Google+ and spreading yourself too thin on social media

The recent announcement that Google+ would finally be closing isn’t exactly the biggest surprise in the world. It was somewhat of an ill-fated attempt by Google to create their very own Facebook, but all it ended up being was a niche little hangout for techies. Most people have a Google+ account by default because you tended to get one when creating a Google account, which meant the tech giants could report some pretty impressive user numbers. However, Forbes reported as long back as 2015 that an extremely small percentage of its estimated 2 billion users were actually active on the platform. It reckoned that just 6.7 million users have more than 50 posts, and 3.5 million have 50 or more posts in the last 30 days. Yet despite these numbers showing that Google+ has been a ghost town for years, a lot of companies I spoke to seem to assume they should have an account on there, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Instagram….just because. But that’s ultimately counterproductive.

before choosing your social media channels, consider your audience

Instagram and Snapchat are generally more populated by younger users. LinkedIn is a network aimed at businesses and professionals. Twitter is a hotbed for publishers and journalists, suitable for regular, bite-sized updates. These are extremely generalised descriptions of the main social media websites, yet they give us a good idea as to who hangs out where. At various times you see companies uncomfortably shoving themselves onto the wrong platforms, trying to be down with the kids for no other reason than there are a lot of active users on there.

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You’re unable to post outbound links on Snapchat or Instagram (apart from in your bio), so it’s going to take a hell of a long time to build up a following large enough for it to be of any value to an e-commerce business, for instance. If your priority is driving traffic to that website, you would be much better off on Twitter and Facebook to start with.

Inactivity is a bad look

If you’re not getting much change from your activity on certain social networks then you’re naturally going to find it difficult to remain active on there. Yet that’s even worse: it looks bad for a brand to have a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram account with the last post from over a year ago. If you don’t have the time or resources to remain active on there, and more importantly start to grow an audience, you shouldn’t be on there at all. Start by promoting your company on the main two channels - Facebook and Twitter - and if it goes well then consider expanding onto more. Instagram may have a lot more active users than Twitter, but I find it much easier to quickly build up a following on Twitter.

Infinite content

This post harks back to a blog post I wrote recently about trending topics. During the 2018 World Cup I saw no end of brands trying to awkwardly join in the conversation just because they spotted a trending hashtag on Twitter. All it does is make your company look a little unprofessional and needy. Any community manager worth their salt will tell you it’s not always a bad idea to jump on trending hashtags, but just be sure to choose the right ones that are actually relevant to your brand.

I feel like it’s often wrongly assumed that the more content you can get out there, and the more social media platforms you can post on, the better. I’m often asked to post at least once a day on any given channel, for example, but that’s clearly only possible if your brand has enough relevant content to put out there on a daily basis. Spend a little bit more time creating content that your followers are more likely to like and share, rather than churning out daily posts to fit a quota, and I guarantee you that you’ll reap the rewards.