Guy Kawasaki: How to Gain Followers on Google+

If Twitter is good for sharing news and opinion, and Facebook is good for sharing life and times, then what is Google+ good for? I asked that question on my Google+ profile recently. The answer? Utter silence. 

Guy Kawasaki tackles that question and more in his new book, What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of UsKawasaki is the former Chief Evangelist of Apple and cofounder of He is the author of 11 other books, including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, and The Macintosh Way.

In this exclusive excerpt for SUCCESS magazine, Guy Kawasaki shares his tips for gaining more followers on Google+: 


"There are two kinds of people on social networks: those who want more followers and those who are lying. (Social-media “experts” hate when I say this because they don’t have many followers.) Let’s be honest: gaining more followers is the acid test of social media because it shows whether you are interesting, intelligent, and cool.

People either circle you or not. They either keep you in a circle or not. How awesomely simple, pure, and democratic. Ignore the experts when they say quality [of followers] is more important than quantity—the more followers you have, the richer your Google+ (and Facebook and Twitter) experience. 

Ways to Attract More Followers

Are you with me, or are you a liar? If you’re with me, here are ways to gain more followers:

Perfect your profile. At HotOrNot, people decide whether they want to meet others by looking at their pictures. At eHarmony, people complete an extensive questionnaire along 29 dimensions of compatibility. Google+ is more like HotOrNot than eHarmony: you have a few seconds to impress a person who’s looking at your profile. The difference between a great profile and a mediocre one is approximately an hour of work. Make the investment. 

Share good shiitake. Life is simple: share good stuff; people will spread the word, and you’ll get more followers. Everything else is optimization. Your goal is to write such good shiitake that people won’t want to ever miss a post.Share in public. Don’t hide your good stuff under a bushel. If you want followers, you need exposure and awareness as far and wide as possible. For example, if you found a great article about knitting, share it with your knitters’ circle as well as the public.

Add the Google+ badge to your website and blog. Doing this provides an easy way for your visitors to click on “Badge” and go to your Google+ profile.

Compile a thematic circle. According to Fraser Cain, the guy who shared the science circle, there’s no better way to gain followers than to compile a great circle of people in a particular category. Include yourself in the category (assuming you’re relevant to it!), and then share the circle. As people add the circle to their collection of circles, you’ll gain followers too.

Help people. At any moment, somebody on Google+ can use your help. For example, if someone needed dining advice for a trip to Hawaii, I’d tell him that you don’t have to drive to the other side of Oahu to find great shave ice. Wailoa Store is one mile from Waikiki, and its shave ice is as good as Matsumoto Shave Ice. Here’s a power tip: Google makes everyone an expert, so even if you don’t know where the best shave ice is in Hawaii, you could probably figure it out with one minute of effort and look like an expert. 

Make meaningful comments. Meaningful, insightful, and “inciteful” [sic] comments can help you attract more followers. I ’ve seen many cases where a comment is more interesting than the post itself. That’s a good goal. This simple action shows that you have class and that you are an insider who knows how the game works. You’ll also rack up karma points, so ABC: “Always Be Crediting.”

Invite people to join. One way to be popular at a party is to invite your friends to it. This principle works on Google+ too, so invite friends to the service, add your Google+ profile link to your e-mail signature, and talk up Google+ among your friends and family. If they won’t follow you, who will?

Participate in hangouts. On February 10, 2012, approximately 100 Google+ members met up in person in New York City. Most of them didn’t know one another six months earlier. Hangouts brought them together —the event was even called NYC HIRL (Hangouts In Real Life). Try hanging out to make new friends and add followers.

Help Google+. If I were not on the Google+ list of suggested people to follow (, I would not have nearly the number of followers that I do. To get on this list, you have to be a huge celebrity or a big help to Google+—or both. I can’t help you become a celebrity, but I can explain how to help Google+: deliver new members, content, and street cred. If you do this, you might get on the list too. That’s the only reason I’m on this list. 

Shallow Me

I love watching the number of my followers increase. Google+ can send you  a notification when people circle you,  but I don’t do this because, ahem, there would be too many notifications. You might find it fun to receive notifications, though, so change your Google+ settings to make this happen. My goal for my reputation is the kind of sentiment that PE Sharpe shared about me: 

I rarely re-share posts from the so-called Big Dogs on G+, but +Guy Kawasaki remains one of my favourites. When I arrived on G+ during field and beta I had no idea who he was; I just knew that he consistently shared posts with an underlying sensibility that appealed to me. He was also one of the more approachable big dogs. It was a wild ride during those first months—I felt completely out of my depth amongst the testosterone and HDR-driven technocrati—but Guy was consistently generous in interacting with his many followers, myself included.

How to Get More Page Views and +1s

Along the lines of getting more followers, increasing traffic to your website or blog may also interest you. To do this, Google enables you to add a “G+Share” button and “+1” button for your visitors.

When visitors click on the “G+ Share” button, they are able to share a web page or blog post the same way people can share a Google+ post, including adding commentary and selecting circles. So by adding this button, you’ll increase page views of your web properties.

You can also add a “+1”  button. Then visitors can +1 your website pages and blog posts. These +1s are a ranking signal and may affect the ranking of the pages and posts in Google search results. Only Google insiders know what +1s really accomplish and what they will accomplish in the future. But it’s so easy to add the “+1” button to your web properties that you have nothing to lose by doing so."

Excerpted with permission from What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us by Guy Kawasaki. Publisher McGraw-Hill (2012). 


Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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