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Winter Author Blog Challenge #7: Authors, jump into Google+ while you can still create a BIG splash!

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Our regular readers who are keeping careful track may have noticed that we just leapfrogged over Day 6. Not to be too snarky, but it’s my blog and I retain the right to do so. Actually, Day 6 is on YouTube, and I want to do the post justice, which is going to take a little longer than normal. I will get back to it. For those reading a couple days behind, we may be all caught up by the time you’re reading this!

So I’ll post the DAY 6 prompt with the DAY 6 blog post. Right now, we unveil the SEVENTH prompt:

Have you jumped into Google+ yet? If you are a regular user, you are still considered an early adopter, and that’s a great place to be in order to make a name for yourself while few others are – especially if men are among your target market, as most users right now are male. As marketing pro Linda Sherman puts it, “GooglePlus can give you access to influencers (i.e., other early adopters) who might not notice you elsewhere.” This is a CHALLENGE, so here’s my challenge with this prompt: If you’re USING Goolge+, tell us about your experience. If you’re NOT using Google+, don’t just write, “Blah, blah, blah I’m not using it …” and call it a post. Do a little research. Learn one thing about Google+ that you find interesting, that might make it worth your time and effort to explore. No – I’m not suggesting you be on every social media platform, but the goal of this challenge is to explore the various social networks, so let’s do that! And if you are on Google+, be sure to give us your link.

With roughly 135 million active users, Google+ is still considered new – some even say a ghost town. The good news is that becoming a regular google+user now, while it’s still in its infancy can, as marketing pro Linda Sherman puts it, “give you access to influencers who might not notice you elsewhere. People who are ignoring it are falling behind,” she said in a recent Forbes  interview with Dori Clark.

Right now, Google+ users are predominantly male, so if your books have a large male readership, you may want to focus more attention there.

Google+ Features

You may have begun to see little +1 icons showing up around the web. These are comparable to Facebook’s  ubiquitous “Like” buttons.

Google+ Communities enables you to build new connections with active Google+ users. And unlike Facebook, which presently does not allow Brand Pages to join groups, Google+ allows Brand Pages to create and join Communities.

Google+ Local Pages gives you the opportunity to indicate your business on a local map that links to your account. It does require that you have a local business with a legitimate (i.e., findable via search engine or directory assistance). If you have a GooglePlace account but not a Google+ account (or vice-versa), be sure to use the same Google account as the first one when setting up the second.

Google Hangouts gives Google+ members the opportunity to hold video chats with up to nine other participants. This is unlike anything offered by Facebook or Twitter. NOTE: You must have a webcam and a mic to use this feature.

Use Hangouts to:

  • Host or join a writing group with people beyond your local community.
  • Hold virtual readings with your biggest fans. If you’re open to the idea, you might even read work in progress, and let the fans give you feedback.
  • Interview other author and invite a few of your followers to listen in.
  • Take a break to connect with real people with human voices.
  • Inspire other writers by holding a virtual writing workshop.
  • Hold brainstorming or collaborative writing sessions.

Use Google Authorship to link your Google+ profile to content you create. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Make sure your profile includes a photo with a recognizable head shot.
  • Check that your byline appears on each page of your content (for example, “by Marcie Brock”).
  • Confirm that your byline matches the name on your Google+ profile.

Improve your SEO. The Google search engine indexes everything posted publicly on Google+ gets almost instantly, making the “+1” feature as important as a “Like,” if not more so. The more active you are on Google+, the more likely your blog or website will be to receive +1s. Improve your odds by adding a +1 button to every page on your blog/site.

Use Google+ Sparks (essentially a reader for syndicated content) to generate ideas for blogs, articles, media releases, special reports, and your next book! Add a particular keyword and you will receive content related to that topic delivered direct to your inbox.

Another great feature of Google+ is that it allows for long conversations during which you can build relationships and readership. As with Twitter and LinkedIn, use Google+ to connect with fellow authors, bloggers and readers. If you want to see what other authors and writers – some of them very connected and/or impressive, are up to, here’s a List of Recommended Authors and Writers on Google+.

Authors on Google+

Authors you may know on Google+

I’ve got a lot of work to do to get my Google+ profile up to speed. I’ll check back with you in 6 weeks to let you know my progress!

In the meantime, come Circle me on Google+!

Laura

RESOURCES:

http://www.christophergronlund.com/blog/tjw/2011/07/19/google-plus-for-writers/

http://www.buzzom.com/2011/07/how-authors-bloggers-and-journalists-can-benefit-from-google-plus/

https://plus.google.com/authorship

http://lindasherman.me/what-you-are-missing-on-googleplus/
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