Is time up for Google+?
Well, it certainly appears to be that way. Whilst the name might remain, for the time being at least, Google has made its plans clear. It is about to split the social media platform into two separate services: Photos and Streams. What about Google Hangouts? Well, it appears this will continue as a standalone messaging and video conferencing service.
Has the imminent demise of the platform come as a surprise to digital marketers?
Well, no, not really.
The end of Google+ has been predicted for some time.
Google’s social media network had failed to gain traction and make any inroads into the market dominance of Facebook and Twitter. Try as it might, Google+ just couldn’t attract the large user database of its major competitors.
Are there any lessons businesses can learn from this? Well, yes there probably are, the most important of which is the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket. Any business that pledged undivided allegiance to Google+ will likely suffer the consequences. Focusing all marketing efforts on one single social media network is risky, whether that’s Google+, Facebook or Twitter. The reason for this is simple. Businesses have no control over what the network does. Social media networks can revamp their services whenever they want, and they can also, as may be the case with Google+, disappear entirely.
Most of the major social media networks are still evolving.
However, the direction of travel is clear, and that’s to sweat their assets, or as it’s termed in the U.S, ‘monetise their user base. Most digital marketers predict that the principal social media networks will evolve from earned media to paid media over the coming months and years, and that means the days of free social media placements for business products are numbered.
What other lessons can we learn from Google’s decision to side-line Google+?
Well, don’t jump on the next bandwagon that rolls into town. They may be trendy and sparkling at first, but as the experience of social media darling, Ello, demonstrates, they are more than likely here today and gone tomorrow.
The other major lesson to be learned is that businesses should spread their social media investment. If network changes do then occur, then businesses should have a content strategy to help them cope with these changes. Social media marketer, Adam Vincenzini, calls this practice being ‘channel agnostic’. In order to do that, businesses should try to develop content, (press releases, social media, editorial etc.) that can be placed on multiple social media networks and in earned or owned media.