Statistics show that it’s highly likely that your small business is on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram these days. But do you have a Google Plus account?
Fear not if the answer to that question is a “no.” Google has listened to its users and taken a straight look at the facts surrounding its social media service – namely, the relatively low level of engagement when compared to other players in the same market – and decided to send G+ slowly off into the great digital sunset. The search giant announced today its plan to decouple G+ accounts from its other, more popular services including YouTube and Gmail, removing the requirement of a G+ account associated with membership in those other sites’ communities.
There are, of course, two sides to this story. Firstly, it asks us to consider the role of social media in small business marketing and promotion. Whether or not your business was on G+, the question of membership in and of itself was secondary. Many business owners ask “Do I need to be on a certain social network (Twitter? G+? Facebook? etc…)?” The answer really comes down to being able to pin down how it is each of those services can open a door to interaction or provide a real value-add to your business. Simply being subscribed for the sake of internet-marketing Jones-keeping will not provide the value that these platforms are designed to create: something Google has realized over the course of its attempt to harmonize its services through G+.
Another lesson that small businesspeople can learn from the decline of G+ is Google’s own business savvy in recognizing that the service needed to be scaled back and retooled into something else. Google is particularly good at this: they put time and effort into developing a wide range of conceptual web applications, many of which will never take off in a world-changing way, however, the DNA of those attempts is integrated into future developmental plans. They are, in other words, good at learning lessons from their experiments and knowing when to pull the plug.
This dynamic works differently for small businesses, of course: you may not have the financial resources to commit to R&D and deployment of a highly conceptual business strategy that can afford to fail and be reabsorbed into a future project. However, it is crucial to your success as a small business to know when a strategy, a hire, or an idea is dragging you down – and to know when and how to cut it free.