If you think of Google and just think of a search engine, you obviously haven’t been introduced to Google+. As an author, Google+ can be a multi-functional tool when building on interactions with your audience, and potential audiences.
After first becoming live in 2011 millions of users signed up, but unaware of some of Google+’s great functions, gave up and went back to the seemingly more exciting Facebook. But there are benefits to Google+ and they can benefit you as an author or contributor.
Without going into a social media overload on every last function Google+ can do, here’s a short summary of the three best reasons to use Google+, and what they can do for your work.
If the Dalai Lama is using Hang-outs to promote his work, then you should be too. In October last year the Dalai Lama had planned to visit South Africa to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Visa restrictions prevented him entering the country so he held a Hang-Out with the Archbishop on Google+ instead. As the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu joked and chatted with each other online, they had an audience of over 2 million hanging on their every word. Although the men primarily just interacted with each other, it was a perfect opportunity to imitate a lowering of barriers and to make other social media users feel involved.
So, what does this mean for us? Good question. Authors and contributors can use Hang-Outs to do book tours from their home. It makes interviews and collaborations easier than ever and it’s a great platform to meet with critique groups, writing groups, or just a team of like-minded people. Up to nine people can interact in a Hang-Out, but the amount of people who can view it is unlimited; that could build you up quite the crowd.
What is a circle? Google + knows that we all have relations/friends/associates that fit into different social ‘groups’ so this feature allows you to clump people together by their social circle. You can separate fans, family, friends, other writers and whoever else you want; this allows you to share as much or as little with different groups of people. You can chat, hang-out, and micro-publish your content with everyone, or only certain groups; it’s up to you.
If you’ve used Facebook you’ll know that when you ‘like’ something, Facebook automatically makes these items more visible within the site. Google’s +1 does one better and rather than just boosting your content inside Google+ as a social media network, it also helps rank content on Google as a search engine. The +1 feature can make a significant impact on your SEO.
To round up, it’s no good just signing up to Google+ (or any social media site for that matter) to really get the advantages of them you’ve got to use their features, and use them regularly. Use Hang-Outs and Circles and connect with your readers, micro-publish and interact with fans. Post content and encourage +1s and you’ll increase your SEO too.