Getting your message out there on Google+

This week a funny thing happened to me. I created a quick post on Google+, with a nice title in bold, a short description and a picture of a computer hard drive.

Alan's It Solutions
Alan's It Solutions

What happened next blew my socks off!

Within the first couple of hours, I had multiple +1s (a bit like Facebook Likes), shares and comments. Twenty four hours after making the post, it had received over 900 +1s, over 215 shares and over 150 comments on the original post.

Me being me, I set about analysing my success, which hopefully will help you too. This is what I found.

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

First of all, I made the post look as good as possible. On Google+ that means adding a title in bold, proper sentence and paragraph structure and a good photo. That is essentially the easy bit.

After the +1s and shares started rolling in, I began to wonder what was going on and took a stroll over to the What’s Hot section of Google+. Sure enough (and I was surprised) my post was there. Nobody knows for sure (outside Google) how they determine what is hot and what is not, except that the number and frequency of +1s, shares and comments plays a bit part in the equation.

Any post on any social media site (and in fact any web page) needs to be about something. It needs something more than just looking good for people to engage and interact with it. The post I had created briefly mentioned using Linux to recover data from a corrupt Windows disk, something which Windows itself could not do.

Obviously it struck a cord with a lot of people with data security concerns. Something else was happening though, as I discovered by reading and responding to the comments.


The scandal concerns a former IRS official currently undergoing investigation in the US. Critical evidence was lost when a hard disk crashed and was then destroyed.

I had accidentally tapped into a current event, which boosted the reach of my post.

So, how can you make your posts go viral? Three things. 1) Make it look good. Really good. 2) Relevancy. Make sure your post is relevant to the people reading it. 3) Scandal! Erm, I mean current events, which ties in with revelancy.

I wrote a follow-up blog post which you can read and that also includes the original Google+ post.

You can find it here.