Why this author blogger now uses–and loves– Google+ and Google+ communities

1398484_3d_illustration_of_computer_technologies__concept_notebookWhen it comes to marketing fiction and blogs on social media, all authors know that Twitter and Facebook are the “Big Two.”

They’re the social networks with the most users, by far. They are relatively user friendly, once you spend a few minutes reading up on the “how-to” and the “do’s” and “don’ts.”

It took me a year to get started on Google+, and I wish now, so so badly, I’d gotten on Google+ sooner. While it’s far from a perfect medium, and it definitely constitutes one more forum to monitor and to suck your time, Google+ has proved incredibly useful for me.

I wanted, today, to share with you some of the things I most enjoy about Google+, in case you aren’t aware of these things and aren’t taking full advantage of all Google+ can offer you.


First, for bloggers, there’s SEO. Yes, search engine optimization. Who runs Google+? That would be GOOGLE. So posting and building up a following on Google+ really does help you rise in the search engine results. My referred hits from search engines after getting active on Google+ have increased dramatically. I would say most days I average double or triple now the search engine hits that I used to.

Then, there are the COMMUNITIES. Just like Facebook has groups, Google+ has communities. They are WONDERFUL, for all kinds of reasons.

  • Communities have separate “pages” where members can post or interact. On a Facebook group, you can only post to the group’s one wall. In contrast, in a Google+ community dedicated to fantasy writers, for instance, there might be a page for finding beta readers; a page each for discussing popular fantasy literature, movies, and television; a page for grammar questions; a page for marketing questions; a page for blog posts; and a page for self-promotion. This allows you to go precisely where you need to go in order to get information from knowledgeable parties in a timely manner. It also makes it easy to avoid spamming, guiding you to post promotional material guilt-free in the area where group members looking for such material would go to find it. When a community does not allow promotional posts, you will find a promotional page conspicuously absent.
  • You can join a number of various communities and reach different groups of people. I’m a member of blogging communities, fiction writing communities, and fantasy communities. I’m a member as well of a Harry Potter community, with over 100,000 fans. There is no self-promotion allowed there at all, and that’s fine. Harry Potter fans are the market for my fiction, so by simply bonding with them over a shared interest, they might discover my books on their own if they add me one of their circles and investigate my profile.
  • You can rotate which communities you post to on a daily basis. This will help spread your presence out over a wide audience without overdoing it in any one place. For instance, I belong to 3 communities for bloggers. I never post a link to my daily blog post on all 3. Hopefully, members of all 3, at some point in time, will come to the blog, like what they see, and sign up to follow my blog directly.
  • You can post directly to a community FROM YOUR PROFILE. This is fantastic. It’s a timesaver. Facebook does not allow this.

What’s also wonderful about Google+ is the CIRCLES. You can have multiple circles, and you can put people in more than one circle. Though I rarely send out posts to people in a circle–I consider it spamming–I can invite the members of an appropriate circle to an event, such as a KDP Select giveaway, when I create one.

What’s great about circles is that they allow you to easily send information and interact with a segment of your followers while avoiding inconveniencing those the message would not interest. For instance, I could have circles for:

  • Fantasy writers
  • Authors of other genres
  • Bloggers
  • Social media gurus

When I’m creating a giveaway of my novel, I can invite fantasy writers to the event, assuming there’s a likely chance they would be glad to know about the opportunity to get my fantasy novel free of charge, without bugging social media gurus who likely would not care about that kind of thing.

So, that’s my experience so far with Google+. I hope you found it helpful! Are you on Google+? Why or why not? If you are, what’s your experience been, and do you have a tip or two?

I blog daily about fiction writing, blogging, and marketing fiction. If you’re interested in these topics and enjoyed this post, please consider signing up to follow my blog via email, at the top right of the page.


30 responses to “Why this author blogger now uses–and loves– Google+ and Google+ communities

  1. Thanks, this is really useful. I was one of the first people on Google+ (back when you needed an invite) but I never figured it out. It seemed so bare/pale in comparison to FB. I suppose I will give it another go!

