November 21, 2018 | By:

Google Plus Shuts Down: What Small Businesses Should Do

Google recently announced that they are shutting down Google+ for consumers following reports of a security breach.

The security breach was attributed to a software bug that allowed developers access to data of an estimated 500,000 Google+ profiles marked as non-public. Google reported, however, that there was no evidence that any data was misused.

The bug, which was discovered last March 2018, was promptly patched then. However, Google failed to disclose this information publicly at that time, stating that they feared regulatory scrutiny.

They have also cited low consumer adoption and challenges in meeting consumer expectations as among the reasons for the decision to “sunset” the consumer version of Google+.

Google+ is slated to gradually shut down over the next 10 months and targets to have the transition completed by August 2019.

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

Google+ has been one of the core social media platforms that businesses use to market their products and services, mainly because anything you post on Google+ is immediately indexed by Google, thus hugely influencing SEO rankings.

However, despite its promising early growth, Google+ failed to achieve broad consumer adoption as the years progressed. In fact, Google revealed that usage and engagement on Google+ dramatically plummeted over the years, with 90% of user sessions lasting less than 5 seconds.

For businesses, this means having one less social media marketing platform to use. This may also mean that all the content you have posted on the platform will be lost, including the Communities (groups) you’ve built.

Google, however, stated that they will be providing additional instructions on how to download and migrate your files to other platforms in the coming months. They also announced that they will continue to offer an enterprise version of Google+, a private network for organizations using G Suite.

What Small Businesses Can Do as Google Plus Shuts Down

While Google is providing ample time for businesses before Google+ for consumers completely shuts down, it’s best to consider leaving the platform sooner than later. Here are actionable steps that small businesses can do:

1. Download your Google+ Data

Google hasn’t made an official announcement yet on how to download and migrate your Google+ data, but you can start ahead by backing up some of your data using Google Takeout. All you need to do is to sign in as your Google+ page. This, however, does not back up the entirety of your data associated with Google+. At a minimum, you can only download your +1s, Circles, Communities, and Stream.

2. Find alternative platforms to market

You may find that certain types of content work best on Google+. While it’s never recommended to focus your marketing efforts onto just one platform, if you happen to have Google+ as your primary platform for social media marketing, make a plan to find main alternatives that work well with your target audience.

3. Gradually phase out social activity on Google+

Taper down your sharing schedule and commenting on Google+ so as to have a gradual exit. This gives a subtle sign to your followers that you’re shifting your focus elsewhere. It’s also important to post an official announcement on Google+ that directs your followers to your other social media pages.

4. Become familiar with Google’s new data sharing policies

If you’re a G Suite client, or if you’ve developed an app that works with Google data, it’s essential to learn more about Google’s new data sharing policies. You can also check up on your Google security through the links below:

Closing Thoughts

The Google Plus shut down, however unfortunate, provides a valuable lesson to businesses and marketers: that everything has its own time and that moving forward is part of the journey to success.

Stay updated with the latest stories from Google, including their official instructions related to the Google+ shut down, by checking out their blog here.

If you want to know more about social media marketing best practices, or if you need help with any of your digital marketing efforts, Ilfusion has the professional experience and right resources for you. Give us a call at 888-420-5115, or send us an email to creative@ilfusion.com.

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