Google+Of the top five social media networks, Google+ is my least favorite. However, because it’s owned by Google it does matter, and you should leverage it to build your audience and promote your content. Here’s how:

Create a Page – Similar to Facebook, Google wants its users to use business pages instead of personal profiles for business purposes. You can get started here:

Complete Profile Details – Make sure to click the “Edit” button to update your bio and contact information. You can also upload a profile photo, which can be a photo of you or your book (remember: I prefer to brand the author, but it’s your choice). You can also import a custom profile header image.

Update Settings – There are a couple of dozen notification settings in Google+ and you’ll want to turn most of them off. I find it helpful to get notified when someone tags me or comments on one of my posts. This prevents me from having to log in to Google+ to check very often. The rest can be disabled.

Grow Your Circles – Circles are Google’s version of page Likes. You can add people to your circles and when you do, their updates will show up in your news feed. However, Google won’t let you start adding people to your circles until someone adds your page to theirs. Ask a friend to do you the favor of adding you to their circles to get the ball rolling.

Share Updates – As with the other social media networks, start by sharing your recent blog posts. Ask questions, share surveys, and engage your audience. Respond to comments and generally participate when possible.

Participate in Hangouts and Communities – Hangouts are private chat groups conducted on Google, and communities are similar to Groups on LinkedIn. Consider both optional, but if you want to dig in, lots of options await.

Pursue +1s – One of the biggest benefits of Google+ is the +1 feature that is displayed next to all posts. When someone clicks +1 for your latest blog post, Google pays attention. More importantly, Google pays attention when that post gets a lot of activity. So if you can generate a lot of interest for a blog post with Google+, it’s quite likely Google will give that post priority ranking in its search engine.

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