I was one of the early adopters of Google+ and initially saw the value of artists using this social network. Google+ has grown much and made a lot of changes since my original article: Google+ is an Amazing Place for Artists (which was posted Jan. 14, 2012 – about a month after the first post at Artpromotivate)
Talking about changes – what has changed? Nearly everything! Google+ looks so much different than it did a year and a half ago. The addition of huge cover photos gives artists plenty of space to showcase artworks. Incidentally, I have to get in there and change mine – which I will be doing soon. When I change my Google+ cover photo, I will be sharing a tutorial on creating one. (subscribe here to receive this post by email)
Posts have a simpler modular layout – the layout made popular by Pinterest – and infinite scrolling. The whole design appears cleaner and more structured. There is so much to Google+ that I think it deserves the article series treatment. In that regard, future posts will cover promoting art on Google+, finding inspiration on Google+, groups, and much more.
For this article, I am covering some of the reasons why artists should consider placing more emphasis on Google+.. or at the very least get in there and setup authorship, sites contributed to, about page, etc.
Want to know if your art appears at other websites?
Check out this post to find answers: How to Find Stolen Art With Google
Use Google+ as a portfolio site
Google Plus makes for a very effective social portfolio website, one which if setup correctly, can give the artist’s main portfolio a steady flow of visitors. Click on Photos at the top of your profile to see images you have shared. Right at the top appears your shared albums. This includes Photos from posts at the very beginning, profile photos, and manually created albums.
For artists, full screen photo previews (as in the image above) are one of the highlights. Artworks can be manually viewed by clicking on them, or viewed as an automatic slideshow. I personally like the cool grid preview at the bottom (click the grid icon in the bottom, center), which quickly enables previews of an entire album, without having to leave the page. At the right is the place to view social activity on images. View and read comments, +1 and share photos directly from this place.
Another useful feature is the Google+ photo editor. Click edit at the top to open the image in the online editor. Use auto-fix or choose to crop, rotate, resize, or fix exposure and colours. Spice up any photo by using the Effects and Decorate options. The text option can be used to add text to a photo. I personally have used it to add watermarks on some of my images, without having to re-upload.
It’s apparent that Google is placing much more emphasis on authorship in ranking websites and blogs in search results. Setting up authorship will enable Google to indentify you as the writer at your blog and website, and your name and profile image will appear beside your posts in Google search.
Authorship can only be setup using a Google+ profile. If you haven’t setup authorship yet, use the instructions here: Google+ authorship. To easily make your name (author byline) appear on every page of your blog or website, add a Google+ badge in the sidebar. In addition, add blogs and websites you own to the Contributors section of your G+ profile. Wait for awhile to give Google time to notice your update, then test it using this tool: Structured Data Testing Tool This tool will let you know if your authorship is ok or not.
Participate in the Online Art Community
With communities (groups), events and hangouts, Google+ has become a very good place to network professionally. Artists can create their own community, or search for them according to interest. Click on the communities tab in the left navigation to view groups you belong to, community invites, and popular communities at the bottom. If you belong to several active communities though, it may be a good idea to set notifications to OFF, so you will not be bombarded with emails.
In the left navigation, choose Hangouts on Air to join or start a new hangout. I haven’t used hangouts yet, but this free feature looks pretty awesome. Hangouts can be streamed on Google+, Youtube and your website or blog. Hangouts are automatically saved to your Youtube channel, for easy viewing by others who may have missed it.
Like Pinterest, Behance and Facebook, Google+ is definitely a great place to find inspiration. Here are some thoughts to find inspiration from Google+:
- Participate in communities, especially ones in your area of interest.
- Create your own inspiration circle and include artists who inspire you.
- Join Google+ Hangouts for inspiration and advice
- Follow other artists
- Collect inspiring posts and images by giving them a +1. These can be referred to later on the +1 tab of your Google+ profile.
- Share your ideas for using Google+ as an inspiration source in the comments
What are you thoughts on Google Plus for artists? How have you been using it?
Check out this post to read some ideas on using Google+ pages for art promotion: