What is Google+? Author’s Beginner Guide to Google’s Social Media Platform

Google+ is the world’s second largest social media site with roughly 235 million users. The social media site is linked to your Google account and customizable for personal use as well as professional work.

Like Facebook friends and Twitter followers, Google+ allows you to connect with people by adding them to “Your Circles.” Users design “Circles” for different groups within their world. For example, you can have one for your work, one for family, one for your book/fans, etc. You can add people to your Circles through your email contacts or by searching for people in specific industries. Google+ will also provide suggestions based on your other followers. And unlike Twitter where anyone can follow you (unless you are private, which is fairly rare), you have control over who is in each Circle. Once set, people in your circles appear in your home stream of posts.

Google+ is a like a combination of Twitter and Facebook. You are able to hash-tag but you can also have photo albums, create events and join communities (which are like Facebook Groups).

The difference between Google+ and other sites is that Google+ wants you to post whatever you want and does not limit your word count or even the size of the photos you post.

Like most social media sites, there are best practices to keep in mind when using Google+:

  1. Robust profile. Make sure your profile is completely filled out and includes a photo. Remember that your are promoting yourself as well as your book so be sure to include information about both in your bio.  I recommend using a photograph of you as your profile picture, but feel free to post your book cover too.
  2. Don’t be too promotional. Feel free to talk about your book, but also remember to post other things of interest to you and the topic of your book.
  3. Join communities. There are communities or groups for every topic. Join them, post in them. This will allow people to find you and add you to their Circles. There are communities for everything including aspiring authors, self-published authors, and book marketing tips and tricks. Google+ will also give you suggestions based on the rest of your profile.
  4. Use hash-tags #. Hash-tags are important for allowing new people to find you and add you to their circles. For example #bookmarketing, #selfpub, #YA.
  5. Use visuals. If you want to post something, find a graphic to go with the post. Pictures are HUGE on Google+, people rarely post without have a corresponding picture.
  6. Do not neglect your Google+ page. Posting three to four times a week is enough to keep your page looking good. You can post passages from your book or an article you find interesting. This is your page—have fun and use it to reflect your personality!

Because Google+ is one of the newer social media platforms people are still adjusting and learning how to use it, so don’t feel discouraged if it takes some time to learn. Keep at it and you will learn more about which platform(s) suit your personality and your goals as an author.

by: Brittney Karpovich, Marketing/Social Media Strategist, Smith Publicity