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How To Reach Readers Via Google+

How to Reach Readers via Google+

Seeley James headshot

Seeley James

Many self-published authors who already worry about spending too much time on long-established social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have been putting off the task of getting to grips with the newer Google+. American novelist Seeley James makes a strong case for why you should jump right it.

How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love Google+

For months, I thought Google+ represented the worst features of Twitter and Facebook. Then Guy Kawasaki’s “What the Plus” made a big splash. So I spent a little more time there – but still wasn’t committed.

One day I had a problem with a book cover. I hated it but couldn’t articulate why to the artist. I noticed a sub-group within a writer’s forum and posted the cover there. Twelve specific and articulate answers from graphic artists later, I said to myself, “Self, we need to spend more time on G+!” Then Joanna Penn announced she was leaving Facebook for G+ and that sealed the deal for me.

What’s the difference?

I posted the same question on both platforms asking about the difference.

On G+, I posted in a writer’s forum only where I’m brand new and unknown. I received 19 unique replies, 2 agreements, and 2 jokes (G+ isn’t run by Satan, and F**k LOL-cats). Most interesting among them was this one: Facebook connects you to the people you already know. Google+ connects you to the people you always wished you knew.

On Facebook, where I posted to all 1,124 of my closest friends, the post garnered 7 unique replies and 11 agreements or abstentions. Most interesting was that 6 of the Facebook posts named reasons G+ was better than FB and only 1 vague endorsement of FB: Nothing on Google + is not offered on FB and IMHO Google+ sometime annoys me by forcing me to post there. (referring to users forced into G+ when signing up at YouTube, etc.)

Here is a quick, consolidated list of G+ attributes from both posts:

  • G+ multiplies your SEO (click here for more info) *
  • Cleaner layout, no ads (yet?), no Farmville, fewer cat-gifs
  • Finer control over sharing: 3 options on FB (public, friends, friends except acquaintances) while G+ allows multiple categories of Circles (friends), as well as Communities (forums/groups) and Community Categories (topics within forums)
  • Control over your news feed by viewing only specific Circles and Communities
  • You can Circle (follow) anyone like Twitter but you can create many circles for various types of posts such as: good family circle, obnoxious cousins circle, business monsters, business mentors, etc.
  • Better integration of photos & videos with segmentation by Circle (family videos aren’t shown to business circles, etc)
  • And then there’s this:

Graphic showing Einstein as top discussion topic on Google+ For more information about converting from Facebook, read this: http://vspages.com/google-plus-vs-facebook-4791/ For a prediction of why G+ will eventually overtake Facebook (maybe), read this: http://socialmediatoday.com/expresswriters/2249226/google-plus-overtake-facebook-prediction-or-fiction

Communities: Groups/Forums

Facebook has more forums/groups with large memberships. I’ve relied on ALLi’s Facebook group many times and have never been disappointed. But the other forums? Not. The biggest problem? Finding your specific question on a specific topic an hour after you post. Everything flows by popularity, thus kicking wallflowers and obscure questions to the curb (or kerb for wrong-side drivers).

Google+ has Communities and within those Communities there are Categories. One such community is Writer’s Discussion Group. See the left sidebar for Categories by clicking here. This simple addition makes asking a question and getting an answer from interested parties infinitely simpler.

Hangouts/Instant Messaging

Instant messaging on Facebook works well. But on G+ it works infinitely better – or so I’m told. I’ve not used either very often because I find IMs annoying.

But the big difference here is the integration of video, segmentation of groups on the fly, and the inclusion of GoogleDocs. The biggest benefit is device-independent video chats. (Indeed. Video calls creep me out too, but get used to it – I’ve already gotten a cleavage-call from a mom who inadvertently FaceTimed me while placing her phone in her purse’s shoulder strap holster. She swears it was accidental.)

For a compelling how-to on Hangouts, see http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Google%2B-Hangouts or http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/


Google Plus is a business-friendly platform that you can control with finer detail than Twitter or Facebook. The fact that it’s populated by former-Facebook users who aren’t going back tells you it’s a great tool. * Many thanks to ALLi member Jim Giammatteo for sending me this one. I did some research and discovered I’d been reaping unknown benefits from my recent move to G+.

