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Vic Gundotra leaves Google – Should you leave Google+ ?

A report came out last week that Google’s Vic Gundotra would be leaving the company. For many people this announcement might be met with a question of who exactly Gundotra is followed by a question of what that means to the company.

In a nutshell, Gundotra is the father of Google+. Now an ex-employee, he was also a general manager at Microsoft whose responsibilities at Google included working with their social networking and identity service, Google+ and basically is known as being “the Man” behind the social enterprise.

Since his announcement there have been a few stories written about how Google+ will no longer be a product that looks to compete with Facebook and other social networks, but instead will be reduced to a platform. Many articles mention Google+ in an unfavorable light with a lot of doom and gloom. So should business users be a bit concerned about the direction of Google+?

Why it matters

Google+ has been becoming a viable way to perform internet marketing. Ideally you could promote your website and any posts using Google+ to help improve your search engine rankings because Google looks in its own backyard first. Plus it was a nice boost to have your business on Google +.

While still considered in a broad sense to be a social site, it is very different than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Twitter is more of a broadcast station, Facebook deals more with friends, LinkedIn sticks to business connections, Instagram is visual stimulation and Google+ tends to focus on subjects. That is more of a broad view and of course there is overlap in various areas, but there is a notable difference between the sites.

So it would be bad if Google was truly pulling the rug out from under the Google+ platform and is reducing its integration with other Google products because that might mean a change in how the Google search engine looks at what is posted and shared on Google+. Of course as this is Google and they are well-known for not saying much unless they have to, you shouldn’t follow the lemmings off the cliff just yet.

What it means to you

In a nutshell, users should expect slightly less from using Google+ as a marketing avenue. Much like we recently talked about lowering expectations for using Facebook for free marketing and extending reach, the use of Google+ to help market your site might become less useful in the next few months to a year as they re-arrange things. It is hard to imagine things not being reshuffled a bit as whenever there is a change at such a high-level position, things almost never stand pat.

Does that mean you should not use Google+ at all? Of course you shouldn’t! The key is to lower your expectations slightly because that makes the most sense.

It is a fact the over the last year more and more businesses, along with people, have been using Google+ in a positive social manner to attract followers and increase views for articles and such. From the tech perspective, maybe Google+ is dying or soon to be dead…but that is from more of a tech view rather than a business view. Just because they aren’t originating ‘the next big thing’ from a technological or coding perspective doesn’t mean the platform isn’t still very useful for millions of users.

While some people might use a ‘doom and gloom’ attitude to promote an article for increased readership, the sky is not falling on Google+. The reason we even mention lowering expectations slightly is because in the world of marketing, it is always smarter to lower expectations slightly because marketing is an ever-changing beast that needs to be constantly fed and nurtured.

What should I do differently?

Right now if you are a person or business who regularly uses Google+ to post articles, share and network you should do absolutely nothing different. If anything, take the time to perform some brief statistical analysis of followers and share numbers on things to get a baseline of right now. That way in the next quarter you can compare and see if there has been a positive or negative effect on what you do.

Of course, you should be doing this for any marketing program.

If you aren’t on Google+ yet, now is still a perfectly fine time to take advantage of what it has to offer. It is a very different animal than Facebook or Twitter and should be considered a good way to market by connecting around subjects and passions. There is still plenty of opportunity right now to increase sharing and visibility of articles along with getting higher rankings when taking advantage of what Google+ has to offer.

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