Google Plus Hangouts for Authors

Google Plus Hangout with best-selling author Hugh Howey

hanging with best-selling author Hugh Howey

For many people, Google Plus remains the social media step-child yet to be embraced. Often there’s reluctance stemming from the question, do I really need another one? After all, our free time for online marketing is pushed to the limit by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever else we’re into. Who has time for another social media platform?

The answer is you, especially if you’re an author. Why? For several reasons but primarily for the Hangouts where you can conduct or participate in video conferencing with ten people and accomplish so much for publicity.

Here are some reasons why Hangouts on Google Plus are the way to go:

  • Facebook doesn’t currently have group chat directly through its site; instead it must be accomplished through applications or plugins with secondary vendors. And what FB currently has is inferior with fewer features.
  • Skype charges monthly for group video chat, while G+ is free and has more features.
  • Hangouts can become YouTube videos with the check of a box. No tech skills required, simply begin your hangout by checking the Enable box and it automatically becomes a YouTube video on your account (Google owns YouTube). Remember that YouTube is also the world’s 2nd largest search engine.
  • You can create an Event for the Hangout, where you invite the public or people from your circles ahead of time. Participants who want to attend will get a reminder before the show and a link for viewing.
  • Instead of just seeing each other’s face on camera, you can also share photos, screenshots of webpages, documents, videos, links, chat box and more during G+ Hangouts. Once the process is familiar, your hangout can resemble a well run newscast by a production crew.
  • It’s easy to design Google Plus purely around your business needs while leaving Facebook for friends and family. This is how it works for me and many authors I know since most FB accounts are already established for friends and family. Now there’s a social media site with so many great features that can be all about business.
  • Google Plus posts carry higher weight with Google’s search engine than Facebook posts. If you have a post or Hangout that gathers much discussion, it will do well with search engine results for that topic. In fact, it could be the best way for you to reach page one results for a competitive keyword term in the shortest amount of time.

There are many ways for authors to utilize G+ Hangouts. Probably the most common is conducting interviews. I do this regularly on a weekly Indie Authors show and the results are fantastic. Or you can delve into a specific topic–chat with people about politics, sports, dieting, relationships, etc. Book club discussions are another great way to share a book with the world.  Readers from multiple countries could discuss your book with you, the author, in the virtual room with them. Non-fiction writers may want to create tutorials this way, something I do frequently. It’s so effective because there can be students asking live questions and the finished product becomes a YouTube video that gets viewed for years to come. Here’s an example where I show the step by step method for getting this done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYEnQAGTTec.

The uses for G+ Hangouts are endless. If you’re an author, check out this great social media feature.

Share your thoughts and comments.

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