A bird whispered in my ear, and no, it wasn’t Twitter, that some peeps in the IU universe have requested a post on Google Plus. I had a couple of choices on what I was going to do today—real work that earns money, brand myself with a hot iron, or, write about Google+. Well, Google+ won!
There are many differing opinions on the effectiveness of this social media platform. I’ve always said, “If over 100 million people are on it, then it can’t be all bad.”
Not too bad for a platform that’s only been around since June of 2011. It’s estimated that the Google “+1” button is triggered over five BILLION times per day. An amazing stat considering how tricky it is to actually hover over that button and hope you can type something.
Let’s get down to the basics. Google+ is another social media platform that is a must for integration in your overall marketing plan. I’ll get to why it’s a must in a second, first let’s look at how it works.
Unlike Facebook, Plus is built from the ground up around the concept of sharing information with “Circles,” groups of people with similar interests. You can easily drag-and-drop people into different categories and share specific things with each or all if you wish—not so different from the Facebook Friends Lists and Groups.
There’s no limit to the number of circles you can create and Google makes it easy to connect to people from stored contacts in their system or you can even import a spreadsheet to populate your platform.
One of the big differentiators is the Group Video Chat in their Hangouts feature. When multiple people use it to video chat, the main screen toggles between the speakers. Pretty cool feature but probably doesn’t have much to do with indie authors and promoting yourself!
So it boils down to this, Google+ is a Facebook wannabe, right?
Here’s a cool feature with Google+. Say, you’re searching for something on Google—and someone out in the world +1 it, you’ll see it displayed right on the results page. For example, I just searched my name, Jim Devitt in the main Google search bar. Out pops 10 items about Jim Devitt, all mine except for the Devitt Winery in Southern Oregon, which by the way, I had the pleasure to visit last summer and meet the owner, another Jim Devitt. Good wine, too!
Meanwhile, to the right of the search items are the last two things that I “+1” in my interactions on the web. Pretty cool, right? Without having to go to the platform, anyone can see what conversations I’m engaged in. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The MUST reason for having a presence on Google+?
Let me ask one question. Who owns Google+? Google, right. What is the #1 search engine of all time? Google.
Get the connection? It’s starts with those little “+1” tabs everywhere. When you click that, whatever you’re +1ing gets shared on Google+ in the Stream. This is where the marketing power of Google+ kicks in as a giant SEO machine.
Google gives preference to posts in its own platform (+) when ranking things for its search engine. If you want to get your brand, your name, your book—whatever—it should have a spot in Google+ to increasing your visibility on Google.
In summary, Google+ is critical in the overall process, but I don’t think it will never replace Facebook or Twitter as a communication tool. Oh, and to do that “+1” trick, click the G+ button and let your cursor hover there for a moment. The “add a comment” field will magically appear with a blinking line. You can very carefully type your message and then click the “share” button. Good luck and treat those +1’s with some respect!
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Jim Devitt is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling novel, THE CARD, For more information, please see the IU bio page or his blog: http://jimdevitt.blogspot.com/