<![CDATA[by David Rogers
If you’ve been a writer for any amount of time you already know the importance of social media to your career. If you don’t know yet, you soon will.
Facebook and Twitter seem to be the platforms the majority of authors are most comfortable with, and depending on what you write (and the type of person you are) you may also find usefulness in other places like LinkedIn and Pinterest.
But why should you also have a Google Plus account as a writer?
At first glance the network may seem like a copy of Facebook, but peeling back the onion layers reveals more to the network.
First of all, it should also be noted that though Google Plus may seem a bit obscure to some, it currently is the fourth most used social network in North America, with 20 percent of internet users active on the site. One out of five people is certainly not insignificant.
Participate in Communities
For those not actively involved in Google Plus, it may look like there’s not always a lot going on on the site. But there is a flurry of activity in the “Communities” section that can be a great way for you to connect with others on the network.
In fact, you can use communities to reach not only (potential) fans of your work, but also other writers you can lean on for advice and support. A sample of possibly relevant communities include: “Book and Author Marketing,” “Self promotion for Authors” and the “Writer’s Discussion Group.”
You also can use communities to find topics that are related to your work. You never want to be too sales-y on Google Plus (or any social network), but it can help you to connect with potential readers you would not otherwise have had the chance to meet.
Google Plus is More Than a Standalone Social Network
Google Plus is not a standalone network like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, it is ingrained within Google’s network, which also includes Gmail, YouTube, Blogger and other services you may or may not use every day.
All of these services are now collected under one account for every user. In fact, Google recently changed its YouTube requirements so that you have to have a Google Plus account to make comments on the video channel. If you are active on YouTube you have a another reason to sign up for an account.
A previous version of this article listed the benefit of establishing your Google Authorship as a way to improve your visibility on Google search results. However, Google has since stopped supporting Authorship markup in web search. You can still list the website(s) you write for as links on your Google Plus homepage, however.
Google has never expressly said these things affect search engine rankings, though the company does contend that a solid online reputation and a collection of high quality online content you’ve created can lead to successful rankings. Maintaining a Google Plus account can positively influence both of these factors.
It should be pointed out here, however, that just because Google has linked all its services together under your account, you are not required to use all of those accounts to establish a Google Plus page or Authorship.
This commonly comes into question concerning Gmail. If you already have an established email address you would like to keep using, you are under no obligation to use Gmail for your email after establishing a Google Plus account.