Since its inception in 2011, Google+ has always been a bit of an enigma in the world of social media. With features looking very much like Facebook, many users struggle to find a reason to sign up.
Over time, businesses have learned the benefits to their presence in search results by adopting Google+ pages. However, the lack of user engagement has given the platform a reputation of being a bit like a ghost town.
With no sign of improvement, Google seems to be gradually dismantling the platform; either removing elements altogether or providing them as standalone services.
One of the biggest changes in recent months is the separation of Google Photos from Google+. While, at the moment you can still access photos from Google+, it is now a standalone service offering unlimited photo and video storage with a host of great sorting and editing functions.
Google are also hinting at other big changes like turning the social interaction elements of the platform into a standalone service. This could split Google+ into two separate platforms, Photos, and what's being called "Streams".
Google haven't said much about what Streams will look like, so watch this space!
So with all this uncertainty, should a business have a Google+ page? Currently, the answer is a definite "yes", particularly if you are a local business. The "Google My Business" section of Google+ is still the portal that allows businesses to add and verify local listings that appear in search results and Google Maps. Here is where all business details are added including photos and videos, as well as the chance to see and respond to customer reviews.
Google recently said it would be removing any unverified business listings giving it a much needed spring clean. If you think your page might not be verified, log in to your "Google My Business" dashboard and look for the red message displayed at the top of the interface.
Businesses without a local bias can also benefit from having a Google+ page with some of the company details being pulled through to search results such as logos, business photos and most recent posts.
If you're lost at sea when it comes to Google+ and need a lifeline, give us a call and we'll advise you on the best course of action: 01202 684 009 or contact us online.
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