Benefits and Tip of Google+ Hangout for Authors

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BENEFITS AND TIPS OF GOOGLE+ HANGOUTS FOR AUTHORS
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Google+ Hangouts

What is Google+ Hangouts?
Google+ Hangouts is a virtual communications platform that is mostly utilised for its video format.  As an author, you can create a private Hangout event whereby you can invite guests of up to 10 participants or you can be invited to join a Hangout.

What is Google+ Hangouts On Air?
Google+ Hangouts On Air is open to the public and anyone can view it as it happens live. Viewers do not have to participate. Upon conclusion of the event, it is automatically recorded and posted to your YouTube account as well as your Google+ account. This is a great way for authors who are not tech savvy to create videos that are easy to share across their social media platforms.

How Authors Can Use Google+ Hangouts To Their Benefit

  • Google+ Hangouts is a great way to showcase your book. This may come in the form of a book launch or a book club type event whereby you can discuss your book in detail.
  • You can invite your fans and readers to join you in a “get to know your author” type event whereby you invite them to ask any questions they may have of you. This enables a global reach and allows your fans to get to know you on a more personal level.
  • Authors can join writing group Hangouts to collect ideas during your writing process. It’s also a great way to get support from fellow authors should you have any issues or concerns you are having difficulty resolving.
  • You can engage with your fans during your entire writing process of your next book. Perhaps create a Hangout every month, after every chapter or when drafts of illustrations come in. Particularly great for those writing a series as fans are eagerly waiting for the next instalment.
  • Authors can use Google+ Hangouts as part of their book tours and virtual readings. Most authors don’t have the budget to do so or perhaps physically can’t get to towns and cities that require too much time or expense.
  • There is something to be said about getting to know someone personally. Well, at least this feature allows you to get one step closer to your fans and readers. This encourages loyalty, especially if they are able to identify with you.
  • The video component of the Google+ Hangout on Air is a very powerful marketing tool that can be utilised across all your digital marketing platforms and it didn’t even require you to produce your own video! Best of all, it’s completely free!

Tips On How To Run A Great Hangout

  • Test your event! Make sure all your equipment is available and that they are all in working order. Nothing worse than hosting an event and no one can see or hear you!
  • Make sure that you have a good internet connection and that your Hangout doesn’t stall half way or even cut out altogether.
  • Make sure you have a good background to work in with no distractions that could keep your participants wondering around the space. The more neutral and minimal a background, the better.
  • It is advised not to have pets or children in the vicinity of your Hangout. This is the best way for everyone to lose concentration if the event holder is continually interrupted.
  • Sound is very important, especially if creating a video for distribution later. Make sure your surrounds are quiet and you may even want to invest in an external microphone for further clarity.
  • Lighting is also important. Make sure participants are able to see you clearly without shadows to distract the Hangout.
  • The most important tip of all is of course to market the Hangout. No one will participate if they don’t know about it!

So, camera shy authors (that would be me!), do you believe this would be beneficial to you?

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Google+ for Authors. Is It Worth It?

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

GOOGLE+ FOR AUTHORS. IS IT WORTH IT? Google Plus Logo
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What Exactly Is Google+? 
Google+ is Google’s social media platform.

Not Another Social Media Platform!
I know. It really is quite exhausting and admittedly I haven’t fully embraced this platform as yet. However, with over 340 million users, I think it’s worth a look in and we can then decide for ourselves if this should be added onto our repertoire of social media marketing, even if it means giving up another that isn’t quite receiving the traction.

How Does It Work? What Can It Do?

  • You can post photos, share content and update your status just like all social media platforms.
  • Google+ allows you to set up your followers by “circles”. This is a most useful function. You can group them into friends, colleagues etc…. and essentially group them in areas of interest which then allows you to target information more succinctly. Circles also allow you to read your feed by the stream you are connected with and share your updates with specific circles. This is particularly useful if you have very different types of content to share and therefore only certain followers will follow the thread of their interest.
  • You can create and/or join communities and concentrate your efforts on areas of importance.
  • Google+ offers a function called “hangouts” which is a space for video conversations for up to 10 participants. A great tool for webinars, conduting Q&As or connecting with your readers.
  • You can get +1s, which is the same as a Facebook “like”. This however is a much more powerful tick box as by hitting the +1 button, you are essentially voting me to your friends associated with your Google+ profile. It’s as if you are endorsing their content, which then leads to exposure for your book.

So What?
So far, sounds to me like any other social media platform.

However, the thing that got me the most is the fact that it’s a Google product. As the most used and most effective search engine in the world, it is therefore safe to assume that all Google+ content would gain some serious SEO traction. Surely, its algorithms would give their own social media function priority over everyone else’s? How else to better gain users? Posts with a lot of +1s have the potential to gain great momentum on the World Wide Web and can certainly affect search rankings.

There has also been much discussion about the fact that Google intends to consolidate all of its services under the Google+ umbrella. As an example, if you wish to post comments onto YouTube (A Google Company) you have to sign in with your Google+ profile. This meant that any level of anonymity was removed and thus reducing the amount of spam on the network. Should Google continue down this path of integration, we would pretty soon have no choice but to own a Google+ account.

My Take
So I started using it at a basic level and so far it’s been pretty easy to manipulate.  It has very similar functions to other platforms but certainly has a very different look and feel to it. It is very much like a microblog. I am far from being a heavy user and I am not about to give up one platform for the sake of giving this one a good go. A lot more work needs to go into this before I can say it’s a must have.

The only concern I have is I don’t know anyone who is a big user of Google+. It’s more a case of everyone understanding they should have it but no one is really interested in building their profiles like they do with other social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter.  So if no one is using it to their full potential, who would I be connecting with? A whole bunch of “surface” users just because they believe they should use it isn’t worth all my work. I shall do more research and see if it’s worth another post in the future.