How to Edit Your Google Plus Hover Card and Gain More Targeted Followers

How to Edit Your Google Plus Hover Card and Gain More Targeted Followers

Your Google Plus (G+) hover card is the first impression people have of you inside G+. Well, actually your profile image is the very first impression. When G+ users mouse over your profile image in posts or comments you make, they can see your hover card pop up.

Go test it out. Visit Google Plus and hover over anyone’s profile image. See the hover card appear?

Besides being a mini-profile, this hover card has the option for adding a person to a circle. While some people probably click over to your full About tab, most people probably make a split second decision based on what they see in that hover card. This is the moment of truth when it comes to gaining followers.

None of us want followers just for the sake of having a huge number on our profile. That serves no purpose. But having targeted followers, people who have a connection to you in some area, is the foundation of social networking, especially if you are using G+ for business purposes. (And you should be using G+ to build your business even if you dislike the platform personally.)

I encourage you to invest time on G+ to post, comment, +1, and join discussions in groups. But don’t neglect optimizing your own hover card so that you are making that powerful first impression which moves people to add you to their circles (or even reach out to you for projects).

The Anatomy of a Google Plus Hover Card

You won’t find any settings on G+ for editing your hover card because it is automatically created from elements in your profile. So let’s analyze where these parts come from and how you can optimize them to your benefit.

Of course, your cover image appears at the top with your profile image in a circle. But let’s zero in on the words underneath. There are four possible lines of text on your hover card below your name. None of these are labeled on your actual hover card, but I’m referring to them based on where the content is pulled from your profile.


If any of these areas are blank in your profile, they will not appear on the hover card at all. So you may have zero, one, two, three, or all four of these possible parts depending on how thoroughly your profile is filled out.

Tagline (#4 in diagram)

Where to Edit: On your profile under Story → Tagline.

The first line on your hover card is the first 34 to 40 characters (it varies) from your tagline. Use an online character counter to help you narrow down your essential keyword descriptions into that tiny character allowance.

Put the most important words first, and write concisely, realizing that the hover card can’t show much and that you have the entire Introduction section to be verbose.

Avoid inspirational quotes because they are too abstract to help people make a good choice about circling you and what circle to put you in. Your blog or business tagline may or may not work here.

Use words that would attract the kind of people you want following you on G+. Use the keywords that you want to be known for in the eyes of your readers, your customers, and Google.

Works at (#5 in diagram)

Where to Edit: On your profile under Work → Employment; tick current.

The second line on your hover card is your current employment. (Current must be ticked in order for this to show.)

Your employment line will not hyperlink, but it can be a URL. If you are a blogger, I suggest your blog URL there. If you are a business owner, put the name or URL of your business.

Education (#6 in diagram)

Where to Edit: On your profile under Education; tick current.

This is great for students, but a wasted line for those of us not still in school. Like employment above (and places below), you must tick current in order for your education details to show on the hover card.

However, anyone can take advantage of this line by putting whatever you want into a field on the education tab and ticking current.

Use this as a way to get another website URL into your hover card or some other important information. Yes, it’s not technically correct to use the education field in this way. But since the hover card doesn’t have labels on the information, it doesn’t look obvious to people viewing it. Over on your profile page, however, your current education field will show up as an overlay on your cover image as “Attends [your data].” So make sure it’s not too strange.

Lives in (#7 in diagram)

Where to Edit: On your profile under Places; tick current.

The last potential line on your hover card is your current location. If you want to be found locally, this is very important. But even if all of your work is online and your location doesn’t matter, it can help people know what time zone you are in so that they can call you at appropriate hours.

How I Optimized My Own Hover Card

In preparing this blog post, I realized that my own hover card needed some serious attention.

1. I changed my tagline from this behemoth 57 characters [homeschool mom; social media consultant; writer & blogger] to this svelte 37 character beauty
[social media ¦ homeschool ¦ blogging]. Now it all shows up and points to three keywords that are most important to me.

2. I wasn’t taking advantage of the education line, so I added my own professional website to the education section and ticked current. Now I am using every possible line on my hover card.

3. I realized that my short cover image was appearing really ugly on the hover card. It was an image of wisteria blooms but because I purposely made it shorter than the recommended size, it didn’t look its best for this first impression. As much as I dislike the massive cover image, I reverted back to the standard size with an image from a Yellowstone vacation a few years ago.

