Yesterday, Google announced that the business-side of Google+ was open for business. Often called "the Facebook killer", Google+ was off-limits to anything but people. And real people. No funny anonymous names like "FuzzyBunny142". Real names, or at least the names you were commonly known by in the real world.
Now with the launch of Google+ Pages, entities other than people are free to make profiles. I've had about 3 hours to play around, creating G+ Pages for Podiobooks.com and ePublish Unum, and think that there might be a play for authors here. My thoughts are only about half-baked, so I don't want to write much more here this morning other than some immediate observations and steps you, the indie author or publisher, might want to take.
- There's value getting in early. Yes, there's also the chance that a new thing will fail to take off. Google has plenty of failed social projects. This one doesn't smell that way. As more people get involved, those who have built a good presence will naturally garner more attention.
- Go slow and complete. Like all-too-many social properties, Google+ Pages encourages you to "share your page with friends!" way too early in the process. Resist that temptation. Fill out your About section (smartly), load some pics (get creative), and make a few solid posts before shouting to the masses.
- This isn't Facebook. Facebook is fun. It's friends and family. It's a place to be social and goofy. Google+ just feels different. More serious, perhaps? More research- or discover-focused? Hard to put my finger on it. Google+ Pages lack a lot of the support structure (currently) that you'll find on Facebook Pages. I assume those are coming soon.
- Don't cross the streams. I'm not sure there's a lot of value in reposting everything you do on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and your own blog on your Google+ Page. Or even your Google+ profile. That seems like wall-papering, and I fail to see the value. Each of the channels is different. Your content should be, too.
- Consider making a Google+ Page for each of your books. Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that. But there is an option to set up a Google+ Page for a book. Select Arts, Entertainment or Sports > Book to do this. Right now, it doesn't look like there are any custom fields you get when you make that choice, but you can bet there will be. Perhaps with links back to Google Books, I'd wager. And probably places for reviews and such. Yeah, this is starting to make more sense.
- Consider making a Google+ Page for your protagonist. Here I go with the crazy talk again. But sure enough, Fictional Character is an option. I'd hold off on creating one for every character you have. That way lies madness.
- Link in your other primary social properties. And your website. That's on the About page.
- Start circling people. Which Google+ Pages makes rather difficult, since a G+ Page can't circle someone unless the person first circles the G+ Page. Leverage your existing Google+ Profile (your personal one) to start getting the word out about your new one. Encourage folks to pass it along to the people in their circles, too. But you better make sure you have solid content for that. The novelty of "hey, I have a G+ Page" will wear off in about 3 more days.
- Delete the dumb default Circles. Create your own. You're using this as a marketing tool. I'd go with Fans, Support Staff, and maybe Superfans. You can create and direct messages to these very specific groups.
- When people circle you, circle them back! All of them! They are opting in to your communication stream. Why wouldn't you add them to a circle? And if Google+ Page circle you, circle them back, too. A person is behind that Page, so why not? Stick them in the generic "fans" circle. Or if you want to keep up with what they are doing from an approach POV, create a new circle called Other Pages.
That's it for now. Much more to learn in the coming days. When I've got it all figured out, I'll probably post about it on ePubish Unum.
- Google+ Finally Launches Business Pages (hubspot.com)
- Google Pages Launches, But Don't Expect a Facebook Rerun (marketingvox.com)