Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Google Plus To Close on 2 April 2019 — March 25, 2019

Google Plus To Close on 2 April 2019

google-plus-finally-closing

I still get occasional, low level traffic to my various posts about Google Plus – primarily the one about the “possible closure” of Google’s social media network.

Just to clarify: The network is definitely closing. The date being given for this is 2 April 2019.

I feel that it’s sad, and always viewed Google Plus as underrated.

RIP Google Plus. End of an era.

Follow me on the, still thriving, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Is Google Plus Closing Down? — October 10, 2018

Is Google Plus Closing Down?

google-plus-sunset-close

The Google Plus social media network closes on 2 April 2019. My brief March 2019 post will be my last on the subject.

 

Yes, apparently – Google Plus, Google’s social media network, is being closed down, or closed down for consumer users.

It was announced this week, with security issues with the network being one of the most significant reasons.

It’s ironic that I’ve only recently discovered the power of Google Plus Communities. I actually set up two new Communities of my own.

I’ve heard that Google sometimes do announce “closures” of this nature, when in reality, they don’t occur.

For instance, Blogger should supposedly have finished by now, but hasn’t so far. So, maybe there is hope for Google Plus? Or perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

I’ve always regarded Google Plus as an underrated social media platform.

Compared to its main competitor, Facebook, Google Plus has many advantages.

Facebook has limited reach on business/”fan” pages, to the extent that it’s hardly worth bothering any more, outside of paid advertising.

Facebook groups aren’t doing much better, unless they’re large and established, and you’re able to devote a great deal of time to them.

To me, Google Plus should have been a viable alternative to Facebook, but never really was.

In some respects, being a very visual platform, it should also have been competing more than it ever did with Instagram and Flickr.

 

I’m still posting on Google Plus, and will probably continue until I’m physically prevented.

RIP Google Plus? Quite possibly, but not yet.

 

See my post Social Media for Writers 2019.

Find me on social media.

Google Plus Communities and Your Author Platform — October 6, 2018

Google Plus Communities and Your Author Platform

google-plus-communities-writers

Please note that Google Plus is due to close on 2 April 2019, making this post irrelevant.

 

I’ve already written a post about how to use Google Plus, as part of your author platform.

I did discuss the central role of Google Plus Collections, and touched upon the fact that Google Plus Communities were also very much a feature of the platform.

However, I wasn’t in a position to comment on Google Plus Communities, as I hadn’t really explored them.

I still have very limited experience of Communities, but have reached the stage of wanting to learn more about them. Along with Collections, I believe Communities to be a vital aspect of success on Google Plus.

Google Plus Communities are roughly equivalent to groups on Facebook.

There are also notable parallels between Google Plus Communities and group boards on Pinterest – and also, I would suggest, between Collections and regular Pinterest boards.

Collections are made up of our own posts, on related themes or subjects.  Communities, likewise, are groups of posts on related subjects, and visually, in terms of format, they appear almost identical to Collections. However, as the name suggests, Community posts are from multiple contributors.

I’ve started two of my own Communities.

One is called Google Plus Writers, and is intended to bring together writers on the platform. It’s a place to share all things writing related, including blog posts, videos, and writing and inspirational quotes.

The second is called Writing Quotes and, as the name suggests, will focus purely, or primarily, upon sharing relevant quotes.

The Communities are very much in the early stages, but hopefully they will grow and develop, over time.

If you’re a writer who uses Google Plus, I invite you to take a look, and consider joining one or both of the new Community groups.

Even if you’re not a fan of Google Plus, you’re welcome to mention the Communities to any writer friends, who do use the site.

09/10/2018 update: I was sad to learn that Google Plus is apparently closing next year, as a consumer website.  

Find me on social media.

Tips for using social media, as part of your author platform.

Google Plus for Writers: Social Media and Your Author Platform — May 9, 2018

Google Plus for Writers: Social Media and Your Author Platform

google-plus-writer

Please note that Google Plus is closing down on 2 April 2019, meaning that this blog post is irrelevant and outdated.

 

I’ve already written a post about building your social media platform online. In this general social media post, I do touch upon the subject of Google Plus.  But my intention was always to write another post, focused on this platform, if only because I’ve found it difficult myself, to find much information on the subject.

People tend to dismiss Google Plus, but I have always believed it to be an underrated platform, and worth making use of.

Lately, however, I have had to question my own position. Being honest, it really does seem that posts on the site are reaching almost no-one.

However, for some time, I haven’t made efforts to actually check in.

