Google Plus is a social media platform that is not as talked about as Facebook or Twitter, but can be very important, depending on your niche.
Google Plus Basics
For those who may not be too familiar with Google Plus, here are a few of the basics. First, you fill out a profile, with a picture, a cover image, and whatever information you feel comfortable sharing about yourself. After you create a personal profile, you can create a business profile, or page, such as the one for my side project, I Know Dino.
From there you can add photos, share events, and connect with people in what are called circles. To help keep track of how you know certain people, you can create and name circles. For example, my circles include Friends, Publishing People, and Dinosaur Enthusiasts.
There are also Google Hangouts, but I’ll get to that later.
When you post something to Google Plus, you can choose to make it public or private. You can also share posts, or Plus One them, which is the Facebook equivalent of a like. You can also see how many followers and post views you’ve had. For more details on how the basics of Google Plus works, check out :
- Top Five Award’s “Beginner’s Guide to Google Plus“
- Reviewz ‘N’ Tips’ “5 Google Plus Mistakes That Can Really Slow Your Progress“
- Reviewz ‘N’ Tips’ “5 Step Google Plus Checklist to Help You Create more Interaction“
- Indies Unlimited “Is Google+ Where You Should Be?“
Google Plus Communities
I don’t use Google Plus as much for Digital Pubbing (see my profile here), but I do take advantage of the wonderful communities for my I Know Dino project. Through communities of people interested in dinosaurs, such as Everything Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs: World of Reptiles, Dinosaur Anatomy, and The Dinosauria, home of all things dinosaurs, I’ve met some wonderful people, including some who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing in our podcast.
Google for Book Promotion
According to Slate, Google Plus “is an identity service.” This helps Google with advertising and SEO marketing. Google used to have a service called Google Authorship that helped identify the people who wrote content, but it was discontinued in 2014.
Still, according to DBW, Google+ can be a great way to market books.
Write to Done mentions a few ways authors can use the platform, such as by networking, targeting posts to specific audiences using circles, increasing visibility with social search (people who have you in their circles see your posts pop up in their Google searches), and using it as a blog substitute.
One of the best tools authors can use is Google Hangouts. It’s a free way to connect with people via video chat, and according to Google+ Help, “you can host and broadcast live discussions and performances to the world through your Google+ Home page and YouTube channel.”
Other ideas for how to use Hangouts include:
- Author readings
- Live webinars, according to Training Authors for Success
- Book trailers and announcements, according to The Book Designer
Of course, one of the main benefits of Google+ is helping to rank yourself in Google searches.
Business 2 Community recommends using all the features of Google+, including posting, plus one-ing, and joining communities in order to brand yourself and rank higher in search results.
Like most social media platforms, though maybe more so in this case, Google is constantly updating and changing. So, it’s important to keep up with what’s new. To give you an idea, here are some examples of changes that have happened over the years:
- Search Engine Land’s “Google’s Knowledge Graph Gets Smarter with Comparisons & Filters“
- Search Engine Land’s “FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm” (NOTE: a new mobile-friendly algorithm will be pushed out later this month)
- The Social Media Hat’s “Google+ Notifications Are Changing, Again“
Have you found any other ways to use Google+ effectively? If so, please share in the comments!
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared April 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.