Like all social networks, Google+ has seen its fair share of transformations and changes throughout the years. Recent months have seen some of the most drastic, leading many to conclude that what we’ve known as “Google+” is no longer the same platform. Check out some of the most recent changes, and find out what this means for your law firm’s social media strategy.
Change #1: Separation between Google+ elements into focused apps
Although Google has not announced that it will discontinue using the name “Google+,” what that term now means has changed quite significantly. Instead of housing all things social media and interaction under one roof, Google+ has separated services into those focused on photos, social media functions, and communication.
For instance, according to Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing, Google Photos will be a separate app rather than one element of an all-inclusive Google+ platform. Streams (the social feed element) will also be a separate entity, and Google will continue to improve communication efforts such as Hangouts.
What this means for your law firm: Google will continue to be a photo storing and sharing powerhouse, and Hangouts will become even stronger and more user-friendly. Take advantage of Google+’s Photo capabilities—unlimited storage, user-friendly editing tools, automatic backup feature, ability to create professional looking photos and videos—for your law firm’s social media and online marketing.
Additionally, invest time into hosting Hangouts for your law firm’s audience. For instance, an estate planning firm can do a “Open Question Forum” Hangout where people can jump on and ask questions about trusts, wills, and assets, and receive answers from the qualified attorneys they would work with if they consulted the firm.
Change #2: No required Google+ profile
Originally, users needed to have a Google+ profile in order to create a cohesive identity across all products and platforms, such as YouTube and Gmail. Now, users looking to access Google products will only need a Google account, which won’t be followable or publicly searchable.
What this means for your law firm: Practices with a solid Google+ following can continue to cultivate their audience and further their law firm’s social media and local Google+ SEO efforts using the platform (those without a steady Google+ presence can also jump on to take advantage of the benefits—it’s not too late), but with greater privacy and control over online reputation management than before.
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