I hadn’t been posting to my Collections at all. Also, I hardly use Buffer nowadays. The posts that I used to send fairly regularly, through this scheduler, were going, by default to Google Plus, along with Twitter, and my Facebook author page. I did discuss more about my current position, with my various social media accounts, in a recent post.

So, I don’t have a definite verdict, as to whether or not Google Plus is still worth using, as a writer.

For my own part, I’m hoping to experiment: become consistent on the platform again, and keep my content varied. Time will tell.

For now, I would suggest that it probably isn’t worth investing huge amounts of time into Google Plus, if you don’t already.

But I do feel that it’s worth paying attention to, not least because there’s some evidence that being active on Google’s own social media platform may have SEO benefits. As for Google Plus sending traffic to my blog – it has happened, but nothing significant. That said, I have heard of others who have gained a much more impressive amount of blog traffic through the site – and I believe that it can work particularly well in conjunction with You Tube.

For me, a major attraction of Google Plus has always been that most people do ignore it.

Yes, that’s the down side, in that there aren’t as many people to reach with our posts. But paradoxically, it’s also a positive aspect – at least, potentially – because it isn’t as crowded, “noisy” and competitive as more popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Even much of what actually is posted on Google Plus, tends to be spam. Anyone with decent content can definitely stand out, in a positive way.

Hashtags can be effective on Google Plus, so definitely make use of these.

Since not as many people post on each hashtag, your post can actually “hang around” for much longer. Use generalised tags, rather than some of the specific ones that work on other sites. For example, #MotivationalMonday might work for you on Instagram and Twitter, but probably won’t on Google Plus. Think in terms of “does what it says on the tin”. #Writing or #inspiration would be fine. As far as I can tell, #amwriting is a great hashtag for writers, on any platform where hashtags are a “thing”, so feel free to try that one.

My number one piece of advice is to make use of Collections.

They’re similar, in many respects, to boards on Pinterest. In common with Pinterest, others on the platform have the option of following one or more of your Collections, without necessarily needing to follow your account, as a whole. This can have definite advantages, because people are often more willing to follow along with you, if they don’t have to see all of your posts. It can make it easier to cultivate followings in multiple niches, using the same main account. Collections will be featured to other users, which is their major advantage.

Another tip is to browse other people’s Collections, and join any that are of interest. You can sometimes gain followers by doing so.

You might also want to explore Communities, which are basically the Google Plus equivalent of Facebook groups.

I lack experience with these, so won’t attempt to offer specific advice. The challenge, in general, would be discovering active ones.

The final point that’s worth mentioning, even though most people are aware of this, is that anyone with a Google account automatically has a Google Plus account.

If you’re on You Tube or Blogger, then you’re good to go. If the account is there already, why not try posting? If enough of us do, maybe we can make it into an active platform again.

And, of course, you’re welcome to follow me on Google Plus, or any of my other social media sites.

Also, I have posts about using Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, as part of your author platform.

09/10/2018 update: I was sad to learn that Google Plus is apparently closing next year, as a consumer website.

Social Media for Writers: Building Your Author Platform — February 1, 2018

Social Media for Writers: Building Your Author Platform

social-media-authorsAs writers, we should be building our online platforms.

 

In days gone by, there was no internet, let alone social media, and writers still managed to get their work out there. However, it was much more difficult to do so. Not to use social media nowadays, as a writer, would put you at a serious disadvantage.

 

The question is, where do you start?

 

There are so many social media networks now. Do you need to be on them all? I would say, definitely not. In fact, there are so many alternatives that it’s hard to imagine anyone, who wasn’t a celebrity, with a huge following already, being successful on every platform. And someone in that position would, almost certainly, have dedicated teams to manage their various social media channels. Hardly comparable to the position that most of us are in, when we’re just starting out.

 

Most of us will find our personal favourites, by trial and error.

 

The networks that you actually enjoy are probably, on the whole, the ones to go with. There are, however, some that do tend to be more useful for connecting with other writers, or people from particular target audiences, so it’s worth keeping those factors in mind. I’m still in the early stages, when it comes to building my own platform, but am definitely starting to discover which platforms work for me.

 

 

Although, in this post, I’m primarily discussing social media, I should mention that it’s important to have a home base.

 

By this, I mean a website or blog – an online space, to direct your online traffic to, other than social media. And, no – an Amazon sales page alone isn’t sufficient.  Aim to include as much evergreen content as possible, on your website or blog.

 

 

Personally, my primary channel is Twitter.

 

It’s definitely one of the best for writers, especially from the point of view of connecting with other writers. Post regular, quality content: a combination of links, writing and inspirational quotes, videos, and so on. Ideally, post a mixture of your own content, and that of others, in your niche, or related areas.

