So, did you hear the news?
Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+. Just like they did with Google’s other social network, Orkut.
Remember Orkut? I didn’t think so. :)
I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear the Google+ news. Neither is anyone else. Here’s some more information about the shutdown and the security breach. Joy.
Google+ went from a “you MUST be on it, because…Google” platform to a virtual ghost town. Heck, Google cites “low user engagement” as a reason why they’re sunsetting the product.
Sadly, Google+ was pretty cool. You could segment your followers and could write posts just for them. You could link your content to your Google+ profile, which caused your photo to pop up next to your blog articles. You could +1 posts you liked.
(Ah, I do miss Google Authorship…seeing author photos on the search results page was cool.)
Some people went all out on Google+. They posted multiple times a day, wrote about Google+ hacks, and put a lot of eggs in their Google+ basket.
Now, all of that information will be gone within 10 months.
What’s the big takeaway, here?
(Other than Google seems to have problems creating social networks?)
The only marketing platform you can rely on is the one where you have 100 percent control.
(Typically, your website and your newsletter.)
Everything else could go away in an instant.
For instance, Facebook has changed their algorithm so many times that paying for advertising is the only sure thing.
What was once a cool way to build social engagement and to connect with customers has gotten way more challenging. Even big brands aren’t seeing engagement anymore.
But, what about those people who put a lot of time and resources into their social networks? For instance, I know someone who creates one Facebook live video every day.
Let’s look at worst-case scenario. What happens if Facebook bans her? Or if it changes its algorithm again? Or if people leave Facebook in droves?
Yup, that could effectively hurt her business…and she would have no control over what happens.
Putting resources into a site other than your own is called “digital sharecropping.” Here’s a great explanation from Copyblogger:
“In other words, anyone can create content on sites like Facebook, but that content effectively belongs to Facebook. The more content we create for free, the more valuable Facebook becomes. We do the work, they reap the profit.”
I’m not saying you should ignore social, because we know that people turn to social sites as part of the buyers’ journey. You may have tweeted a company to get faster customer support or checked out a company’s Instagram for deals.
Social is here to stay. I always recommend that companies find right “mix” of social that works for their business and provides measurable ROI.
Don’t focus on social (or anything else you can’t totally control) at the expense of your website or your newsletter. Make these assets shine and keep improving them.
That way, you don’t have to worry about the “rules” changing on you. You get to make your own rules!
What’s more, even if Google and SEO went away tomorrow (doubtful), you’d still have a functioning website and a targeted email list.
It’s the ultimate insurance.
So, yes, post on Twitter. Enjoy Instagram. Reach customers on Facebook. Just don’t put all (or most of) your eggs into social baskets that could change on someone’s greedy whim.
What do you think?
Are you bummed that Google+ is going away? Or, did you think, “Wait, Google had a social network?” Leave a comment and let me know.