Last updated: 27.5.23
The landscape of social media is ever-changing, with platforms rising and falling in popularity. Remember Google Plus?
It was Google’s ambitious attempt to rival Facebook, but despite its initial promise, it eventually fell into obscurity.
Now, let’s embark on a journey to understand why Google Plus didn’t make the cut and how the current social media giants have filled the void.
This exploration will provide a fascinating insight into the dynamics of social media platforms and guide you in choosing the best platform for your business.
So, whether you’re a start-up looking to make your mark or an established business aiming to expand your digital footprint, this article is for you.
Let’s dive in!
The Rise and Fall of Google Plus
The Birth of Google Plus
Launched in 2011, Google Plus was Google’s ambitious attempt to rival Facebook. It was designed to be a social layer across all Google services, integrating various Google products like Google Photos and Google Hangouts.
The Decline of Google Plus
Despite its initial promise, Google Plus struggled to compete with established social media giants. Users found the platform confusing and less engaging than the alternatives.
The lack of unique features and a clear value proposition led to a decline in user engagement.
The Shutdown of Google Plus
In 2019, Google announced the shutdown of Google Plus for consumers, citing low usage and difficulties in maintaining the platform.
The final nail in the coffin was a data breach that exposed the personal information of up to 500,000 users.
The Current Social Media Landscape
In the wake of Google Plus’s demise, several other social media platforms have risen to prominence. Each platform offers unique features and caters to specific demographics, making them valuable tools for businesses to connect with their target audience.
Let’s delve deeper into the key players…
With over 2.8 billion monthly active users as of 2021, Facebook is the largest social media platform globally. Its vast user base makes it an excellent platform for promoting your brand and attracting new customers.
Facebook offers a variety of tools for businesses, including Facebook Pages for brand presence,
Facebook Ads for targeted advertising and Facebook Groups for community building. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of industries, from retail and hospitality to tech and finance.
YouTube, owned by Google, is the second-largest search engine globally, boasting over 2 billion logged-in users per month. It’s a platform where businesses can share video content with a broad audience.
From product demonstrations and tutorials to customer testimonials and behind-the-scenes footage, YouTube offers businesses a dynamic way to showcase their brand and engage with their audience.
Additionally, YouTube’s robust analytics can provide valuable insights into viewer behaviour and preferences.
Instagram, a photo and video-sharing platform, has over 1 billion monthly active users.
Its focus on visual content makes it perfect for businesses looking to showcase their products in a visually appealing way. Instagram’s features like Stories, IGTV, and Shopping have made it a powerful tool for businesses to drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.
It’s particularly popular with a younger demographic, making it a go-to platform for brands targeting millennials and Gen Z.
LinkedIn has a user base exceeding 760 million, the world’s largest professional network. It’s become the preferred platform for B2B businesses, particularly due to its effectiveness in lead generation.
LinkedIn allows businesses to connect with industry professionals, share valuable insights, and promote their brand within a professional context.
This is especially relevant with the advent of the new LinkedIn algorithm update, designed to increase engagement and make content sharing more impactful.
Twitter is a microblogging platform with over 330 million monthly active users. Its real-time nature makes it great for businesses wanting to share short, timely updates with their audience.
From sharing company news and updates to handling customer service, Twitter is a platform that encourages engagement and conversation.
Its hashtag feature also allows businesses to increase their content visibility and participate in trending conversations.
TikTok, a platform for short, engaging videos, has seen explosive growth with over 689 million monthly active users worldwide.
Its algorithm prioritises content discovery, making it possible for businesses to go viral and reach a large audience with a single successful video.
TikTok’s user base is predominantly young, making it an excellent platform for businesses looking to tap into the Gen Z demographic.
With over 265 million daily active users, Snapchat appeals to a younger audience with its ephemeral content.
Its features like Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Sponsored Lenses allow businesses to create engaging, interactive content that resonates with the Snapchat community.
Snapchat’s focus on AR technology also offers unique opportunities for businesses to create immersive experiences for their audience.
