If you can try posting on some topics off and on that do not require the above blurb, then I think it would be easier to take for many that follow your postings.
+James Levine
You are so right, that is why Google gave us the opportunity to use circles, so we could filter / limit our information flow to specific groups and selected persons.

I was under the impression that you wanted the largest possible exposure, but you apparently have a diverse following and thus appropriately understand and use the filtering options available.
It is my view that  the extended circles function only applies to the actual circles listed in your post, and will only add the extended circle functionality to those circles listed in the post, and not all your circles.

please advise us if this is true or not if you have any experience in this issue
Really helpful post, +Ronnie Bincer, and I wish I had come to it long ago. Have been fumbling around for a good while wondering if the approach I was taking was sensible (luckily, it seems the answer is yes).

Still in two minds on the public v circle(s) only posting. Seems to be two schools of thought on this with not a lot in between. I guess it depends on how focused you are as an individual. I suppose use of pages and hash tags helps a lot as does the introduction of communities. I tend to range widely in what I find interesting and share.

One thing I have been wondering about for some time with respect to your point about including a photo with posts is where and how people source the images. I am a photographer and have a good range of images, but I assume people are also sourcing from picture libraries and creative commons sources (or perhaps just "borrowing"). What do you do? Also, I am not sure I find the download to my computer to post to G+ or link to remote host of photo but have it embedded differently is very efficient or convenient but I can't think of anything easier. I switch between devices (computers, Android phone, Android tablet) a lot as well, which does not help.
+Stuart Moore I tend to make my own images for my posts. or give © credit to those I 'borrow' but I only 'borrow' after getting permission ... I'm not normal that way!
This was really helpful, thank you +Ronnie Bincer. Is there a way of making my posts public on my profile. I seem to be able to edit everything that can be seen on my profile except my posts. Or is the only way to make my posts public to set them that way, once something has been posted?
Thanks +Ronnie Bincer for this really helpful post. I like Plus a lot, and it has lots of great features, but I'm such a beginner. Having this info and etiquette guide is really a big help.
+Janet Chong
If someone turns off COMMENTS when they make a post it will do that. +Wynona Gibson , why on earth would you PERSONALIZE an error message or a no comment message??
Dave F
+Ronnie Bincer
Good stuff. Thanks!
Many thanks for a helpful post, which is helpful to someone like myself who is new to Google+. One question: when someone follows you, is it polite to send a message "Thanks for the follow" or is this considered spam/annoying?
+John Pitcher
that is a good thing to do, but it can be quite difficult to keep up once you get many followers. 
This opens the door to true engagement which is something that has been neglected by many marketers, as it can become very time consuming.

If you are doing this for business marketing or public relations issues then you need to employ a dedicated social media practitioner to  monitor and keep track of these things.

True engagement is always a difficult thing to do, but pays off well in the long term.

I am not sure why you are using G+ but if you are doing it for business purposes, then I would suggest you take a bitt of time and view my blog at

also see   +Mark Traphagen  +martin shervington and +Jens Graikowski who are very helpful with getting to know G+.

enjoy and welcome.
Just want to thank +Sandra Watson for prompting +Ronnie Bincer to share this in one of our other conversations.  At our #SMGDenver  meetups we get to share one (or two) tips each month with the whole group.  This gives us LOTS to choose from!
+corbin boonzaier Take your time and evaluate this post with care.  there are many great pieces of advice here.

enjoy and speak to me in my office if you need any extra help.
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