Now It’s Your Turn

Go to your G+ posts page and hover over your profile image. What does your hover card look like? Have you capitalized on each possible line of text? Is your tagline awkwardly truncated or too vague to help potential followers? Ten minutes of time spent on your profile today will lead to more targeted followers on Google Plus when you optimize your hover card.

[NOTE: The screenshots and explanations here refer to a hover card in desktop  view. Mobile G+ apps show a modified hover card without any tagline.]

  • Thank you for this great tutorial, Jimmie! I am stumbling it for others to benefit from it too. Three bloggers have combined efforts to host a Google+ party. I am one of them. We go live every Thursday morning 9am ET and the party stays open till late Friday eve. I hope you and your readers will stop by!

    Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row

  • Hi Jimmie,
    Thank you for helping me with this – it is a mini-goal of mine to appear more authoritative on Google+ as a way to lend my work more credibility. I have found that following people in your target niche usually results in a 20% approx follow back rate and you can quickly build up to 200 + followers simply by following 2000 people in your niche. Time consuming but well worth it.

  • Hi Jimmie, Thanks for this. For the life of me I can’t get the tagline to work. I have tried all character types. Any suggestions.
    Cheers Julie

  • Ah, so that’s how I fix it! Thank you, sweet Jimmie!

  • How can I tell if my hover card is working properly? Whenever I seem to hover over my pic nothing shows up. I’ve tried logging out, clearing cache etc but still not showing. Am I missing something obvious?
    All help much appreciated

  • Thanks – it look much better.

    Is it possible to do a similiar thing for my business pages, when I post as them?


    • Jimmie Lanley

      Yes, the business page is a bit different from a profile, especially if it’s a local page. But you can modify the details to make the hover card look just how you want it.

  • […] effectively, can create a targeted audience within Google+ and enhance your brand. Creating the perfect hovercard isn’t difficult, but critical to your business. As with setting up personal Google+ profiles, you […]

  • I can’t edit the tagline for my Business page. My Hovercard is just cover photo and profile picture, with the add button. Is this normal for business pages as opposed to personal profiles?

  • Very useful. My card was good but now it is great. It is amazing how poor some G+ profiles are. They stand very little chance of being followed back.

  • Hi Jimmie,
    I was searching for exactly this information tonight, so thank you! One question: I can see the changes I made on the hover card when I view my profile as myself, but when I view it as the “public” supposedly sees it, none of the changes are there. Is there a way to fix this? (I’m trying to have my tagline say “Nature Photographer/Eco-Writer” with “” on the line right under it.) Thanks for any light you can shed!

    • It might be an issue of clearing your cache or actually logging out to see what it looks like. I have had this happen to me, so I understand what you mean. But the changes do update immediately for those on the outside. I went to your site to find your G+ profile, and it’s not even linked up there with Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Add that to your to do list. But I did find you on G+! And your hover card says
      “Nature Photographer/Eco-Writer
      Greater Metro NYC, United States”
      So you did it right! Congrats!

  • Very helpful, thanks for posting! I didn’t even know about this hover card previously. Now I’m all set! Have a nice Monday!

  • Thank you for this! Done and done.

  • Hi there. For some reason I cannot change any of the information on my Hover card. The information showing as my tagline, is not actually what is written in my tagline information! What’s gone wrong? Google seems to have pulled the information from somewhere but I can’t change it. Would so appreciate some help on this.

    • Vanessa, your tagline comes from the field in your profile titled Story — tagline. Are you hitting save? Maybe refresh the page.

  • Thanks Jimmie, Great advice. I’ve added some of them into my own G+ card now too.

  • Thanks, Jimmie, this was so helpful! I was struggling to understand why the 2 versions of “your profile” (yours and public), the full profile, and the hover card were all different. I was going crazy each time I tried to change something.

  • Excellent information! Thank you for sharing. I just followed your suggestions and updated my Hover Card. I’m still trying to figure where to include a link to my book, Red Circle Days. I tried it in the education field, but it looks weird.

  • This was SO helpful! Thank you!

  • […] need to optimize your personal […]

  • Yay! I did it! Thank you so much!

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