 

Definitely, make use of scheduling, as consistency is key with Twitter, but do also ensure that you make time to engage with others on the platform.

 

Checking in daily, or at least most days, will help, although it doesn’t matter, if you can’t always keep this up, as long as you remain active, via scheduled posts – and make the effort to engage, when you do go on.

 

And use hashtags. 1 to 3 per post is the general recommendation.

 

I currently stick with 2. 4 is borderline, but more than that, and your posts will tend to be regarded as “spammy”. But don’t miss out by omitting them altogether, as they help significantly with reach. I recommend using #amwriting or/and #writerslife, on most writing related posts. Others that I regularly use are: #writing, #writingforever, #writetip, and #poetry.

 

Then, of course, there’s Facebook.

 

With even more forthcoming changes, that will impact upon the, already limited, reach of our Facebook pages, many people feel that it’s no longer a viable channel. I personally believe that it’s advisable for writers to have Facebook pages, but not to rely upon them as a primary traffic source. That is, unless you’re in a position to run paid ads.

 

Facebook groups, on the other hand, are a different matter, and probably the way forward, for writers who want to remain active on the site.

 

They are certainly time-consuming but, as long as you love using Facebook, can provide that ideal space, in which to build a community. If you don’t fancy starting up your own group, it might be a good idea to join a few existing ones, and participate in those. My own group, Writing Forever, at the time of writing, is comparatively new, and welcomes new members.

 

Tumblr, a very visual site, has a strong writing community.

 

Poetry, and writing and inspirational quotes, are popular. Tumblr drives very little traffic to my blog, but I find the site inspiring and enjoyable to use, and have received positive feedback on my posts.

 

Hashtags are effective on here, but not exactly the same ones as on other sites, such as Twitter.

 

Try #writing, #lit, #prose, and #poetry. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but I’ve heard that only the first 5 tags register on Tumblr’s search facilities. Beyond that, they only function to search within your own Tumblr page. I tend to use 2-4 tags on Tumblr. I do also find the queueing system – mentioned in my social media scheduling post – invaluable.

 

Google Plus – now, this is an interesting one.

 

In general, people tend to dismiss it, but actually, I really like it, and think that it’s worth taking just a little time to investigate this network. If nothing else, because it’s part of Google, and being active on here does appear to help somewhat with SEO.

 

If you have a Google account – which anyone who has a You Tube channel, or Blogger site, does – you automatically have a Google Plus page.

 

It doesn’t take much effort to update it, now and again.

 

Hashtags do work on Google Plus, but this platform tends towards descriptive, “does what it says on the tin” tags.

 

Many popular Twitter tags don’t work at all. #Writing, #fiction and #poetry will get you further than #MotivationalMonday. Sometimes I do end up using Twitter hashtags, simply because I send a percentage of posts via Buffer to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, simultaneously. However, when I post specifically on Google Plus, I opt for more generalised tags.

 

My main advice for using Google Plus successfully is to set up Collections, on topics of interest.

 

These are similar, in a sense, to Pinterest boards – and I’ll talk about Pinterest, in a moment. Collections are shown to other Google Plus users, and you can potentially end up with additional subscribers to individual Collections, who may not even follow your account, as a whole. They’re probably one of the best ways to get your posts seen on the site, and so easy to set up.

 

Communities may also help, but these are equivalent to Facebook groups, and potentially more time-consuming.

I don’t really have enough experience to comment upon their benefits or otherwise, but they may be worth exploring.

09/10/2018 update: I was sad to learn that Google Plus is apparently closing next year, as a consumer website.

 

I more or less ignored Pinterest for years, but lately, I’ve become obsessed.

 

I’m building my Pinterest boards, and learning more about the platform via various blog posts and You Tube videos. And yes, You Tube is awesome, and coming next on my list.

 

As for Pinterest – well, I’m exploring it, and loving it, but am very much in the early stages.

 

It’s more of a visual search engine, rather than a conventional social media site, and I’ve heard amazing things about Pinterest, for driving website traffic. That said, I’m not using any sort of scheduling, Boardboaster or Tailwind, and haven’t got into group boards either, so can’t advise on any of that.  August 2018 update: I still pin manually, but should point out that Boardboaster has recently closed down. I do now have some experience with group boards. My Pinterest post elaborates.

 

July 2018 update: See my recent post about using Pinterest, as part of your author platform.

 

You Tube, as I mentioned, is awesome.

