IS GOOGLE+ COMING TO AN END?
Google+ is done. But I don’t mean its “dead” or anything like that.
It was announced about a month ago that Google+ as we know it is being split into two separate services: Streams and photos. While the split may bring more confusion to users, it is very important as social media marketers to keep up with the change and to learn from it.
While many experts in the social media world have called this the beginning of the official end of Google+, it is important that we do not jump to conclusions just yet.
As of now, Google+ is still technically running. But it seems weird that one of the “top social media sites in the world” is suddenly failing. Why? To me, it all boils down to one key trait of Google+: strict usage guidelines.
Google+ was very insistent on many things. For example, there is no changing your username. It must always be your real, official name. There are ways around this, but who cares enough about that to make an entirely new Google account just to have a different username? In addition, there was only one method of sharing on their service. Users were only able to log in to their service’s desktop or mobile app. There was no option to share through a browser extension or social media management dashboard. Users could not share in a social manner to their social media service, though it was promoted as an all encompassing facebook-twitter-instagram.
While we have posted articles encouraging Google+ use in the past, this occurrence teaches us a lesson. Hopefully, you will have learned the same. Some experts have used the old adage, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. Sure, this makes sense considering all of the marketers and users that solely used Google+. But I feel that Google+’s shortcomings can be applied to businesses using any social media service.
Google+ put restrictions on their users’ ability to customize or express themselves. It was a social media site that wasn’t very social at all. People use social media because of its convenience to communicate and express. Google+ promised that, but never really fulfilled that promise. What does your business look like on social media? Are your followers communicating with you? More importantly, are you replying? Are you giving them answers to their questions or thanking them for their kind words? I can tell you right now, nothing looks worse for a business than seeing a list of unanswered questions from their followers. It puts a separation between your business and your customers.
It seemed that most Google+ users didn’t really feel comfortable using their service. The restrictions and difficulty to use it all contributed to a declining number of users. My advice would be to apply this to your business’ presence on social media. Take the time (its not that much time at all) to make your followers feel comfortable. Appreciated. Listened to. Failure to do so would surely lead your followers to leave.
By: Alec England, Columnist, Centerlyne