Google+ isn’t dead yet. On November 17 Google announced several updates to their platform and introduced a “reimagined” Google+. Their main focus? Optimizing the platform for the niche audiences that make up their active users (a specific but large audience: 1 in 4 internet users worldwide). Here’s the low-down on the updates and what it might mean for your Google+ page.
A ‘Collections’ and ‘Communities’ Centered Google+ Update
Google has a laser-like focus on its users. This update was informed by what users had to say about the platform. This meant a major redesign and a focus on the Collections and Communities functions.
Gif via The Official Google Blog
Introduced nine months ago, collections are a marriage between a Pinterest board and a conventional social media feed. Users post to a collection to group their posts by a particular topic, and those topics are open to subscription. Users can post publicly, privately or with a custom group.
Brands can use Collections just like they would a Pinterest account, by curating material for their target audience. Brit + Co (https://plus.google.com/+brit) is a great example of a brand doing Collections right with nearly half a million followers on each board.
With the new update, it’s top of mind and right at the top of the new user experience. When users click on collections they get a curated list of collections they may be interested in.
Communities should feel familiar, they’re very similar to LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups. Users join them to learn more about a particular topic, participate in an open forum on a common topic or attend group-based events. Communities are a great space for brands to request and collect UGC content, make deeper connections with strong brand advocates, and facilitate connections with other like-minded customers. Ford is a great example of a brand taking advantage of Communities with their Ford Photo Community, a place for customers to share their favorite Ford product photos.
With the new update communities are also top of mind and top of the new left-hand menu. When a user clicks on Communities they get, like Collections, a curated list of communities they might be interested in joining.
Use the new Google+ to make a people-first approach
If you find your customers make up one of the niche groups that frequent Google+ you should have a good chance of success with the platform. The search giant’s social media platform is not afraid to admit that user feedback is the primary influence behind their updates. It should be no surprise that if brands take on Google+ they could glean similar benefit, understanding their customers.
Don’t be afraid to use their approach to truly benefit from your Google+ presence. Whether or not you’re still on the platform “for SEO benefit” take a trip back to Google+, don’t be afraid to start or join a community or collection and join your customers on a personal level.