Changes to Google+ search has removed the ability to filter search, making it more difficult for businesses to use is as a social media tool to engage people outside of their circles. It’s time to re-examine how businesses use Google+ as a social tool; social meaning engaging potential and current clients.
We have always been huge supporters of Google+. We were Day One users for the personal accounts, Day One users of businesses pages, and Day One users of Communities. Google+ used to be our number one social media referral source, even though only a handful of people have circled our page. Google+ was great for reach for things tech-related and was good for SEO.
It was also a great tool for doing social. We would search for certain keywords in order to see what people were saying about those topics; in order to offer any help with WordPress-related questions people had; and to share interesting posts that are relevant to our Google+ demographic and relevant to our business.
The other week, Google+ switched all users over to the “new and improved” Google+. If you attempt to switch back to the classic Google+, you receive the following message: “Heads-up! Classic Google+ is going away soon, but you’ll still find all your stuff on the shiny new Google+.”
And just like that, Google+ is no longer a good tool for social and finding out about what topics relevant to your field people are talking. Why? Because now, when you search for a topic, you can no longer filter results.
Before, you could filter Google+ search results based on “Best of” and “Most Recent, plus the following great options: People and pages, Collections, Communities, Google+posts, Photos, Hangouts, Events, From your circles, From you, and To you.
These filtering abilities are what makes easy social possible and now they are gone.
With the new Google+ search, when you search for a keyword, you can explore Communities, Collections, Peoples & Pages, all of which have WordPress in their name, but finding posts with which to engage and share are gone because you can no longer filter posts.
For years, people have been talking about the death off Google+. With the breaking off of Hangouts and Photos into their own domains, and now breaking off of profiles to their own domains, an emphasis on Communities and Collections, and now the removal of important search tools, we are finally jumping in on that talk. If Communities are also broken off into their own site, we will officially call it the end of Google+ as we know it.
So what are we to do now in order to use Google+ as an effective social media tool? This means re-examining the way you currently do social. It also means putting more time into Google+ if you want to continue to engage people. How? By joining and participating in communities that are relevant to your business, and by spending a lot of time looking through people’s collections. Communities are still thriving on Google+. Collections are being used with greater frequency. The questions you need to ask yourself are: Do I need to redo my Google+ social media strategy and spend more time looking for good communities with which to engage, and searching through collections? Is the extra time going to return a positive ROI? Do I spend time experimenting in different communities? Or is it time to cut Google+ out of my social media strategy and only continue to use it for SEO and to engage my circles?