I’ve been playing pretty hard with Google+ for a while now, and sharing my thoughts as-they-happen over on my personal blog, A Simpler Way. My ideas are ever-evolving as this new social channel continues to change, so be advised before following any advice I might share over there. It may be short lived.
Over here, I’ll try and focus on the ideas that are fully baked. Of course, Google+ could (and probably will) change things that affect my shared suggestions. But I don’t expect to have to post complete retractions over here when I’ve changed my mind for the umpteenth time.
I’m terribly excited about the opportunities Google+ presents to independent authors and publishers. I think anyone betting against Google on this on is a fool. Though Google has made several failed attempts at social, I’m convinced this is the one that will stick. So come join me.
Like all social media sites, your personal profile is the nerve-center of your presence on Google+. It’s easy to get wrong, and luckily not all that hard to get right. With that, here are my five quick tips to give you, the professional author, a perfect Google+ profile*:
- Use an avatar banner. This is your best chance to make a good impression on someone who finds your Google+ profile. Don’t just randomly upload five photos of you or your books. I suggest using http://gpluspic.com/ and hunting for a picture that works well. Play around with several and find the one that looks the best.
- Fill out your profile completely. Make smart use of bold and italics in your Introduction. Adding links in here is good idea, too. Bragging rights, occupation, employment… add in all that stuff. And don’t forget the Other profiles and Contributor to sections on the right side.
- Hide tabs you don’t need. If you don’t have any uploaded photos (other than your avatar banner) or videos, don’t show those tabs. Ideally, you’ll start getting great photos and videos from signings, book covers, video trailers for your books, etc. When you get those and start loading them to Google+, you can uncheck the box and start showing those tabs on your profile. (Oh, and kill the “Buzz” tab. Totally failed experiment that is soon going away.)
- Show off your +1s. Enable this tab on your profile. Of course, you need to be proud of what you are giving a +1 to, so be advised. Be selective, and make sure that the +1 is the default action when you see something that you want to be associated with. This is you giving “juice” to web content. Share those +1s with the world.
- Make (at least) 80% of your posts rich media posts. Posts with photos and videos go farther. They are more compelling and engaging. Learn to use the bold and italic formatting shortcuts to make your posts pop. If you need, create an empty circle called “test” and post things there first to see how they look when shared.
I’d love nothing more than to end this post with some examples of authors who have a perfect Google+ profile. But I can’t. Of the dozens I follow, none of them are hitting all the marks. Does that mean I’m terribly picky? Perhaps. But I think it showcases a great opportunity for you to do better. There’s ample room to make a big splash on Google+. So go do that. And then let me know so I can add you to my list of perfect profiles on Google+.
I’m on Google+, and so is Jeff. When you add us to your circles, be sure and shoot us a message telling us you’re reading the blog, have attended one of our classes, or just stumbled across us. That we we get you in the right circle. More on that in the coming weeks!
* – Jeff always gets twitchy when I talk in absolutes about social media. To be fair, there is no one right way. There are many right ways. There are also many wrong ways. If you have an a well-thought-out idea that doesn’t quite jive with what I’ve said; groovy. I promise not to hold it against you.