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Google+ for Writers
Friday, November 11, 2011 (All day)

Google’s new social media platform, Google+, launched this past summer, is one of the tools you can employ as a writer - to get known, get remembered, and build your business.

Think of Google+ as a venue to publish your writing, to conduct research, and to make connections with fellow scribes and with clients and prospects.

Here are a few links to get you started with this social network:
• Overview guide from Social Media Examiner.
• Alltop’s handy list of shortcuts for using Google+.
• Early adopter Chris Brogan’s list of 50 things to consider about Google+.
• My curated list of G+ links on Delicious.

Be sure to invest time in crafting your Google+ profile, and include links to your website, blog, YouTube channel, podcast, online bookstore and so on.

It’s easy to think of Google+ as a sort of hybrid of Facebook and Twitter. Yet Google+ offers you finer control over who sees your content, and whose content you see. That’s because of Circles. You can create Circles of contacts, calling them anything you want (Family, Friends, Editors, Corporate Clients, Prospects, etc.), and adding anyone you want. When you publish an update, you can choose which Circles see it.

In other words, Google+ gives you the best of both worlds: private and public content. If you allow your profile to be visible in search, anyone on the Web can see it. If you publish your posts publicly, they too are visible. Unlike with Facebook posts, you can dial your level of visibility up and down easily.

Google+ also provides cool features that you won’t find elsewhere with such a simple user interface. Google+ Hangouts, for example, let you quickly set up a video chat with members of your Circles. Why not gather your mastermind team or your writing group into a Hangout?

You can regularly share news about your writing. For example, tell your story as a writer by uploading photos from your latest book signing. If you have a video book trailer, publish it on Google+ in addition to your other channels.

If you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert in a particular niche, write about it frequently. You are known by the posts you write. After all, your personal brand is who Google says you are, right?

When you’re conducting research for an article or book, use Google+ to ask questions. One of my public relations colleagues says he finds Google+ invaluable for polling his Circles of contacts.

Be sure to check out Google+ Sparks, which can be compared to an easier-to-use version of Google alerts, baked right into your Google+ dashboard. As soon as you see your search results, you can share them across your Circles if you want; no copying and pasting required. Similarly, you can share links from Google Reader in much the same way.

As of this writing, Google has not yet released Google+ for brands. Only individuals, using their real names, may sign up for Google+. Do try it. You’ll soon find that you’ll be using this social network to conduct research, build your personal brand and expand your business.

Donna Papacosta is a writer, speaker, podcaster and communications/social media consultant. Find her on Trafaglar Communications, GooglePlus or Twitter.

- Donna Papacosta

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