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3 Google+ Features Every Author Needs To Know About

Google+ is innovative, imaginative, and all too often ignored.

Born in mid-2011, the social network had quite the buzz surrounding its debut. Millions of people are signed up for the site but that is not indicative of actual use. After initially signing up for the site, millions of people promptly forgot about it because it wasn’t as exciting as Facebook. Sadly, authors are no exception.

There are  3 Google+ features that every author needs to know about and use. Here’s what they are.

Hang-Outs

Surprisingly, the Dalai Lama was one of the first people to start taking full advantage of Google+ features. One month after the site was launched, he hosted a hang-out with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Millions of people attended and both men were given direct access to share their message. The audience of millions felt like a small party of friends as Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama joked and laughed with each other via the Hang-Out Google+ feature. The hang-out gave the perception of lowering barriers, even though the men primarily interacted with each other.

Think about what that means for authors on a budget. Book tours can take place in your home. Interviews and collaborations are easier than ever. Up to nine people can interact on  Hang-Out. That could be a critique group, writing group, or a team of experts that you want to interview. While only nine people can interact on camera, the number of people who view the Hang-Out is unlimited.

Authors, how do you use the Hang-Out feature?

Circles

Managing your account has never been easier than with Circles. The list feature in Facebook is clumsy to use, with millions of people not even knowing it exists. Google realized this and made their Circles intuitive and easy for everyone to use. They know you don’t hang out with the same group of friends. So you can clump people by their social circle. Separate fans, family, friends, and other authors. It’s one of the best Google+ features.

Once you have your Circles made, you can chat, hang-out, and micro-publish your content with them. This is great for authors as you can choose exactly how much you want to share with your fans. You can be as exclusive as you want.

What circles have you created?

+1 = SEO

Google makes the rules in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This last year, they changed their algorithm to favor their own social media network.  The +1 is similar to a Facebook “like” in that it shows that someone approved of what you wrote. Facebook has their own algorithm that makes “liked” items more visible within Facebook. The search engine giant answered with the +1. Only this doesn’t only boost your content inside the social network. A +1 helps content rank on the search engine. Want to boost your SEO? Take advantage of the +1. If one of your contacts +1′s something, that result ranks higher in your search results.

To help raise your visibility and increase engagement, you need to do more than just know how to connect your blog to Facebook. In the past, it was enough to post your blog content to Facebook and let your fans share and comment on it. By sharing your blog content on Google+, you are also giving your fans a chance to +1 your content. It’s not an either/and between the two social media sites. Share your content on both and make sure you have a “like” and “+1″ button on your blog.

If you haven’t read it already, read 8 Quick Search Engine Optimization Tips and read how author Dave Evans thinks authors should use social media.

How do you improve your site’s SEO?

 

Bottom Line:

Authors need to use the Google+ features. By using Hang-Outs and Circles, authors can connect with and micro-publish with their fans. By posting content, authors can increase their SEO ranking by having fans +1 their content. You are welcome to follow Author Media on Google+.

Facebook isn’t dead, nor will it die any time soon. Authors need to engage on both social networks. Don’t ignore one in order to be exclusive on the other.

How do you connect with your fans on social networks?  Which of these 3 Google+ features is your favorite?

About Caitlin Muir

Caitlin Muir knows the power of social media first hand. She's on the editorial team of The Social Media Club, which connects media makers from around the world to promote media literacy, industry standards, and ethical behavior. She blogs about faith, love, and social media at CaitlinMuir.com.

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5 Responses to 3 Google+ Features Every Author Needs To Know About

  1. I have significant overlap in friends on Facebook and Google +. How do you keep from coming across as “spammy” when you announce your blog posts on both venues? I get tired of reading the same posts from the same person cross-posted on several email lists and social media sites.

  2. Caitlin Muir #

    That’s a very good question, Sally.

    It isn’t spamming to post your content once a day on each social site and a few times on Twitter to direct people to your blog. Social Media is all about sharing and people expect that. If you feel like you are becoming “that person” who overshares (and we’ve all crossed the line once or twice), cut back on your posting. But don’t ever stop posting completely.

    Most people are lopsided when it comes to social networks, preferring one over the other. They may have accounts on both but they don’t use them equally. I have a lot of the same friends on Facebook and Google+ but the people who comment on my posts and share them are completely different crowds. I tend to post more to Facebook but by doing so, I’m ignoring the group who favors Google+ (and missing out on all the +1 possibilities!).

    I hope that helps!

  3. Thanks. That makes sense. I’m going to try to remember to link to my blog posts on all these platforms.

  4. Susie Soh #

    I am managing my friend/author Google + page. Do you have any marketing/promotion idea that i can maximize when using Google+ page. I am new at this any suggestion would be appreciated.

    Thank you

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