 

I watch many You Tube videos. I comment on a decent number. What I don’t do is to make them myself. Well, I did upload a couple, towards the end of 2017. Short clips of our pet cockatiels. But honestly, if you’re confident enough to make writing videos on You Tube, go for it. You Tube also, in common with Pinterest, has the bonus of being a powerful search engine. It’s a great platform for writers – probably one of the best. It’s also an excellent resource for research.

 

So, how about Instagram?

 

Or Linked In, Snapchat, Reddit, Stumble Upon – and all the others I’ve missed? Basically, yes – you can use any of them, as a writer. I simply can’t advise on them, because I lack experience on the platforms.  That said, I’m becoming more active on Instagram right now.  Oh, and I’m also on Flickr – although not on my original account, which I’ve unfortunately been unable to access, in recent years.

July 2018 update: See my recent Instagram for Writers post, as I do now regularly use Instagram, as part of my author platform.

 

There are so many options out there. Hopefully, you will find at least one or two that work for you.  Also, do take a look at my post about how to build your author brand. And there is now a new Social Media for Writers 2019 post, which may be of interest.

 

Keep believing.

 

Find me on social media.

 

 

Facebook Changes, Pinterest, and All Things Social Media — January 19, 2018

Facebook Changes, Pinterest, and All Things Social Media

facebook-changes

This is an update to one of my posts from December 2017, in which I discussed some of my thoughts about Facebook pages and groups, going into 2018.

It turns out that I was being too optimistic about the possibility of organic growth on Facebook, certainly in relation to business/fan pages. The forthcoming changes to the newsfeed could effectively mean that most of us will soon reach none of the people who have “liked” or/and followed our pages: literally, none. To be honest, at times, it isn’t far off that already, for many of us.

I set up my groups, Writing Forever and Music Forever, towards the end of last year, and groups are definitely the way forward on Facebook, as far as I understand it.

Other than posts from friends and family, and paid ads, it could be the only way in which to reach our audiences, in the future.

In terms of scheduling, about which I have already written a post, and a part 2, it may become almost pointless to use schedulers such as Buffer, for Facebook posts.

I currently use a combination of Buffer, Facebook’s native scheduler, and some real time posting, and would consider using Facebook’s own schedulers entirely, if that would increase my chances of people actually seeing my posts. I’m not sure that it will, from what I’m hearing. For now, my posts that are going via Buffer to Twitter and Google Plus anyway, might as well continue to go to Facebook, as I get very little reach on the posts – but still, something.

It is also unclear whether, in the future, posts will be seen by our friends, when shared via our fan pages.

At the moment, sharing to our Timelines can help somewhat. I’m hoping that this will continue to be the case.

Whilst I feel disillusioned about yet more changes to the Facebook algorithm, which don’t appear to be ones for the better, I will always seek positive solutions.

I hope to focus upon building a community via my groups, although I do tend to be inconsistent on social media, due to having multiple projects, and struggling with health and personal problems. I’m also completely neglecting my novel. I need to find the right balance: an ongoing challenge.

Lately, I’ve been exploring Pinterest, and this could well become one of my main social media channels.

Twitter will probably always be my favourite, the one that I return to, but I’m definitely feeling inspired by Pinterest, and continue to enjoy Tumblr and Google Plus, as and when.

September 2018 update: I’ve made significant progress with Pinterest, since writing this post.  See my Pinterest for Writers post.

Going back to the subject of Facebook – if you do “like” any or all of my pages, please consider adjusting your settings to “See First”.

It’s an option, listed on the drop-down “Following/Notifications” menu, at the top of the page. You’re significantly more likely to be shown my subsequent posts, and I would really appreciate the support. It makes a difference.

Find me on social media – via this post, which includes links to my various profiles and pages. I’ve updated this, to include links to my Facebook groups, and my Pinterest profile.

For quick reference, my Facebook pages are: Paula Puddephatt – Author, Vibrant Darkness – Poems by Paula, and 80s/90s Music.

Keep believing.

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2 — November 19, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2

automation-2

I shared a post recently about how I schedule my social media posts.

If you haven’t read that, I would suggest that you do so, before reading this.

As I mentioned before, I primarily use Twittimer for scheduling Tweets – and also regularly use Buffer for posts that I decide to send simultaneously to Twitter, Google Plus, and my Facebook author page.

I’m trying to schedule more posts to my Facebook pages via their native scheduling system – but am not currently consistent, in how often I actually go on to Facebook. I try to keep up with regularly posting on my various Facebook pages, and I also want to ensure that my author page on there offers more than simply duplicating a percentage of my Twitter posts. That’s the aim, anyway.

I mentioned that I had signed up for Social Oomph, and used it a few times, but wasn’t yet particularly familiar with it.

