We hate to say we told you so, but we saw this coming. Recently, Google announced that your Google+ profile will no longer serve as your primary profile for all other Google products. This change will be rolled out over the next couple of months. As reported by Venture Beat, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of streams, photos, and sharing, says the changes are a response to user feedback: “We’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.” Although you will still need a standard Google account to use YouTube, Gchat or other Google apps, a standard account cannot be “searched” or “followed.”
Essentially, Google is no longer focusing on what basically amounted to forcing Google users into creating a Google+ profile as a pre-requisite before enjoying YouTube and other Google apps. Now, the search engine giant is looking to enhance the Google+ user experience and create an environment “where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them.”
Stay tuned for new features like Google+ Collections, where users are able to share posts organized by specific topics and common interests. The goal of these changes is to create a more focused, more engaging Google+ and also allow users to enjoy other Google applications independent of this growing online community.
Google has been tinkering with its social media platform for quite some time now. In 2014, the company announced that it was planning to transition away from Google+ and continue the software as a product. With this latest announcement, the real question will be whether or not the improvements to Google+ will be enough to increase or even retain users now that a profile is no longer required for other apps.
Will a more focused experience be enough? We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this evolving platform as only time will tell. More importantly, what does these constant changes mean for your digital marketing efforts? Here were the recommendations we gave following the April 2014 announcement:
Diversify Your Social Media Marketing Portfolio
The alleged demise of Google+ serves as reinforcement for the need to diversify your web presence. Having one social media profile is not enough. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, for example, all serve different purposes, as did Google+, and you cannot place an increased value of importance on just one. While it’s highly unlikely that Google+ is the shining star of your social media marketing efforts, you will want to develop a presence on a new social media channel if that’s the case. We encourage our partners to maintain diverse and active profiles, for many reasons, but this news shows just how important it is to not rely on one outlet alone.
Where Google+ Missed, LinkedIn is Gaining Market Share
Although LinkedIn may not have the most users when compared with Twitter and Facebook, it’s the most widely used platform for both B2B and financial professionals and the most effective for networking, reaching potential clients and recruiting. We have to assume that with even less competition, thanks to this news from Google+, LinkedIn will continue as the preferred platform for the business community.
The Bottom Line
Based on our experience, we don’t believe many people in the business community will miss Google+. Specifically in the financial services space, most broker-dealers and large RIA firms haven’t embraced Google+, often going so far as to not allow their advisors to use the platform. If you’re using Google+, keep your profile for now, the SEO value alone will remain helpful, but be ready for the inevitable shutdown. Now is the time to save any relevant content or posts. With that said, we hope this serves as a reminder of the continued relevance and importance of social media marketing, as well as the critical need for a diverse web presence.