Today’s guest post is by Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy).
If Facebook and Twitter had a secret love child, it would be Google+.
And because of its similarities to both sites, many writers don’t see its unique potential. So I’m here today to peel back the Google+ wizard’s curtain and give you six reasons Google+ is just as valuable—if not more valuable—for writers than Facebook.
1. It’s less popular than Facebook.
Compared to Facebook’s 750 million estimated unique monthly visitors, Google+ receives only 65 million.
I know this might sound like a drawback. Why would you want to bother with a less popular site when you have a limited amount of time for social media?
Well, beyond all the advantages I’m still going to talk about, using a less popular site means you have a better chance of standing out. Few authors are using it to reach potential readers, and even fewer are going about it in a way that works. It’s that whole question of “Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?”
2. Google+ users can sign up for Google Authorship.
Google Authorship is a way to have authorship information show up in search results along with content you’ve created. You can only set it up if you have a Google+ account.
Here’s what a search result looks like without Google Authorship set up:
Here’s a search result with Google Authorship:
Suddenly I have not only a headshot, but also a byline—and credibility because you can see how many people have added me to their Google+ circles.
When Google+ first came out with Google Authorship, Copyblogger ran a post called 10 Reasons Writers Should Claim Their Google Authorship Markup. Among the benefits listed were higher click-through rates, increased visibility, and reduced plagiarism of your content.
3. You don’t have to pay to reach people who’ve already said they want to see your status posts.
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the option to “Promote Post.” Basically, Facebook isn’t showing your content to everyone who has liked your page. They show what you post to the most engaged fans only, which is determined by their ranking system. If you want the rest of your fans to see what you post, you now need to pay to promote it. On Google+, people who’ve put you in a circle see what you share—period.
4. Communities encourage relationship building among strangers.
Ask yourself this: If you weren’t a writer, why would you use Facebook?
You’d use it to connect to people you already know. Old high school classmates. Friends and family who live in a different state or country.
You wouldn’t likely be using it to search for new people to meet.
Google+, however, encourages strangers to bond over shared passions through the use of communities. It’s not about connecting with people you already know. It’s about meeting new people who love the same things you do. That’s priceless for writers. That’s what platform building is really all about.
Here’s the official Google+ trailer about communities.
5. Posts made on Google+ receive higher visibility in Google searches than material from any other social network.
This is Google after all, and they want their network succeed, so public posts and profiles show up in Google searches. If you’re a writer building a platform, this is another way to help you get discovered by your target readership.
6. Google’s Hangouts on Air give even tech-phobic writers a way to create videos.
Hangouts are video chat for up to nine people, or 10 including the moderator. While Hangouts provide many opportunities on their own, the real value Google+ offers over Facebook is Hangouts on Air.
Hangouts on Air are live broadcasts. They’re automatically recorded and posted to your Google+ home page, as well as to your YouTube account. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t have the time or technical skills to record videos on their own. In other words, this is an easy way for writers who aren’t confident in their technical skills to record videos and launch their own YouTube channel. These videos can also be easily embedded on your blog.
Have you tried Google+ yet? What do you like best about it? Share your experience or tips in the comments.