Google+ started as an alternative to other social media platforms. It was a space intended for people to gather and organize their interests and connections into groups, or circles, as they’re called, making for a more streamlined and somewhat private, sharing experience.
Google+ never got off the ground despite SEO capabilities that allowed publishers to easily include the +1 button on web pages, making it easy to share content among circles. There was one problem: no one was showing up to the circles.
In theory, having your email, photos, and contacts all in one sphere should have made this an attractive alternative to Facebook. Google strong-armed users into at least creating an account, but besides sheer numbers of users, not much activity followed. Maybe you joined a circle or two, family, friends, coworkers, your fantasy football league, or that one bachelorette party, but for the most part, Google Plus has always seen astonishingly low engagement.
According to Google, 90 percent of interactions last less than five seconds. Just enough time to realize there’s no reason to be hanging out in a quiet, inactive, Google Plus circle. Everyone else was already sharing on the other social media giants; this platform lacked a unique angle, and circles just weren’t enough.
A Google spokesperson claims that despite a recent data breach, there wasn’t any misuse of data and therefore no need to inform users. However, The Wall Street Journal discerns that user data was exposed. They suppose Google skipped announcing it to avoid being caught up before Congress as Facebook did following the massive Cambridge Analytica breach.
What the Google+ Shutdown Means for Your Business
What does this mean for you? Probably not much. Google plus will still be available for interoffice networking. Google+ was another way to put your brand front and center in search results. It never hurts to be present on all the platforms, but because this one was never a major player, you probably won’t miss it.
The death of Google+ doesn’t have huge implications for your social media strategy. Google My Business is an available tool to make sure your maps, updates, reviews, and photos are current, but otherwise soldier on with the platforms where you’re already connecting. You certainly weren’t doing that on Google+ the past three years. Feel free to remove the icon from your website.
But there is a lesson here: a hearty social media strategy is ever-shifting. As networks and platforms evolve, so should your approach to them. When algorithms change, learn the new rules, seek out successful trends, and keep an eye on your data. Wherever your audience is, be there, and like a great party host, interact. You can bet the keg is kicked at Google+.