  2. Hi Victoria. I am a fairly new convert to Google+ having been on there for just a couple of months but, like you, I love the communities and circles tools. Within a very short space of time I made new connections (real connections, with interaction around useful, relevant subjects), long and detailed forum-type discussions and it was also the first place I managed to get some proper online critique of my work. All this, and I haven’t even begun to investigate Google Hangouts! Thanks for the post.
    Kelly’s Eye – Writing, Music, Life

  3. I’m on Google+ but aside from the odd post there I rarely spend any time on it. I know I should explore it more and having read this post I’m going to try and get a bit of time and have a look around and see if I can get to grips with some of the benefits you’ve mentioned here πŸ™‚

    • It’s all about balancing the time spent on this and other social media outlet, which isn’t easy!!! Google+ has its advantages, though, for sure. Glad to see you’ll give it more attention.

  4. Funny you should post this now. I’ve been on Google+ since the invite days, too, but never even properly set up my profile until last night, when I joined a writing group that uses Google+ regularly. I thought it had potential, but no one I know uses it, which made it a waste of time for personal use. Professionally, though, I’ll definitely look more into it. Thanks for the encouragement and the tips!

    • Glad this post was so timely for you!!! Haha, that’s awesome πŸ™‚ It’s proven useful at bringing people into my blog through clicking links, not just through SEO. It’s work exploring, for sure.

  5. I’m on it, but I never use it. Occasionally I get a notification that someone added me to something… I don’t even know what that means! Honestly, I found it very user un-friendly early on, and didn’t even try to get on it. No one I knew used it, so it would be weeks between updates. It sounds like it’s better now (that was when it was first starting), but honestly, the thought of adding one more thing to do makes me feel a bit queasy… As I tell my kids, “In my spare time.” Meaning, probably , never. :/

    • It’s necessary to pick your battles, for sure! πŸ™‚ You can be successful–and it seems to me from your blog you’re getting sales–without it. So I wouldn’t feel bad to continue to let it slide πŸ™‚

  6. very cool, thanks for the info. i will check it out

  7. I contribute to dental blogs, and I’ve had great feedback on the articles after posting in Dentistry communities within Google. My only dilemma is people comment/like/share the Google post, but they don’t comment underneath the physical blog post as much. Any idea how to get people to put their comments on the actual WordPress blog instead of on the Google community post? Or perhaps there’s a way to import comments into WordPress from Google?

    • I’m not very tech saavy…. if there’s some kind of plug in to import comments from google+ into the actual blog, I don’t know of it, unfortunately.

      As for getting people to comment on the blog…. if that what you prefer, making add something like this to the bottom of your posts on google+ “I’d love to get a conversation going on the blog about this.” or “Comments on the blog appreciated.”

      I definitely understand why you would prefer comments on the actual blog post rather than the google+ link. I think others would too.

  8. I am new to Google+ but I am loving it so far, especially the communities. I have learned so much from the community members even though it has only been a couple of weeks.

    People seem friendlier on Google+ for some reason. I also think the conversations are more interesting than elsewhere. I like how it integrates with my blogger blog as well. Google+ is a keeper for me.

    • I have found you are SO right in that people just seem friendlier and more open on Google+ than on, say, Facebook. I don’t know why. But it’s true.

      Glad you like it! And thanks for mentioning that about the Blogger blog integration. I didn’t think to do that because I use wordpress.

  9. I deleted my profile at Facebook over a year ago and Google+ is almost the only social thingy left. Besides WordPress and some Developer communities (github.com, geekli.st), of course.

    My wife uses Google+ to share photo collections of our kids with the family geographically spread.

    I’m not really into it by now. I might have a closer look. Especially those communities sound interesting. Thanks for pointing that out.

  10. Thanks so much for this post – it was so helpful. I too had been on google+ for a while not knowing what to do with it. After your article I signed in and found several communities that were perfect for me! Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. I haven’t really figured out G+. Thanks for this post!

  12. I have a Google+ but I don’t use it much. I’ll have to look into it more in the future.

  13. Pingback: Book Webcasts » Blog Archive » Why should an author or blogger use Google+?

  14. Great post, Victoria! Thank you so much. YA author Anne Elliot gave us your link at a local SCBWI meeting because you use Google+ so successfully. I’ve dabbled there…and have done several hangouts and joined several communities. I appreciate the info you provided here.:)

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