Google Plus Is Neither Dead Nor Dying. Here’s Why!
Whether you like it or not – and whether you use it or not – Google Plus is here to stay…at least for now. It’s difficult to describe this complex platform, but here is one definition that sums up Google Plus:
Google+ (or Google Plus) is a social networking and identity service that is owned and operated by Google Inc. Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author.
When Google Plus launched on June 28th, 2011, many people doubted this platform would ever become anything more than a Facebook “wannabe.” Some even called it a “ghost town.” Not surprisingly, many still refuse to embrace Google’s “problem child,” and consider it a waste of time.
Although Google Plus was initially designed as a social network, it has since become something even greater, at least for brands. It turns out Google Plus is continuously evolving into a powerful digital marketing platform, particularly in the areas of local SEO, search marketing, and building brand exposure…just to name a few of its aspects.
Google recently showed up on social media marketers’ radars again with announcements of an upcoming change to the Google Plus platform. The latest news is that Google plans on separating Hangouts, Photos, and the G+ Stream into three separate products. Google anticipates this will make the overall G+ experience a more positive one for its users, and that brands should find it beneficial as well.
So for all those naysayers who think Google Plus is dead or dying, it does not look like this change indicates the end of the platform. In fact, this may possibly turn things around for G+ and make it more popular than ever.
Here are a few Google Plus features that everyone should know about
If your business’ success depends on acquiring and establishing local clients, then you should definitely include Google Plus – and specifically Google+ Local – in your marketing strategy.
YuYu Chen says the following about Google+ Local in her recent article for Search Engine Watch:
Google+ Local is an indispensable part of brands’ local SEO strategies, as the platform drives the results on Google Maps. To get the most out of it, businesses need to have unique content, positive reviews, and an ongoing management strategy…
In other words, for best results, a business must go beyond simply creating a Google Plus page. A business page should also include interesting and fresh content with relevant keywords. Doing so improves the page’s SEO, and increases the likelihood of people easily finding it when searching online.
The article also compares current Google+ Local capabilities to Yelp. It suggests brands encourage clients to write online reviews for their Google Plus pages. Businesses can then integrate those reviews into their pages, which helps further boost their Google search rankings.
Have you had the opportunity to participate in or observe a Google Hangout? If not, you are missing out on an amazing live video conferencing experience. From a one-on-one conversation to a group meeting to a panel discussion…you now have the power to “meet” online from anywhere at any time.
The Hangout may be one of the most underutilized features offered by Google Plus by brands. However, with the planned separation of the G+ products (which includes Hangouts), and as more business owners learn about Hangouts, they may be willing to give them a shot. Hangouts certainly provide brands with huge opportunities to increase their exposure and build loyal followings.
Another Google Plus feature many people may not know enough about – but should – is Google+ Photos. As the popularity of networks such as Instagram and Snapchat continue growing, G+ has the ability to shine in this area, too. For one thing, G+ Photos allows its users to easily edit and share some of the best looking photos and videos on the Internet.
Probably one of the best aspects of Google+ Photos though is the promise of never losing any of the pictures you take or upload on your mobile device, due to its Auto Backup feature. As well, Google has unlimited storage space which means you can safely save all your photos in one place.
Another feature Google+ Photos offers which is not provided by other platforms is the “Auto Awesome” feature. This feature allows users to do the following and make their photos more…well, awesome:
- Automatically turn any photo into a GIF, with action and/or motion.
- Add special effects such as falling snow or twinkling lights.
- Easily create a seamless panoramic photo from a series of photos.
Over to You
As you can see, there is so much more to Google Plus than many people – and businesses – realize. And this article only skims the surface of the versatile platform’s capabilities. As well, something people may forget is how relatively new Google Plus really is…but look at how far it has come in a short amount of time.
Is Google Plus part of your marketing toolbox? Do you expect this platform to stand the test of time? Please feel free to leave your comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Image attribution: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_phoenixman‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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