Google announced plans to shut down its failed social media platform Google+ after admitting to covering up a security breach that affected millions of users in March 2018. (Click here for details.) Even if you’ve never used or heard of Google+, there are some important lessons to be learned if your construction company engages in social media marketing.
Google+ Was Never Facebook
Google+ was a social media platform that was supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook, but it never managed to put a chink in Facebook’s armor. It was; however, recognized among the leading social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snap. Google+ will go down in history as the first major platform to fail in the modern era.
Despite Google’s financial arsenal and its dominance of internet search (78.8% of search in the U.S.), the platform never really got out the gate. The feature that got the most traction was Circles, which allowed users to add fellow users to circle and share posts with them, and Hangouts, which was essentially a place for messaging and video chats. The death of Google+ is ironic considering it was a well-designed platform that was especially conducive to showing off images.
Social Media’s Ghost Town
Google+ had become such a ghost town that the only justifiable reason to maintain a presence was because it could potentially improve your internet search rankings. When the owner controls the vast majority of internet search traffic, it was an easy thing to believe. I use the word “potentially” because Google operates in a cloud of secrecy; however, I often discovered posts on the first page of Google when searching for various key words and phrases.
I maintained a personal and company presence on Google+ and also managed accounts for several customers. The results were always poor. I shut down my personal and company profiles in March 2018. Fraley Construction Marketing was maintaining a shoestring presence for one customer, and terminated that presence when this breaking news hit the street.
Always Focus on Security
One of the big takeaways here is that you should always be thinking about security when using any social media platform. Don’t trust social media companies to do the right thing. Data, like money, is a currency and can be used for their personal gain.
So how do you protect yourself? First make sure to use a complicated password that includes letters of varying cases, numbers, and characters. Secondly, take advantage of double authentication if it’s available. Third, never post any sensitive information that could compromise your company.
Know When to Bail
Sunk cost fallacy is our tendency to stick with something even when we know it’s not working because, after all, we’ve already dedicated a lot of resources to it thank you very much. Every post, tweet, and minute invested makes it harder and harder to walk away from a social media presence that’s not working.
Investing in a specific social media platform must remain intentional. Always make sure you’re there for the right reasons. Always be aware of your goals and whether you’re achieving them. Always make sure you’re following best practices. Always stay current on the news about that platform. And don’t hesitate for one second to walk if the clouds roll in.
Build Your House on Owned Land First
The big takeaway here is that you should always remember that everything you create in an online platform that’s owned by a third party could disappear at any moment. Does that mean that you should avoid social media altogether?
Absolutely not. The bridges, buildings, and other structures you build can be destroyed by natural disasters. It happens all the time. Does that stop you from building?
Social media should definitely be part of your marketing mix, but make sure you’re maxing out owned properties like your website, email marketing first. These are places where you have more control over the content, appearance, distribution, and the audience. More importantly, it’s more difficult for a third party to pull the rug out from under you.
Social media requires us to build content on properties owned by others. You can always opt out altogether, but I would strongly advise against it unless you want to join Google+.
Did your construction company have an active Google+ presence? Please share your experience.
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