The biggest story coming out of Silicon Valley has been the news that Google is making a few changes to the way that their social platform, Google+, operates and works. Google are officially dropping the requirement to have a Google+ profile to access their many services. This is effectively a revert to pre-2011, where you only needed a Gmail or Google account to use sites such as YouTube.
This has spurred on a wave of frenzied articles and rumours on what this may mean for the troubled platform. Speculation that Google is looking to buy out Twitter has been around for a while, but has recently kicked back into gear at this latest news. Then, of course, there’s the rumours that Google is looking to drop the social media platform from their portfolio altogether.. Again, this grim forecast isn’t anything new, so exactly how many lives does one platform have?
In this article, we’re going to have a look at the recent problems that have plagued Google+, evaluate their severity, and then talk about what this means for businesses. Whilst Google+ never really reached the heights that the platform’s creators envisioned, the social site has attracted a loyal niche to its services. We’re going to look at this too, and talk about how we can use it to maximise its potential.
Google+ was launched in 2011, and was the brainchild of former Google employee Vic Gundotra. Google+ promised a lot, a streamlined social platform which unlocked easier use of services such as their search engine and YouTube. Google+’s interface was designed to maximise sharing, placing importance on eye catching photos and an easier sharing mechanism.
However, things didn’t quite turn out. Google+ never reached the lofty heights that were originally planned, and Facebook and Twitter left the platform in their dust. At the start, Google were quite stubborn, and rarely changed their system to compete with the other, established platforms. Since Gundotra’s departure in April last year, Google+ has undergone many facelifts, and as a result, many prophecies of doom and gloom.
What’s happening today
The news that Google is looking to add Twitter to its repertoire has been doing the rounds for a while. When Google announced collections three months ago, it signalled a more aggressive approach for the social media website. This latest news of Google dropping YouTube from their social portfolio is more of an acknowledgement of the platform’s initial mistakes, rather than a death sentence, as has been predicted by many.
What is important to consider, however, is the unique and loyal audience that Google+ has garnered over the past four years. Searching for a circle in the IT industry, as an example, reveals an incredible treasure chest of informative and valuable content. Whilst Google+ may lack the numbers that the “big two” enjoy, it more than makes up for it through sharing ideas. This is something that was at the heart of the initial concept of social media.
So how do we use Google+ right now?
First of all, don’t be panicked by murmurings of the demise of Google+! The platform still has a lot to offer for those that look past the dark clouds, such as:
- An integrated SEO system.
- Vital, local SEO tools.
- Hangouts – perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of social media in the last decade.
- An attractive interface that allows you to display your content in stunning clarity
- And a direct connection with those that follow your page, something that Facebook lacks, for instance.
Google+ is made stronger for all of the above points, and knowing how to maximise them can return nearly instant results. So what exactly can you do to get the most out of the platform?
Grab the attention of the locals
If you’re a local business, let everyone know about it! Google+ provides valuable, local SEO information directly to its search engine. Mention your service areas, talk about what you can offer new towns, and spread your demographic reach.
Join like minded communities
One thing that Google+ has over the other social media giants is, as we discussed, the wealth of quality content that is available. Look for communities to join within your respective industry, and share your content through these groups.
Post often, use images, be a social media star!
Google+ is best used when treated as a blank canvas. Feel free to decorate your profile page with colourful images, blog articles, news snippets, anything you can think of. A visually stunning profile page is as good as an attractive shopfront.
Do you have your own Google+ page? What are some of the strategies that you use to gain more attention and followers? Let’s have a conversation, share your thoughts and ideas with us below!