Do the platforms we all build reach the public or are we talking to only other writers?
Thank you +Timothy Hurley for the question. I think the answer to that question is all about your platform, what you put out there and your audience. In 2013, everyone should have a social platform, if not many. Twitter, Google, Facebook, Digg, Stumbleupon, Blogger, Wordpress or just having your own website, is crucial to getting your product seen. This is the way that marketing is going. We can't help it, we must embrace.
To make your platform appeal to the public and possible buyers, in this case readers you have to know your goal. What is it that you want the reader or follower to do? Do you want them to buy your book? Review it? Learn about writing? You have to know your ultimate goal.
The best way to make sure your blog gets the right people and traffic is to be on constantly. Watch which posts get the most views. For example, my Friday teasers bring in the most views and comments. I make sure I put one up every single week because that is the post people like the most. Make your readers happy and they will keep reading.
Also in regards to comments, comment back. Don't respond with a simple thank you or thanks. Make it personal. You want to connect with the reader and show them that you actually read their comment. This is huge! I can't even begin to explain how important this is.
Use all of the platforms you can and keep it all consistent. Every time I post on Blogger, it shoots to my Facebook, and Twitter. So not only are my Google friends seeing it but so are my Facebook and Twitter. Then if I have time, I post it on Pinterest, Digg, Stumbleupon and other sites that further the views. Getting your name out there is the most important.
Back to the question! Personally, I find that on Google+ I have mostly been in contact with other writers. However, I have meet people who are reviewers interesting in the book or people who read reviews and saw my book. I find on twitter and facebook is where the fan base lays. Having every social media network lets you get all of it.