Pinterest is a visual discovery platform with over 459 million monthly active users. It’s ideal for businesses wanting to showcase their products visually appealingly.
Pinterest users use the platform to discover and save ideas, making it a powerful platform for businesses to drive consideration and purchase intent.
It’s particularly popular with a predominantly female audience and is highly effective for fashion, home decor, and food businesses.
With over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows businesses to communicate directly with their customers.
Its features, like WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API, make it a great tool for providing customer support, sending updates, and promoting your brand.
With its end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp also offers a secure platform for businesses to communicate with their customers.
Google Business Profile
With more than 5 billion active users, Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is one of the best social media platforms for businesses.
It allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Verifying and editing your business information can help customers find you and tell your story.
You can post updates to showcase what’s new, respond to reviews to build loyalty and add photos to highlight what makes your business special.
With its robust analytics, Google Business Profile also provides valuable insights into how customers are interacting with your business online.
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business
Choosing the right social media platform for your business depends on your target audience, the type of content you produce, and your business goals.
It’s essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and align them with your business needs.
If you’re a small business, you may find this interesting – How Much Should I Pay Someone to Manage My Social Media?
Tips and Best Practices
Here are some actionable tips and best practices for each social media platform that can help businesses optimise their social media strategies:
- Facebook: Use Facebook to promote your brand and attract new customers. You can create a business page, post engaging content, and interact with your audience through comments and messages. You can also use Facebook’s advertising platform to reach your target audience and monitor your ad campaigns (12).
- Instagram: Use Instagram to showcase your products visually and reach a younger audience. You can create an Instagram business page, post high-quality photos and videos, and use hashtags to reach your target audience. You can also use Instagram’s sales platforms and shoppable posts to start selling online (12).
- Twitter: Use Twitter to find your audience and engage with potential customers. You can create a Twitter account, post short updates, and use hashtags to target your audience. You can also use Twitter to provide customer support and promote your brand (13).
- TikTok: Use TikTok to create short, engaging videos that showcase your brand and reach a younger audience. You can create a TikTok account, post creative videos, and use hashtags to reach your target audience. You can also use TikTok to encourage followers to participate in experiential marketing (24).
- LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in your industry and promote your brand. You can create a LinkedIn business page, post-professional content, and engage with your audience through comments and messages. You can also use LinkedIn’s advertising platform to reach your target audience (56).
- YouTube: Use YouTube to share video content with your audience and reach a wide audience. You can create a YouTube channel, post high-quality videos, and use keywords to optimise your videos for search. You can also use YouTube to educate your customers and provide valuable information (16).
- Pinterest: Use Pinterest to showcase your products visually and reach a predominantly female audience. You can create a Pinterest business account, post high-quality images, and use keywords to optimise your pins for search. You can also use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website and increase sales (56).
- WhatsApp: Use WhatsApp to communicate with your customers directly and provide customer support. You can create a WhatsApp business account, send personalised messages, and provide quick responses to customer inquiries. You can also use WhatsApp to promote your brand and increase customer engagement (2).
By following these tips and best practices, businesses can optimise their social media strategies and reach their target audience effectively.
The demise of Google Plus serves as a reminder that not all social media platforms will stand the test of time. However, the current social media landscape offers a plethora of options for businesses to connect with their customers and promote their brands.
By understanding your business needs and the unique features of each platform, you can choose the best social media platform for your business.
Why did Google Plus shut down?
Google Plus shut down due to low user engagement, difficulties in maintaining the platform, and a significant data breach.
Which social media platform is best for my business?
The best social media platform for your business depends on your target audience, the type of content you produce, and your business goals.
Is Facebook still relevant for businesses in 2023?
With its large user base, Facebook remains a versatile platform for businesses to promote their brand and attract new customers.
How can I use YouTube for my business?
As the second-largest search engine globally, YouTube is ideal for sharing video content about your products, services, or industry insights with a broad audience.
What is the advantage of using Google Business Profile?
With its vast user base, Google Business Profile can help improve your online presence, reach a wider audience, and provide valuable insights about your business.