Author: Seeley James

My writing career ranges from humble beginnings with short stories in The Battered Suitcase, to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. I’m known for the Sabel Security series featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard, veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god. Uhm, maybe you should read the first page of ELEMENT 42 to understand that bit. www.seeleyjames.com.


This Post Has 23 Comments
  1. Google+ should be taken seriously if for no other reason than because it’s a Google product. Google is the king of search, and a search presence is important. It’s highly likely that the two are tied.

  2. Hmmm, well that does it, I’m giving Google + a try, FB is driving me up the wall. I can no longer see the posts of my friends, getting people to see my latest blog posts/information finds is getting harder and harder and the FB page is almost not worth it.

    Thanks for all the great links!

  3. Thanks for this post, Seeley. You’ve convinced me to take another look because I, too, am underwhelmed by Facebook as a means of reaching out beyond those with whom I already have some (however tenuous) connection. I wonder, though, about the news that was all over the tech blogs last week about the departure of the Google executive who headed Google+, and the news that they were moving some 1,200 employees formerly dedicated to it to other divisions? Here is one sample story from last week. I’m not convinced it will have staying power. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/04/report-google-to-end-forced-g-integration-drastically-cut-division-resources/

    1. Most of those small-press stories about G+ demise were headline grabbers based on a WSJ article that was not so bleak. G+ is an integral part of Google’s long range plan, it’s business oriented and ties into things like G-maps and business ratings platforms.

      The doom-gloom article in Technica was based on another article in TechCrunch (neither website is considered reliable in the industry).

      Google wants to be your source for finding the best restaurants, videos, books, stores, and everything else. G+ plays into that scenario right along with gmail, maps, picasa, etc. Saying it will evaporate is like saying the sky is falling.

    1. I recommend looking at the communities to see if the average posting matches your expectations.

      I joined “Indie Authors & Readers” but quickly found it was mostly authors posting promos; no 1+’s; no comments; just a stream of promos. BAIL. My next group was novice writers wringing their hands over a negative review. BAIL.

      “Writer’s Discussion Group” is well moderated and has an active bunch. That’s where I found relevant feedback on my cover. There is another one I’m planning to work with called “Writer’s Critique Group”. I lurking in that one to see if they’re mature or flame throwers (so far, looks good).

      The most promising that I’ve just discovered is “Writing Resources”.

      Peace, Seeley

  4. I clicked on communities – categories never showed up. Instead, it insists on giving me an almost infinite list of possible communities. How do I find categories WITHIN communities?

    Thanks, Seeley.

    1. I’m not sure what’s happened there. When I click on any community, even one’s I’ve not yet joined, there is a list of categories under the big community picture. Click on any larger Community and scroll down the lefthand side.

      Peace, Seeley

  5. Interesting post. I’ve been dabbling with G+ for awhile, but I haven’t really put in much effort because my core fan base is on FB. I’ve been super unhappy with Facebook lately, though, so maybe it’s time to put more effort into learning G+.

    1. You’re welcome and thank you for the opportunity to blog on the site.

      I keep missing those videos for odd reasons. I’m really interested in the Q&A that Orna and Joanna do on G+ Hangouts. One day I’ll catch those.

      Peace, Seeley

  6. I have just signed up for Google+ only just sorting out profile and need to get more organised on it – I know! But as I’ve only just joined Twitter and Facebook there’s just so much to learn!!! It does seem the way forward though…

  7. Hi Seeley,

    Thanks for helping me better understand Google+ by comparing to the other social media sites, giving tips on usage, and sharing your experiences.

    I got a chuckle about the cleavage mom who “accidentally” FaceTimed you while putting her phone in her purse’s shoulder strap holster. It could happen:)

  8. hmmm…just getting comfortable with facebook and twitter, but…I hear you. So helpful when your `friends’ understand you. Here we go, another learning curve!

    Thanks for your very encouraging thoughts

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