Since then, I have discovered a little more, by trial and error. I wasn’t using it much, because I couldn’t see much advantage, over Twittimer and Buffer – especially given that it doesn’t allow posts to be saved and reposted, even for a limited time, unless you upgrade to the paid service.

However, I did experiment with using Social Oomph, exclusively for my poetry graphic posts, partly because I could do with all the scheduling help I can get, should I decide to have a week or more away from social media, over Christmas and New Year – but that’s a whole story, in itself.

Anyway, I expected it to stop me from scheduling, once I reached the standard ten posts, but it didn’t – and I don’t know what the limit is, because I have apparently not reached it, as yet. I have scheduled poetry and writing advice graphics for the rest of the year, and so far, it is working out well. It isn’t as efficient to physically use as Twittimer and Buffer because, with the Social Oomph free package, you do have to add save the text part of the post initially, and then go back into it, via the edit function, to add any images.

Because I’m now using multiple schedulers on a regular basis, I’m attempting to be more organised – always a challenge for me – and am developing systems, so that I avoid posting more than one update at identical times.

I am also, increasingly, sticking with a “this scheduler for this type of post” system. Hopefully, I can manage not to become completely confused and overwhelmed…!

Sending love to all of my friends and social media followers. You’re awesome. And for my long-suffering Twitter followers – a heartfelt thank you, and I am aware of my tendencies, such as over-Retweeting in batches, and maybe still over-posting in general, on occasions. It’s a journey, like everything else in life, and we’re all learning constantly. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and inspired me to keep going.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Find me on social media.

Find Me on Social Media — November 5, 2017
How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1 — November 1, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1

automation-1

I’ve started to schedule social media posts this year, and it’s awesome.

I’m on a very limited budget, and have only ever used free services, which currently works out fine for me.

As a slightly related side note, I have to say that disconnecting Twitter from my Facebook profile page was the best thing I ever did.

Shortly after, Tumblr randomly “decided” to disconnect from Twitter, also – and, again, this has turned out to be a blessing. Each platform is different, with its own audience and atmosphere, and I really never tuned in to Twitter or Tumblr before. I used them both principally as ways to indirectly post to Facebook. My approach to social media has completely changed, and I now regard Twitter as my main social media site. That said, I am more active on my Facebook poetry page, Vibrant Darkness, than I have been in previous years, and I have also launched my author page, focusing more upon the fiction side of my writing, and a page dedicated to retro music, from the 1980s and 1990s. I also have a blog and Twitter page, covering the retro music side of my interests.

The main scheduler that I use, on a daily basis, is Twittimer.

I use it for updating my primary Twitter account, and I can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s straightforward to use, and meets all of my requirements. You can schedule up to ten Tweets at a time: text, images and links. I’ve only ever had a handful of “failed Tweets” with this app, and have always, in these cases, been able to do “send now”, after which my Tweet has been posted.

I also use Buffer, and this is set up to post on Twitter (main account), my Facebook author page, and Google Plus.

Again, they allow up to ten posts to be scheduled for free, and text, images and links are all fine. I’ve had slightly more failed posts than on Twittimer, but still an extremely low number, as a percentage of the number of posts sent. In general, the failed posts do eventually send, although there have been a handful that were lost entirely, and a few posts that didn’t make it to one or more of the connected networks. On the whole, however, Buffer works beautifully – and their customer service is excellent.

I’ve recently joined Social Oomph, and so far, that is working fine, but I can’t see it taking over from Twittimer or Buffer.

If you do want to use this as a free scheduler, I’ve got a quick tip. It gives the impression that you won’t be able to upload images, unless you upgrade to the paid version. This isn’t the case. You have to initially save your post as text only, but later, there is an option to add an image. I’ve only linked Social Oomph to Twitter.

I use the native Facebook scheduler for Vibrant Darkness, my author page and 80s/90s Music.

It’s easy to use, and there is the option of scheduling posts further in advance.

After not touching Tumblr for approximately ten months, I recently went back on there, and discovered their queueing system, which I absolutely love.

Currently, my Tumblr posts ten times daily, during the time frame I specified, and it’s working out well.

A couple of days ago, I tried out Tweet Deck, for posting to my 80s/90s Music Twitter page.

I found it slightly awkward to use, but it did work, and I will hopefully use it again soon.

So, there you have it: a few highlights from Paula’s Adventures in Social Media Scheduler Land.

The adventure will continue and, if my systems change over time, I might write another post on this topic, at some point.

Quick update: There is now a Part 2 for this post.  You can also find me on social media.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

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