Google+: Now What?

By: Andi Barton It’s hard to deny the recent lack of conversation regarding Google+ in the social media realm. Between the competing networks, and lack of particularly active users, it seems Google has been trying hard to reignite the buzz for their social network. They’ve been making some recent changes in hopes to revamp their efforts, however is it enough? What needs to happen next?

With Google’s recent redesign  on its layout and certain features, Google is continuing on with its theme of simplicity. It has thrived as presenting itself as a more professional and straightforward design. With the recent changes regarding media incorporation, navigation organization and even the addition of cover photos, it appears as though Google is hoping the recapture the fascination of everyone looking for a more beautiful and organized network to spend their time. However, it appears that the social media industry agrees there needs to be more to drive traffic back to this network.

Need for Differentiation

With the continual incorporation of features that more or less mimic those of competing networks, Google+ needs to additionally find its own niche. It is great to be able to tap into trending topics, cover photos, chat, and the ease of sharing media, however, it does not necessarily set Google+ apart enough based on the mere simplicity they are emphasizing. A combination of the main features from each network needs to be combined with additional differentiating tools.

Perhaps the change in the visual end of their network is not the change that needs to be made. With the underlying competition Google+ has had since day 1 towards Facebook, Google+ needs to take a step back and look at their network from more of a “skeptical user” perspective. Many people are hesitant to still get on board, and current users are visiting far more infrequently. Google+ needs to find the differentiating factor that will reincorporate these early adopters than may have fallen off the wagon.

Sparks- one of Google+’s differentiating factors will always be the ability to leverage SEO more heavily than its competitors. With the Sparks option under “Explore”, you’re able to filter your search results in the social network to find recent buzz and articles regarding that particular search item. This is a great feature that allows you to search and stay on top of the latest news. This illustrates that maybe Google+ should be emphasizing less on what is trending on Google+ itself since the bulk of conversation is coming from the same core of active users.

Kick up the engagement!

With an issue of Google+ being that their users are far more inactive on this network in comparison to others, brands and other Google+ influencers need to kick up the engagement. The use of sharing is not as highly emphasized. Encourage conversation. Get the inactive users speaking out and joining the engagement. A great addition to Facebook was the ability to add polls and questions as a status. Google+ sh0uld find innovate ways to spice up their engagement and sharing in order to leverage the conversation!

What changes do you see necessary for Google+ to continue to thrive? Share your thoughts in the comments below!