Since 2011, the launch of Google+ has confounded many authors. The on again, off again advice from marketers has made it as confusing as all the offerings Google Plus presents. Do it? Don’t do it? Why do it? Why not? We hope this extra bit of Google+ intel will inform your author marketing and the least you can be doing with this social media platform to improve your own visibility!
While a robust platform, much of Google+’s failure to attract mainstream interest from authors seems mostly due to its late arrival to the party. Meaning, Facebook and Twitter were already at the table and it didn’t seem that Google+ offered enough that was unique other than being able to corral friends/followers into “Circles” (something Twitter was already achieving easily with Lists).
This rendered the social media platform somewhat “redundant” — people using the platform were already connecting on existing platforms. Meanwhile, along came more interest in and focus on visuals so Pinterest and Instagram became the next go-to platforms, as well as Google’s own YouTube. Not to mention the steady rise of Goodreads as the sort of Facebook for readers.
Finally, Google+ can be complicated. Photos, messaging, streams, groups, circles, hangouts — what’s it all about? Do you have to be active in all areas to have an impact?
Those are the minuses. Nevertheless, Google+ still enjoys a number of pluses that make it worth sneaking a second look. We have a good many authors that at least include Google+ in their Hootsuite or Buffer accounts to make sure it gets updated with their newest content. Here’s why:
- Using Google Plus can give you a search ranking advantage. If someone follows your Google+ profile or page, they’re more likely to see your posts in Google search results. Posts made on Google+ receive higher visibility in Google searches (for obvious reasons!). If you’re platform-building, it pays to make sure you’re exploiting every option to get you discovered.
- Part of using Google Plus is being able to create “hangouts” and “circles.” Hangouts enable communication with your audience; you can video chat or instant message without having to leave your G+ page. Many authors and book clubbers have found this an easy and convenient way to have the author make a “virtual appearance” on book club night, a great way to build interest and book discussion.
Google+ has put more of its recent focus and encouragement towards finding users of similar interests. Communities and Collections are something every author should explore. Both are areas where you can find interested readers and share content related to your particular platform.
To join or create a Google+ Community, (similar to groups on LinkedIn or Goodreads) visit https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities. In the upper right corner, click on the blue CREATE COMMUNITY button. Decide if this is going to be a Public or Private community. Or, search for a community using keywords. Below, a smattering of communities we’ve joined as an example.
Google Plus Collections let you create/curate online collections that can include clever titles, videos, images, posts, links and more (think Pinterest on steroids.
We hope this gives you a few more ideas on how to use Google+ to your benefit. A little attention paid to this particular social media platform can still yield improved discoverability and better search rankings for authors. Hangouts can more easily connect you with book clubs and other reader interest groups. And Collections and Communities can help you identify and connect with readers with an interest in what you write!
Have a way you’ve used Google+ to your author marketing advantage? We want to hear all about it! Please share with your comment below. And visit these additional resources for more valuable insights into the value of G+!