In the online world, currently, there is a plethora of social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat … phew! The list is endless and if that’s not enough, there are even niche social platforms. It’s not a big issue for large corporate enterprises with a huge digital marketing team to be actively present on all these popular social channels. However, it’s a daunting task for SMB entrepreneurs or local businesses to manage all these platforms on a regular basis.
To tackle this challenge, SMB entrepreneurs figure out the best platforms where they are likely to find a target audience for their business and integrate only those platforms with their digital marketing strategies.
Marketers and SMB entrepreneurs have always remained in a dilemma, specifically about one social platform, Google+. It is the third largest social network, which means most of the businesses would find their target audience on this social network. However, at the same time, surprisingly, G+ offers very low engagement levels – the basic reason for SMBs dilemma. According to reports, the average time users spent on Google+ is a small fraction of that spent on other comparable social media platforms.
This June 2016, Google+ celebrated its 5th birthday. However, many tech experts hold the sentiment that Google+ is dying a slow death.
Is Google+ going down the road of Google’s other Social Platforms?
Before Google+, Google had launched 3 other social networks – Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect and Orkut which later on it shut down.
Last year Google scrapped Google+ integration with YouTube. Recently, the company even removed the social network’s integration with Google Play Store which means now users don’t require a Google+ account to write Android app reviews. A section of social media experts hold the opinion that the reason behind Google’s such drastic steps are – it is slowly eradicating Google+.
Given all these cons – low engagement levels, low average time spent by a user on this platform and Google’s stand for Google+ – many SMBs have today stopped updating their Google+ business page believing that one day Google will shut down this social platform as well. They, therefore, consider managing their G+ presence as an additional workload.
Is Google+ just an additional workload for SMBs?
Let’s directly get to the point. Here are a few compelling reasons which are adequate enough to prove otherwise:
- Brand Awareness: Google+ gives SMBs additional exposure by ensuring that their Google+ posts are displayed on SERPs unlike other popular social channels post.
- Personalized Recommendations: The biggest benefit is its integration with the world’s biggest search engine. This integration offers users a personalized search. If a potential customer is looking for a particular product/service in his area and finds that one of his friends has clicked the +1 button next to your business, he is very likely to try out your business. Reports prove that people trust recommendations from friends and family.
- Trust Signal: Google+ is a platform that Google trusts. It is difficult to cheat Google algorithms and publish low-quality content on this platform.
- High Search Rankings: Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s web spam team had stated that +1 provided no SEO benefits to businesses. However, reports prove otherwise. If Google+ pages were optimized correctly, it showed a direct impact on search rankings.
- Other Benefits: Google+ is integrated with Google My Business which provides loads of benefits to local businesses.
This clearly depicts that this low-cost marketing tool is not an additional workload but an additional opportunity for SMBs. So, SMBs it’s time to bring your Google+ page to life again!
Does Google+ have a long-term future?
Yes, it’s clear from the above points that this platform provides value to SMBs. But, does it have a future? Why should an SMB invest in something that is not going to last for long?
Well, it is difficult to say for how long Google+ would survive.
Google’s recent moves definitely suggest that the company has shifted the focus from this platform to other Google products which means in the near-future we are less likely to see this platform undergoing any major change or innovation. But, at the same time, it is very unlikely that Google would completely scrap a product that has more than 2.5 billion users all over the world.
So, SMB entrepreneurs, the last thing that you should do is give up Google+. Of course, don’t keep it as a priority in your social marketing strategy but for now be faithful to this platform and reap all the benefits it has to offer for your business!
Kim Smith is a Content Consultant at GoodFirms, a trusted platform for in-depth research of App development companies across the globe. She’s been journeying through the world of content marketing for more than 4 years. Her experience spans in areas like mobile apps, start-ups and social media. Online you can find her on Twitter: @contactkim11