In case you haven’t heard already, Google+ has now passed Twitter to become the 2nd largest social network in terms of active users. While Google Plus may still be behind Facebook keep in mind that Google also has YouTube at #3!
Authors, and indie authors in particular, should be making the most of this opportunity. You need to have an account at Google Plus and you should be building up your connections there. Not convinced? Read this post to find out why!
Google+ is a very different social network compared to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has a large percentage of users sharing stuff between family and friends. Twitter is another network that is good for authors but there is a limit to how much you can say with 140 characters.
What’s happening at Google+ is different and here are ten reasons why I believe authors should be there.
1. Millions of Users
Google Plus has 343 million active monthly users and growing! The amazing thing is that if you get in now you can still be an early adopter compared to all the people coming after you. Plus many people that signed up when G+ first launched have not yet become very active. There is more growth coming and you can still get a head start.
2. Intelligent Posts
If you are tired of trying to network with people who can’t spell or write a complete sentence, then I think you’ll like Google Plus. Based on my own experience so far, and mainly involving the writing and publishing communities, I believe you are more likely to encounter like-minded individuals coming together and sharing intelligent posts and comments.
3. Circle Different Groups of People
Sometimes it is not appropriate to broadcast all of your messages to everybody that follows you. I’ve worked in several countries and different industries. Some of my contacts don’t want to see what the others are talking about. In Google Plus it’s easy to organize the people you follow into different circles. You can then write appropriate content and send it only to the circles you choose.
4. Engage with Industry Experts
As an author you can use Google Plus to engage with industry experts. Would you like to get into discussions with editors, cover designers, book formatters, literary agents, and publishers? You’ll find them all interacting with writers on Google Plus. How do you find them? I have written another post with several useful tools for finding people on Google Plus.
5. Hangout with Your Connections
You can use Google hangouts to chat with industry experts. Hangouts are video chats with a group of people. Chat, share screens or watch a presentation together. Publishing a book, even as an indie author, often requires a collaborative effort. At Google Plus you can host a hangout to bring everyone together and plan your book’s development or launch!
In Google Plus you can share your “circles of people” with others. This is a great way to help other Google Plus users by curating a circle of people around a particular theme.
For example I recently shared a selection of indie publishing experts who are all on Google Plus. When you share the circle other people can see who is in it. Then they can add people one by one to their own circles or even add the entire circle at once.
7. Visibility of Posts
I have seen reports that when you share something at Facebook only a tiny percentage of your friends see it in their timeline. It’s worse for Facebook pages! At Google Plus followers can actually see your posts in their stream of content.
8. More +1’s for Your Blog
How many times you receive a +1 helps your web site’s search engine ranking at Google. When you are engaging with people on Google Plus and they come and visit your blog it makes sense that you will receive more “+1″s compared to other visitors. After all, who is more likely to +1 you… someone coming from a post at Google+ or someone coming from another social network?
9. Google Authorship and Author Rank – Don’t miss this!
Google Authorship and Author Rank are going to have an increasing influence on your search engine rankings.
What is Google Authorship? It involves verifying your identity with Google and connecting your Google Plus profile with the content you have written all over the Internet. Writers, did you catch that? You have content all over the web, don’t you?
This is your opportunity to have that content counting towards your expert status and “authority” in certain topic areas. It will also help your original articles to rank higher than sites that have scraped your content.
It also looks cool. When you set up your Google Authorship your profile image shows up beside your results at Google Search. Here is a post I wrote explaining how to set up Google Authorship with your Google+ profile.
In his upcoming book, “The New Digital Age“, Google CEO Eric Schmidt spells out where Google is heading:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
Even content which you have written for clients under your byline will count towards your authority providing that you set it up correctly. You may need to convince your client that it’s in their interests to do this too, but it’s a “win-win” situation because their article is likely to start scoring higher in search engine rankings because of you.
10. Integration with Gmail and More!
Finally you cannot ignore the beautiful way in which Google has integrated their various services: Gmail, Chrome, Photo Albums, YouTube, Google Maps and more. It is easy to use them together and quite seamless to switch between services.
You can probably tell that I am enthusiastic about Google Plus. If you are an author, please, follow my recommendation and get on Google Plus now. You will be glad you did! To get things started, you can find me here.