Like an aging car model, Google+ has a fresh new look for the coming new year.
I was a huge proponent of G+ for many years. Since its inception, I have told countless peers, friends, clients, and all marketers that they must get on Google+ now, share your brand’s content, and engage!
With the new model of Google+, I can tell you now that I’m not so sure how to tell a brand’s story there. And, the chances of engaging with customers are nearly nonexistent.
Of course, there’s still an important SEO factor. But this will be replaced by search results showing consumers your Google My Business page, Google Places page, and your brand’s website. (Until 2017 when we make all websites irrelevant and just drive people to your Facebook page. But I digress…)
Through the lens of content sharing and engaging, Google has succeeded in taking the social out of social media marketing. There’s just no one engaging. And most of all, I don’t see a path for marketers to pull in new fans and customers to G+ pages and compel them to “follow” the pages, when the pages are now harder than even to find.
Recommendations for using G+
I recommend not spending much time or many resources on Google+. However, sometimes when everyone else is going another way on social media, it just might be worth hedging a bit and trying one more time, perhaps from another angle.
So if you’re marketer who’s not yet ready to give up on Google+, or if you’re true Social Geek and want to check out Google+ again, here are a few recommendations and tips:
G+ Tip: Use the mobile version only
It’s mobile or nothing. Maybe you’ll want to use the desktop version to set some things set up but then walk away. There are just too many areas to make the desktop version usable by anyone. People? Well, business pages are here too. Pages? My business? All of the confusing navigation from the desktop version is missing in the mobile version – and I’m glad!
In the mobile version, there are only 3 areas:
1. Home – feed of updates from your friends and brands you follow (just like Facebook, and just like the “old” Google+).
2. Communities – like a more visual Facebook or LinkedIn Group.
G+ Tip: By sharing things here, we can reach and engage with people without “friending” them and letting them into our personal lives (what many are hesitant to do on Facebook).
3. Collections – like Pinterest or Instagram; you’re sharing images of your favorite things.
G+ Tip: When you add a post to Communities or Collections, it also adds to your timeline with an indicator that it’s also part of the other group. No need to add twice!
G+ Tip: share photos and text from the mobile version, try to avoid sharing links for now. An early glitch shows that when saving a link to a blog post, the photo I chose to be the thumbnail does not appear in the mobile version of the same post.
For further discussion on the new Google+, please check out this week’s Social Geek Radio podcast!