Google+ has many communities that can help freelance writers land jobs, market their services, network with others, and get good advice.
Launched in the summer of 2011, Google+ has become the second-largest social network behind Facebook.
In October of 2013, it had 540 million total users, with 300 million of those actively engaging with the network itself at least once a month. It has many of the same features as Facebook, but is overall more intuitive to use, and its content is frequently highlighted in Google searches.
Overall, Facebook gets more personal use (like pics of the kitty or the grandkids), whereas Google+ is more about business marketing and networking, with substantial activity around a wide spectrum of interests, like photography or philosophy.
How to Get Started
You first need to set up your profile and learn about the important features of the site and how it works. I’m not going to cover that here, but you can get the official version straight from the horse’s mouth. And every day some reputable website publishes yet another article with best tips. You can always do a search and look for the latest info.
Need help? Check out the Google+ Help Community and the G+ Resource. Like anything that has significant complexity, it can take a bit of time and experimentation to get your bearings.
What Is a Community?
It’s a specific page on Google+ organized by one or more moderators that allows members to share information on a specific topic.
How to Use Communities
For each community you’ll find a section on the upper right titled “About This Community.” Read it carefully. Sometimes there are very specific rules about what to share and what not to share; sometimes there are no rules at all. However, you’ll always get a description of the main focus.
You’ll also see a list of subtopics on the left. You can click the specific subtopics to find relevant posts.
Important: Follow the guidelines!
You’ll also see a place to post an update, which can be a combination of text, hashtags (very similar to Twitter hashtags), photos, and videos, along with a drop-down menu that allows you to select a specific category (subtopic).
You’ll will no doubt notice that many people dump links. This can be acceptable if there is a self-promotion category and the link is on-topic. However, there is a lot of posting abuse site-wide. Moderators often don’t have (or don’t take) the time to remove the spammers.
Communities Specifically About Writing or Freelancing
These groups are either directly about freelance writing, or they are broader in scope, but have segments related to freelance writing or self-employed people.
Freelance Writers. Specifically about our profession. Note: I’m the moderator!
Writers’ Market. Covers the whole spectrum, from poetry to nonfiction.
Writer’s Discussion Group. Large group with several relevant categories.
Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed, and Small Business. Wide variety of info here, but hey, the title definitely covers what we are.
Freelance Bloggers. For those of us who create, or want to create, blog posts for a living.
The Art of Writing. Wide range, but has a nonfiction section.
The Writers Community. Another broad group with a nonfiction section.
Writing: The Art and Science of Writing. Allows any post that is serious about the craft.
Writers, Authors, Bloggers. What it says, including publishing.
AmWriting. Support for all writers.
Freelance Lifestyle. Support for all types of freelancers.
The Australian Copywriting Forum. Not just for Aussies!
Small Business. Great place to get any question answered about running your freelance business.
Writing. Another group covering the gamut of writing-related subjects.
Communities Specifically About Blogging
Many of us freelance for blogs, or we run our own blogs. You’ll find a wide range of blogging communities. Some are almost entirely link dumps; others have some excellent tips. I’ve only included the best here.
Zero Links Blogging Discussion. Good place to ask various questions related to blogging. I’m occasionally here.
WordPress. Very active and with lots of good questions and answers about the platform most of us use.
Content Marketing and Social Media. Relevant for our online marketing efforts.
And Just for Fun…
Amazing Places to See. Very active group sharing pics of the most beautiful places on our beautiful planet.
I’m on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JohnSoares
Are you active in any of these groups? How do you benefit from them? Any good groups I missed?