There have been endless discussions about whether or not Google Plus is better than Facebook, when it comes to staying connected with our friends, family members, colleagues and other people we have in our network. For social networkers that are using Google Plus to interact with friends and for other non-business purposes, Google Plus might or might not provide an earth-shaking experience. The reason could be that people are still checking out the site and it would take some time for them to get used to it and become an active member. Moreover, compared to Facebook, there are still very few people using Google Plus; and one cannot experience the whole essence of the site, if most of their friends and the people they would like to connect with, are still not active on the site.
However, things have been a little different for those using Google Plus for business and marketing purposes, and for sharing information with others. Most of the early adopters of the site have been techies, social media marketers, and bloggers. These Google Plus users can’t stop raving about the benefits of the site and its huge potential in the days to come.
If you are a blogger, journalist or an author, Google Plus can help you in many ways and can turn out to be the ultimate social networking site, for connecting with readers, marketing your work and doing lots of other stuff that you could not do on Facebook and Twitter. Here are few interesting ways you can use Google Plus:
The best thing about Google+ is that it’s both Public and Private. Public, in a way that your profile can be viewed by anyone who has been searching the net, provided your settings allow it to be visible in search; and your public posts can be viewed even by those that are not connected to you. But, the best part is that you can control what people get to see and which portions of your profile are public. If your consider Facebook, however, your non-friends cannot see your wall posts and the only way to market yourself or build your personal brand is by creating a page, which is fine, but it requires a hell lot of time to update posts and manage the Facebook page.
This makes Google+ an amazing personal branding tool for bloggers and writers compared to Facebook. However, you have to spend some time updating your profile and making it more interesting.
If you are a writer, then here are few things that you can do to make your Google Plus profile more appealing:
Provide links to your Blog,Websites, Public Profiles, Online Book store etc.
Start sharing information, even the general stuff apart from your own work. Journalists can update breaking news, bloggers and writers can share interesting posts related to their area of writing, and establish themselves as experts by providing writing and blogging tips.
Add Photos: It could be photos of the latest event you attended as a journalist, the pictures of your recent book launch event, and anything that lets others know you better.
Upload some videos: Video bloggers can add their blog videos, Authors can update their followers about book releases or take a cue from the Author Garth Stein and have an attention grabbing and funny video book trailer for their new book.
Well, this is a no-brainer. The main purpose of using social media is to market stuff. Journalists can use Google + as a news broadcasting platform and share links to their news articles or broadcast news with videos. Bloggers can drive more traffic to their site by sharing their blog posts. Book Authors can share info about their book launches, and post some interesting updates based on the book content, to drive their followers to visit the book store and grab a copy.
Google + appears to be a better marketing tool than Twitter and Facebook. Here are few reasons why I feel this:
On Twitter the engagement level is pretty low and you can’t view all the discussions going around a tweet in one place. Google+ allows better engagement with its ‘Comments’ option and you can clearly see what people are saying about a particular post or info you shared, encouraging even more interaction.
With Facebook, information sharing can happen only if you create your own Facebook page. You can always share some of your articles on your Facebook wall, but overdoing it is a complete no-no and a big turn-off. Facebook does not allow you to share info with selective people, and that means your posts show up in the news stream of all your friends, even those who have least interest in what you are sharing. Even if you create a Facebook page, managing it is a big task and it’s difficult to establish a personal connection with the fans of the page.
Google+ is part of the Search Engine Google, and your posts are public so it is most likely to bring traffic to your site, atleast more than Facebook where your wall posts are not linked to search engines.
Using Google+ Circles to connect with Fellow Journalists, Bloggers and Readers
For journalists and writer Google+ Circles can help in several ways:
Gather Interesting Info: You can create a Circle for the influential journalists, bloggers and writers that you follow and view all their updates in one stream.
Build a Supportive Community of Writers: If you have been blogging for quite some time, then you would most likely have few bloggers and writers that you know personally. You can create a new Circle for these blogger buddies and once everyone in the group is mutually connected, you can build it into a supportive community, where each member shares some useful info to help other writer in the group.
Learn and Hone your Skills: Think you don’t have great marketing skills. How about following some good social media marketers and learning the art from them.
Engage with your Readers: If you already have a good following on Twitter or other social media platforms, then there are chances your readers in those platforms will add you to their Circles on Google+. If you find several readers following you on Google+, then you can create a separate Circle for your readers and followers and add them to that Circle. Engage with your readers by sharing updates, commenting on their posts. By observing their stream, you can also get insight into what they would like to read and what interests them the most.
Use Google+ Sparks to get Ideas for Blog Posts and Articles
Sparks is like Google reader, where you can add a particular keyword like ‘Blogging’, or ‘Social Media’ and get content related to that topic. You can have multiple topics under Sparks and view the search results of each topic separately. Sparks can help you get ideas for posts, and news articles and just stay informed about the things that interest you. But, I don’t know how relevant the results are. When I tried this feature it gave good results for the topic ‘Social media’, but for other like ‘Creative Writing’, the results appeared a little random and not so useful. Nevertheless, the tool can help you in one way or the other.
Use Hangouts to interact with your Audience and Fellow Writers
Hangouts is the most-talked feature of Google +. It’s a group video feature where you can interact with the group of people in your circles. Here are few interesting things that you can do using Google+ hangouts:
Writing Workshops: If you’re an experienced writer, then you would have the urge to share your ideas and help other aspiring writers with your knowledge and experience. You might even be conducting Writing Workshops as your part-time business in real life. How about conducting the event virtually on Hangouts? Even those who are unable to make it to the real life event can attend the online version. So, it’s going to benefit most of your followers.
Book Reading Sessions: You can conduct book reading sessions with your readers and read out portions of your upcoming novel and have them share their ideas on it.
Interview People for your blog: Hangout lets your conduct live interviews of people. Fix a date and time for interview and invite your blog readers to join in.
Conduct Team Meetings: If you have a team of bloggers or journalists that you work with, then you can hold virtual meetings with your team members on Hangouts.
Hangout with your Writer Buddies: Suffering from writer’s blog? Feeling low on motivation? Need some fresh ideas? With Hangouts you can have virtual talks with your writer friends and have some brainstorming session with them. It would not only clear your block, but also pump in new ideas, and recharge your batteries.
With all these features that Google Plus offers, journalists, bloggers and authors cannot not be on Google+. If you are a writer actively using Google+, feel free to share your ideas on how the new platform is helping you. Happy Writing