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Many people, mostly marketers, have been trying to declare Google Plus dead since the day it started on June 28th, 2011. I think it has mostly come from a lack of understanding. Google Plus is not Facebook. To treat it that way is why so many have failed to see any value from it. Each platform requires an understanding of their unique audience and a plan around reaching that audience. Remember connecting Facebook and Twitter auto feeds? Yeah, me too, and it failed miserably. It wasn’t the platforms, it was the lack of effort and the lack of understanding of each platforms unique audience.
I have been selling Google plus as an addition to our social media offering for several years now. Why? I have seen its unique value. Has it been at the same level of Facebook? In most cases it doesn’t compare, in other ways it offered value that Facebook couldn’t touch, specifically around content appearing in the search results. I have seen time and time again content that we posted on our clients' behalf actually show up in the search results. That’s never bad. That alone has been enough value for me to continue to offer it to our clients. They understand it has been a small part of our overall strategy but still has enough benefit to continue offering it.
Don’t get me wrong, internally we have discussed the longevity of Google Plus. We have considered many times approaching our clients with alternatives like Pinterest or LinkedIn. As a search marketing company it is imperative that we stay on top of all things Google. With that we are seeing and hearing some encouraging things about the new direction of Google Plus. A more focused Google Plus.
The first great move they have made is discontinuing the requirement to have a G+ profile. Now all users will be voluntary accounts. Focus! They separated Photos and Hangouts to be stand alone products. Focus. They have now added a feature called Collections. This gives you the ability to start categorizing your posts, photos and videos by topic. This is actually a great thing.
Think about your experience on Facebook (since you probably haven’t been very active on Google Plus). If we are friends on Facebook you already know that I post a lot. I post automotive, karting, politics, cat pictures, a lot of pictures of my Smokin Hot Wife, and just about everything I eat shows up on Facebook. Most of what I post drives you crazy but you endure it because of all the things I post, you enjoy seeing my cat pictures and what I had for lunch. None of that other stuff matters to you. On Google Plus, Collections is giving you the ability to do just that. You can follow only what interest you. Nice huh? Thinking like a marketer I can also create content around your defined interest. Nice again!
Google has made it clear they are not dumping Google Plus. They seem more focused than ever in my opinion. I am anxious to see how this plays out. I am going to make an effort to increase my activity on Google Plus. If we aren’t friends yet, look me up.